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Mike Nonaka

Michael Nonaka is co-chair of the Financial Services Group and advises banks, financial services providers, fintech companies, and commercial companies on a broad range of compliance, enforcement, transactional, and legislative matters.

He specializes in providing advice relating to federal and state licensing and applications matters for banks and other financial institutions, the development of partnerships and platforms to provide innovative financial products and services, and a broad range of compliance areas such as anti-money laundering, financial privacy, cybersecurity, and consumer protection. He also works closely with banks and their directors and senior leadership teams on sensitive supervisory and strategic matters.

Mike plays an active role in the firm’s Fintech Initiative and works with a number of banks, lending companies, money transmitters, payments firms, technology companies, and service providers on innovative technologies such as bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, blockchain, big data, cloud computing, same day payments, and online lending. He has assisted numerous banks and fintech companies with the launch of innovative deposit and loan products, technology services, and cryptocurrency-related products and services.

Mike has advised a number of clients on compliance with TILA, ECOA, TISA, HMDA, FCRA, EFTA, GLBA, FDCPA, CRA, BSA, USA PATRIOT Act, FTC Act, Reg. K, Reg. O, Reg. W, Reg. Y, state money transmitter laws, state licensed lender laws, state unclaimed property laws, state prepaid access laws, and other federal and state laws and regulations.

On May 16, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) adopted amendments to Regulation S-P, which implements the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act (“GLBA”) for SEC-regulated entities such as broker-dealers, investment companies, registered investment advisers, and transfer agents.

Among other requirements, the amendments require SEC-regulated entities to adopt written policies and procedures for an incident response program

Update on the Digital Asset Industry

Despite reduced enthusiasm in the trading markets over the past couple of years, technological innovation and advancement from all corners of the crypto[1] space has continued to thrive—including layer 2 scaling solutions for the Ethereum and Bitcoin blockchains, improvements to crypto mining equipment, novel applications for non-fungible tokens (NFTs), decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols, and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), just to name a few.[2] 

As we discussed previously, while open source innovation is a tenet of the crypto industry and the underlying blockchain technology that empowers it, companies involved in this technology should consider securing intellectual property rights for their innovations.  This could include obtaining patents for inventions that complement or are adjacent to open decentralized public ledgers such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Patenting Activity for Cryptoassets and Other Blockchain Technology

As the graphs below indicate, patenting activity for cryptoassets and other blockchain-related innovations experienced a year-over-year increase for several years, though activity has tapered more recently.

The diagram below indicates that major payment processors (including Mastercard, VISA, and Alipay), banks (Bank of American and Capital One), and various retailers and technology conglomerates are among the top applicants for patent filings in this space.Continue Reading Patenting for Blockchain and Crypto Tech

A recent class action refiled in federal court against Shopify highlights a growing trend of lawsuits against companies related to the theft of cryptocurrency, particularly as a result of internal company threats.  See Forsberg et al v. Shopify, Inc. et al, 1:22-cv-00436 (D. Del.).  Despite not itself being a repository for or facilitating the