Hot off the presses, this week’s #CryptoSmartEsq News-Issue 4 (4/22/2018)

By Professor Tonya M. Evans

Welcome to this week’s CryptoSmartEsq News, my carefully curated list of current legal issues and events in blockchain and crypto. 

If you’re new to this exciting, fast-developing space, check out the introductory video in the first CryptoSmartEsq news post. Follow me on Twitter at @CryptoSmartEsq (my blockchain and crypto-focused feed) and @IPProfEvans (my intellectual property-focused feed) and #EvansontheBlock for daily legal bits & bytes. Affiliate links noted with $.

Tweet me your news items.

Top Story

New York Attorney General sends inquiry to 13 major cryptocurrency exchanges requesting disclosure on their operations, use of bots, conflicts of interest, outages, and more. The list of exchanges includes some of the most popular and notable: Coinbase [$], Gemini [$],  bitFlyer, Bitfinex, Bitstamp [$], Payward, Kraken, Bittrex, Poloniex, Binance and itBit. At least one exchange pushes back, says no.

Intellectual Property

CognateCM is an interesting blockchain-based service that creates a permanent, time-stamped record of common law trademark use. Called “CM Certification”, the record may be used to establish use and priority in federal trademark registration or to assert priority against junior trademark use. Cognate claims to be the world’s first trademark use recordal service powered by blockchain technology.

It is important to note that Cognate certification does not constitute trademark registration as a matter of law with, for example, the United States Patent & Trademark Office. Nor do they claim that it does. The benefit of Cognate certification, however, lies in creating an immutable, verifiable record of use on a public blockchain and in monitoring other use once certified.

Law & Government

The Promise of Blockchain Law (

Though speculation about the future of blockchain continues, it is gaining momentum and deserves attention from law firms, courts, and legal technology providers. Large enterprises are gearing up for a blockchain revolution. Corporate clients are actively pursuing it. According to a recent Forbes report, there were nearly 1,500 blockchain-related mentions in SEC filings, transcripts, and company press releases in the first nine months of 2017. This represents an increase of more than 65% over the prior full year. Growth in interest and investment ballooned after investors began shifting their focus from cryptocurrencies to the underlying blockchain technology.

A few law firms with blockchain + crypto specialties (attorneys with expertise in technology):

Your guide to cryptocurrency regulations around the world and where they are headed (

As demand for cryptocurrency grows, global regulators are divided on how to keep up. Most digital currencies are not backed by any central government, meaning each country has different standards.


Eurasian Association Of Blockchain To Sue Social Media Giants For Banning Crypto Ads []

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain associations in Russia, China, and South Korea are planning to file a joint lawsuit in May against Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Yandex for not allowing crypto-related advertising, local news outlet TASS reported yesterday, March 27.


When it comes to the power of the Internet, higher education is seeing just how disruptive of a force it can be. And, leaders are dealing with the weighty impacts — not only in the way digital technologies are altering the nature of teaching, but also in how it’s questioning the value of a bricks-and-mortar classroom setting.

For many blockchain startups, education sectors don’t seem to be a fertile ground for the implementation of their blockchain technology initiatives. Most often, their interests are in finance, security exchanges and many others. However, there is some slow indulgence in education that is emerging. As is common knowledge, universities are a breeding grounds for new innovations hence some blockchains have started collaborating with numerous universities to pioneer in this space.

… as public sector blockchain fever continues to grow – even amid reported instances of vendors trying to sell ‘blockchain solutions’ that aren’t actually blockchain to naive agency IT procurement managers, a need has emerged for a roadmap and how-to manual designed to help practitioners better understand the technology’s potential, cut through hype and jargon and ultimately deliver better value for taxpayers.


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