Mayer Brown

April 15, 2022


Digital Assets Download, Powered by Mayer Brown

A curated mix of insights and headlines that provide a Layer 3 Legal Perspective™ on the digital assets multiverse – created by Mayer Brown’s global Digital Assets, Blockchain and Cryptocurrency group

The latest Digital Assets Download is below. Check out all of our previous editions here.



Original Mayer Brown content, perspectives and insights from across our global platform that touch on digital assets, decentralized finance, cryptocurrencies and related fields.

The SEC Says, “Show Us Your Crypto”: US SEC Issues SAB 121—Accounting for Custody of Crypto-Assets 

On March 31, 2022, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 121 (Bulletin) regarding the accounting of, and associated disclosures relating to, an entity’s obligation to safeguard crypto-assets that it holds for platform users. The Bulletin expresses the views of the staff in the Division of Corporation Finance and the Office of the Chief Accountant. This Legal Update focuses on who is affected, what the affected entities need to do and when the guidance applies; summarizes Commissioner Hester M. Peirce’s response to the Bulletin; and discusses some practical considerations for affected entities.

Key Considerations When Joining a Blockchain Consortium

Most blockchain technologies are developed by foundations or consortia, the members of which are often representatives of the industry hoping to create and successfully deploy the technology. The range of industries that have discovered the benefits of joining a blockchain consortium is diverse, including financial services, insurance, supply chain and logistics, transportation, healthcare and pharmaceuticals. Regardless of the industry, though, a number of common, key challenges must be addressed when creating or when joining a blockchain consortium. These include the governance of the consortium; the ownership, licensing and use of technology produced by it; and any associated antitrust claims and issues that may arise if it is to successfully launch and ensure the widespread adoption of blockchain technology within its industry.

SEC Division of Examinations 2022 Exam Priorities

On March 30, 2022, the Division of Examinations of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Division” and “SEC,” respectively) announced its examination priorities for 2022. Among other significant areas, this year’s priorities includes a specific focus on emerging technologies and crypto-assets. Examinations will focus on firms that are offering new products and services or employing new practices such as fractional shares, “Finfluencers,” or digital engagement practices. For market participants engaged with crypto-assets, the Division will review the custody arrangements, offer, sale, recommendation, advice, and trading of crypto-assets.



A curated selection of headlines and news from around this multiverse—including deals, developments and other disruptions in DeFi.

Fintech and Crypto Are Making the IMF Nervous. Read More >>

Read Chapter 3 of the IMF’s Global Financial Stability Report >>

Top US Lawmaker Proposes Sweeping Stablecoin Regulation Framework. Read More >>    

US FDIC Signals Increased Scrutiny for Digital Asset Companies. Read More >>

Read FDIC’s letter >>

Britain Announces Plans to Mint Its Own NFT As It Looks to ”Lead the Way” in Crypto. Read More >>

New York Senate Authorizes NYDFS to “Assess” Crypto Companies. Read More >>

Remarks from US Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen on Digital Assets. Read More >>

Virginia Adopted a Law That Authorizes Its Banks to Offer Crypto Custody Services. Read More >>



Selected upcoming events for deeper dives into different parts of the digital assets and DeFi world.


Surge Protection: Preparing for the Coming Wave of Enforcement. In this series of webinars, Mayer Brown has organized leading practitioners, in-house counsel and former government officials to provide practical guidance and insight into how companies can prepare for increased corporate enforcement from the US Department of Justice (DOJ). A policy shift that was announced in 2021 is expected to add substantially to the burdens companies and executives under investigation may face.

March 30: Investigating Misuse of Cryptocurrency: DOJ and FTC Enforcement Pane (View Recording)

April 13: SEC, CFTC and DOJ Enforcement Trends (View Recording)

Fintech and Antitrust: What You Need to Know. April 26 (Register Here). The past year has seen significant developments in antitrust regulation, enforcement and litigation in both the US and the UK. Please join Mayer Brown Antitrust partners Tom Panoff and Gail Levine as they discuss how the fintech sector could be impacted by the increased US regulatory focus on and litigation related to data privacy and the use of consumer data, open access and exclusivity issues, restrictive labor agreements, nascent competition and bank merger approval. Airlie Goodman will contribute a UK perspective—particularly, on developments in the UK’s burgeoning collective proceedings regime and, more broadly, on private antitrust litigation.

Incident Response: Cryptocurrency, NFT, DeFi and Other Digital Asset Trading Platforms. April 21 (Register Here). Cybersecurity Docket presents a virtual masterclass session, and the panel will include Mayer Brown Cybersecurity partner Dominique Shelton Leipzig.



For those new to the digital assets and DeFi world, each edition of the Digital Assets Download will highlight a different term to help you be a part of the conversation.

Smart Contracts: A smart contract, just like any other contract, defines the terms of an agreement but, unlike traditional contracts, is self-executing. In the blockchain context, this is accomplished by writing the smart contract as code on a blockchain using simple “if, then” statements that a network of computers will then execute when the predefined conditions are met. If the smart contract is on a public blockchain such as Ethereum, any interested party can inspect the contract’s terms.



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