The principle of legal certainty has been one of the guiding principles since early days of law. When it comes to crypto regulation, this has been disrupted.

I want to discuss something that has been bothering me recently. When I went to law school, we were taught that one of the guiding, unbreakable principles in the legal, regulatory and judicial worlds is the principle of legal certainty. This means that any country wishing to impose rules and regulations and enforce them must start from a basic moral reference point which is to provide certainty to its citizens regarding what they…


A review of Estonia’s amended AML law which will heavily affect new and existing cryptocurrency exchanges

Estonia is an interesing country in terms of money laundering. Due to its proximity to Russia, it has always been in risk to be one of the first EU entry points for dirty Russian money. However, and in spite of the Danske Bank $200 bln scandal in 2018 Estonia has managed to remain fairly clean due to local banks conservatism.

I have been applying for licenses in Estonia since 2015. Before virtual currency licenses even existed, there was the Financial Institution a.k.a Currency Exchange license which was popular with all kinds of financial service providers. Then, the virtual currency exchange…


Photo Credit: KangHee Kim

A bit on what came to pass during 2019, some 2020 predictions and an in-depth analysis of the SEC’s proposed amendment to the definition of an accredited investor.

When I look back at each year that goes by, I find that it usually follows a theme. In the blockchain regulation context, following these themes over the last few years was specifically interesting. 2017’s theme was the wild, wild west, meaning little to no regulatory awareness and oversight. 2018’s theme was the antidote to the gold rush, or the massive regulatory panic. 2019’s theme was about attempts at giving better regulatory…


Contrary to popular belief, giving away a security token for free/ in exchange for work doesn’t rid you of securities laws obligations.

Many people believe that if an investment of money isn’t being made, then an “offer and sale of securities” as defined by securities laws cannot occur. That’s not true! let’s understand why, and what it means. In this article I’m going to refer to first to US federal securities laws and then to EU securities laws (the prospectus directive).

Let’s use bounty programs as a first example. in bounty programs, the token issuer offers to give tokens as…


About Your Chances of Being SECed

For the purpose of this blog post, and probably some future blog posts, I’d like to introduce you to the term “being SECed”. what it actually means is “being considered a security”, but isn’t being SECed so much more catchy and easy to use? Now, let’s start.

Quoting the howey test has become a common practice among token issuers. I see it online in ICOs’ home made or copy-pasted legal disclaimers, terms of use and token purchase agreements. They good-heartedly quote the howey test in their docs, thinking not qualifying for it would solve all their SEC related problems. Alas…


Exploring the golf club of the STO world- Security Token Private Offerings (STPOs) and explaining PPMs and security types

You’ve probably noticed by now that I like to talk about security tokens. I really think we, crypto lawyers, should be spreading the word, considering the fact that the utility era (at least for non-operative platforms and products) is nearly over.

Retail investors have basically stopped buying tokens. When they do, the average ticket amount is now at around 500$. The jolly days of 2016–2017 when “the people” were standing in line to buy tokens are nowhere to be seen.

So, we are now at the phase where more security tokens are being sold, and mostly to institutional and qualified…


It may be a bit chewed up, but I like the gold rush/crypto boom analogy. both are not bubbles but formidable industries with crazy hypes and disillusionment. Both are highly lucrative. Both created new civilizations. And while the aftermath of the blockchain civilization’s creation is yet to unfold, I tend to think that it will resemble that of the gold rush. It seems like the biggest benefactors will be the providers, rather than the miners themselves.

The key difference here is the risk factor. placing investment deals (“finding”), running investmet pools and setting up exchanges dealing with all kinds of…


I feel the pulse of crypto regulation and legal frameworks, day by day. I can whole-heartedly say that ICOs issuing utility tokens are becoming scarce and are gradually replaced by STOs. In my eyes, this is happening due to 3 intertwined reasons:

  1. Increased regulatory surveilance and awareness. many regulators don’t care what you name your token or what fabulous traits you are planning for it. if the actual use of the token is going to take ages to exist, people are not buying you token as a utility, rathwr than as an investment product.
  2. Big boom in all that has…


I’m constantly busy keeping track with the most popular and attractive ICO jurisdictions. Some of my main considerations are the way crypto is perceived by local government, requirements for setup, local ease of banking and certainty level.

In light of recent developments and increased enforcement Swiss and American regulators (among others), many ICOs are now shying away from the “big” jurisdictions and looking for jurisdictions where conducting an ICO would not be a very difficult or expensive thing to do legally.

This preference for “light” jurisdictions is especially dominant since Malta and Gibraltar, the two pioneers of ICO-specific regulation, are…

Aviya Arika

Blockchain Regulation Expert. Chief of Blockchain @ AVIYA- Innovative Law. Based in TLV. Delivering messages and driving change. aviya@aviyalaw.com

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