Effective July 15th, 2019
1.1 FINACOM PLC LTD. (“Blockchain Association”) and its affiliates, including FINACOM MANAGEMENT LTD is an independent self-regulatory organization and external dispute resolution (EDR) body, that is membership-driven. Blockchain Association is not designated as a regulatory authority or registered as an EDR body in any jurisdiction.
1.2 Blockchain Association is a private limited company duly organized under the laws of Hong Kong. The Members of Blockchain Association are individuals, firms and corporations that operate in the Financial Services Industry and who agree to be bound by Blockchain Association rules.
(a) Despite the fact that FinaCom PLC Limited is registered in Hong Kong, Blockchain Association does not accept any Hong Kong residents as its members. Blockchain Association does not offer any services or products in Hong Kong.
1.3 The main objectives of Blockchain Association are to:
(a) provide clients, at no cost, with an accessible alternative to legal proceedings to resolve their complaints against Members;
(b) act as a complaints resolution body for the Blockchain Industry;
(c) actively facilitate the resolution of complaints with their financial service providers who are the Members of Blockchain Association;
(d) affirm commitments to upholding the highest standards of commercial honor and best business practices; and
(e) facilitate communication with industry experts, legal and compliance professionals on solving common issues arising from the physical exchange of digital currencies by customers, storage of digital assets on the Blockchain, as well as regional regulations and compliance in key global markets.
1.4 The goal of Blockchain Association is to provide a prompt resolution of clients’ complaints against Members, with regard to:
(a) high commercial standards in the Blockchain Industry; and
(b) treating customers fairly in all circumstances.
1.5 Blockchain Association will deal with Complaints in accordance with these Rules with the aim to resolve Complaints by:
(a) making a Ruling as to whether the Complaint falls within the jurisdiction of Blockchain Association;
(b) achieving a settlement of the Complaint by the parties; or
(c) issuing an Order prescribing a particular mode of conduct to the Member against whom it receives a Complaint; or
(d) making an Award; or
(e) other appropriate remedies.
1.6 These Rules set out, among other things:
(a) requirements which may be applicable to its Members;
(b) who can make a Complaint to Blockchain Association;
(c) what Complaints can be dealt with by Blockchain Association;
(d) what Complaints Blockchain Association cannot deal with;
(e) how a Complaint can be made to Blockchain Association; and
(f) how Blockchain Association tries to resolve a Complaint.
1.7 The Board may from time to time approve and have published on Blockchain Association’s website guidelines to these Rules, procedures of Blockchain Association, position statements and other documents relating Blockchain Association process, however, subject to Blockchain Association Rules.
2.1 The assets and income of Blockchain Association shall be applied solely for the purpose of operating Blockchain Association and no portion will be distributed directly or indirectly to its Members.
3.1 To be eligible a Member must be operating in the Financial Services Industry for a period of at least 1 year.
3.2 If the applicant has been in operation for less than 1 years, the Blockchain Association requires two professional references from a shareholder, director, senior executive or comparable officer of a Financial Services or Blockchain firm or firms that has been in operation for more than 3 years to be submitted with the application.
3.3 If the applicant does not meet the requirements of Rule 3.1-3.2, the Blockchain Association, at its discretion, may apply Rule 3.4 below in order to approve the Member as described in the sections below.
3.4 Blockchain Association reserves a right to provide sub-categories of membership with different pricing and payment requirements, which may, among others, depend on the number of Complaints to be adjudicated in relation to such Member and other services.
Approval as a Member
3.5 To become a Member the Board must approve an organization.
3.6 To apply for approval as a Member, such organization shall:
(a) file a membership application (in the form of a questionnaire approved by Blockchain Association) identifying the organizational structure, incorporation information, types of services offered, and other necessary information;
(c) get approved by the Board; and
(d) if approved execute the membership agreement and pay the outstanding Blockchain Association membership fees.
3.7 Membership is not transferable. There is no limit on the number of Members.
3.8 By executing the membership agreement with Blockchain Association, each Member agrees to be bound by these Rules.
3.9 Each Member agrees to pay membership fees in a timely manner. Each Member agrees to pay membership fees in a timely manner. Payments in fiat currency are accepted only in Euro (€) and BTC/ETH for cryptocurrencies and must be received within 10 business days of receiving a notice requiring payment to avoid late payment fees. Any payments made after 10 business days of receiving notice will be assessed a €50 late payment fee for every business day that a payment is overdue.
Cessation of Membership
3.10 A Member may withdraw from membership in Blockchain Association by giving the Chairman of the Board no less than three (3) months’ notice to that effect (“Termination Notice”). A Member may give no Termination Notice during the initial 12 month of the membership. Subject to the above, the membership shall cease upon expiry of the three (3) months’ period following the service of the Termination Notice. Any membership fees that have already been paid are non-refundable. In addition all logos and mention of Blockchain Association must be removed from all marketing materials including any websites.
3.11 Any complementary services provided by 3rd parties and offered by the Blockchain Association to the Member as part of their membership from time to time will automatically be cancelled at the time of cessation or termination of membership. The Blockchain Association, any of their respective directors, officers, employees or agents, shall not have any liability whatsoever (in negligence or otherwise) for any loss howsoever arising from any use of 3rd party services offered by them through the Blockchain Association, offered by the Blockchain Association as part of the membership or otherwise arising in connection with the use of such services and any and all such liability is expressly disclaimed.
3.12 The Board may in its absolute sole discretion resolve, to accept a Member’s withdrawal from membership at any time even if notice has not been given in accordance with clause 3.10 and may waive any portion of the notice period.
3.13 If a Member:
(i) refuses or neglects to comply with the provisions of these Rules or with any decision made pursuant to these Rules; or
(ii) fails to pay any monies owing to Blockchain Association within 10 business days of the date of the relevant invoice; or
(iii) ceases to be operating in the Financial Services Industry; or
(iv) for any reason ceases to be licensed or registered, as required under any applicable law in the jurisdiction in which it conducts business for operating in the Financial Services Industry; or
(v) becomes insolvent, files for bankruptcy or bankruptcy proceedings are initiated against it by its creditors;
(vi) conducts business or affairs in an unfair, deceitful, fraudulent or defamatory manner as evidenced or verified by information received from the Member’s customers, partners or other Members of the Blockchain Association;
(vii) conducts its business or affairs in a manner which has an adverse effect on the reputation or business of the Blockchain Association;
The Board, acting in good faith and in its sole discretion, may expel that Member and any associated persons of such Member from membership with Blockchain Association. If the Board passes such a resolution to expel, the Member shall cease to be a Member on the day the resolution is passed.
3.14 The Board, acting in good faith and in its sole discretion, may expel that Member and any associated persons of such Member from membership with Blockchain Association. If the Board passes such a resolution to expel, the Member shall cease to be a Member on the day the resolution is passed. No membership fees will be refunded in this case.
3.15 Notwithstanding anything to the contrary herein, the Blockchain Association may at any time terminate the Membership for any reason or no reason whatsoever by giving a written 3 days prior notice to the Member and refunding to the Member the pro rata portion of the fees that have been already paid to the Blockchain Association.
3.16 A Member may be expelled under clause 3.14 if:
(a) the Member concerned has been given notice of the first meeting of the Board which sets out the alleged grounds for expulsion and at which the resolution for expulsion will be considered:
(i) at least 7 days prior to the date of that meeting for reasons of non-payment of monies to Blockchain Association ; or
(ii) at least 7 days prior to the date of that meeting in any other instance; and
(b) the Member has been given an opportunity to provide reasons for not expelling such Member from Blockchain Association in writing.
3.17 An expelled Member may be reinstated by the Board in its absolute sole discretion and upon such terms and conditions as the Board may see fit.
3.18 Cessation of membership:
(a) does not entitle the Member to repayment in whole or in any part of any membership dues or of any other fees which have been previously paid by the Member;
(b) is without prejudice to the Member’s liability to pay any levy or other fee which has become due and payable before such cessation; and
(c) is without prejudice to the Member’s rights and obligations in respect of any Complaint commenced to be processed at Blockchain Association before such cessation (including any Order, Award or any fees payable to Blockchain Association in respect of such a Complaint).
4.1 The Blockchain Association will use the following benchmarks to evaluate the adequacy of policies and procedures documented by an applicant firm:
4.2 Transactional Firms must provide their execution policy and any other relevant documentation governing the sale, exchange or storage of digital assets on its own servers or 3rd party servers.
4.3 Transactional Firms are required to demonstrate the safe keeping of digital assets on their servers, including cybersecurity policies and any other relevant information to access the security of hot and cold storage, locally and remotely.
4.4 Transactional Firms must provide information indicating their status as a custodial/co-custodial or non-custodial firm in regards to storing digital assets.
4.5 Technology and Service Providers are required to demonstrate that all applicable laws and regulations are met when providing a particular service or technology in a specific region.
4.6 The Blockchain Association requires that all Know Your Customer (“KYC”) and Anti-Money Laundering procedures of the firm be reviewed by the Board prior to application approval.
4.7 With respect to KYC and AML policies, the Association expects Member firms to adhere to Record-Keeping Requirements as outlined in Annex C below.
4.8 The Blockchain Association has the right to recommend or require changes to the firm’s policies and procedures if the Blockchain Association determines that such policies are not on par with commonly-accepted standards within the industry.
4.9 The Blockchain Association may introduce financial requirements to all or any types of membership, such requirements will be announced by Blockchain Association by publishing a notice on its website.
5.1 As a condition to the effectiveness of a Member’s membership, each Member shall amend the dispute resolution or any similar clause in its contracts with the customers to allow a Client to raise a Complaint with Blockchain Association against such Member.
6.1 Blockchain Association believes that disaster recovery and business continuity issues are of utmost importance and trading technology providers must take a proactive approach to ensure that they have an adequate disaster recovery plan in place.
6.2 A disaster recovery and business continuity plan must contain the following information:
- description of backup facilities
- procedure for implementation of disaster recovery/business continuity plan
- disruptions of third parties
- annual testing
- rules of communication with Blockchain Association
- third party contact information; and
- employees and emergency contact information.
7.1 The Blockchain Association reserves the right, at its own discretion to conduct an audit of a Member to check the Member’s compliance with these Rules, including the requirements, set out in Rules 4 – 6 above.
7.2 Each Member agrees to cooperate with the Blockchain Association should the Blockchain Association initiate such audit and promptly upon the Blockchain Association’s request provide the Blockchain Association with any documents and information required for the Blockchain Association to conduct the audit.
8.1 The decision-making process and administration of Blockchain Association are independent of its Members.
8.2 The Blockchain Expert Committee and staff of Blockchain Association are:
(a) entirely responsible for the handling and determination of Complaints; and
(b) accountable only to the Board of Directors of the Blockchain Association.
8.3 The Board of Directors of the Blockchain Association is responsible for overseeing the operations of the Blockchain Expert Committee, for ensuring independent decision making by the Blockchain Expert Committee and staff of Blockchain Association, and for preserving the independence of Blockchain Association and its dispute resolution process.
8.4 In order to ensure that Blockchain Association is, and is perceived to be, independent, the Board comprises:
(a) an independent Chairman; and
(b) no Member representatives on the Blockchain Expert Committee.
8.5 Notwithstanding anything the above, monetary size of the Complaint heard, Blockchain Association’s Chief Operating Officer is entitled to assist the Blockchain Expert Committee in the decision-making process if so requested.
9.1 Only the Board of Directors of the Blockchain Association shall have authority to appoint the Blockchain Expert Committee. The Blockchain Expert Committee is the sole body who can:
(a) make any decision permitted under these Rules, including but not limited to, a review of whether a Complaint is within the jurisdiction of Blockchain Association and making a Ruling on this;
(b) issue an Order; and
(c) make an Award.
9.2 The Blockchain Expert Committee shall have the powers, functions, and duties conferred by these Rules, and as conferred and delegated by the Board of Directors from time to time.
10.1 Blockchain Association reserves a right to reject to hear any claim if the claimant resides in Hong Kong or if the claim is otherwise related to Hong Kong.
10.2 A Complaint can be filed with Blockchain Association if:
(a) the Complainant is a Client;
(b) the Complaint is against a Member; and
(c) the Complainant has first tried to resolve the issue with the Member through the Member’s IDR process.
11.1 Blockchain Association will deal with a Complaint if, in relation to a Financial Service provided by a Member, such Member has:
(a) breached the terms of the contract entered into between the Member and the Complainant in relation to such Financial Service;
(b) did not meet standards of good practice in the Financial Services Industry; or
(c) acted unfairly towards the Complainant.
12.1 Once the Complaint is accepted by Blockchain Association, the Complainant may not raise any new grounds for a Complaint unless:
(a) the Member consents to it in writing; and
(b) Blockchain Association consents in writing to such terms and conditions as it regards as appropriate.
12.2 In order for a Complainant to raise any new grounds in connection with the subject matter of a previously filed Complaint, the Complainant shall withdraw his Complaint within 7 days of its acceptance by Blockchain Association and file an amended Complaint with Blockchain Association. Failure of a Complainant to do so will result in any additional grounds to be disregarded by Blockchain Association.
13.1 Blockchain Association shall deal with a Complaint if the Complainant’s loss resulting from the Member’s conduct does not exceed or appear to Blockchain Association to exceed $1,000,000 or currency equivalent. For the avoidance of doubt, regardless of the compensation amount awarded by Blockchain Association to the Complainant, if the Compensation Fund is used to repay the Award, such payout may not exceed Financial Commission’s current monetary compensation (as described in Rule 2.2).
13.2 The Complainant can claim compensation for losses that are:
(a) a direct financial loss, or
13.3 Punitive, exemplary or aggravated damages will not be awarded.
13.4 Blockchain Association may also award interest or earnings in addition to any compensation awarded.
13.5 If interest or earnings is awarded, it will be calculated from the date of the cause of action or matter giving rise to the Complainant’s claim, but Blockchain Association will have regard to any factors it considers relevant, including but not limited to, the extent to which the conduct of either party contributed to any delay.
14.1 A reference to a Complaint shall include any aspect of the Complaint. Financial Commission will not deal with a Complaint if, at the time of receiving the Complaint or at any time during Financial Commission process, Financial Commission is satisfied that:
(a) a Complaint is about a Member’s acts or omissions that do not comprise a Financial Service;
(b) a Complaint is about someone who is not a Member at the time the Complaint is made;
(c) the Complainant is seeking compensation in an amount in excess of Blockchain Association’s then current monetary compensation limit in 1000000 USD;
(d) a Complaint is about management account trading, including, but not limited to the investment of monies or other funds on the financial or digital currency markets by a 3rd party on behalf of the Complainant.
(e) the Complaint relates to a fee, charge, commission or, unless:
(i) the Complaint concerns the non-disclosure, misrepresentation, miscalculation or incorrect application of the fee, charge, commission
(ii) the fee, charge or commission is egregious by industry standards
(f) the Complaint is about an issue or action done or not done by, or the policies or commercial judgment of, someone other than the Member the Complainant is complaining about;
(g) the Complainant is not the person to whom the Financial Services directly relate to;
(h) the Complaint is not brought within 45 days from the moment of dispute arising between the Complainant and the Member;
(i) the Complaint has been dealt with by a court, tribunal, arbitrator or another regulated or unregulated alternative dispute resolution body, unless:
(j) the Member has declined the Complainant’s request on the execution of a default judgment; or
(ii) both the Complainant and the Member consent in writing to the Complaint being considered by Blockchain Association;
(iii) it is more appropriate than the Complaint is dealt with in another forum such as a court or some other type of a judicial or arbitration tribunal.
(k) the Complainant has not undergone through the IDR procedures established by the Member; or
(l) the Complaint lacks substance or is being pursued by the Complainant for an improper purpose.
14.2 If the Complaint or any aspect of the Complaint is outside of the jurisdiction of Blockchain Association, the Blockchain Expert Committee may make a Ruling that the Complaint or an aspect of it cannot be heard by Blockchain Association and will advise the Complainant in writing of this setting out the reasons why the Complaint or relevant aspect of the Complaint is outside of jurisdiction of Blockchain Association.
14.3 Notwithstanding the above, the Blockchain Association, may from time to time invite (via an announcement on its website) the traders to submit their grievances in relation to matters, which may be outside the jurisdiction of the Blockchain Association (e.g., in relation to trading digital currencies), for evaluation and issuance of an opinion/report in relation to such dispute. Such opinion/reports, unless otherwise indicated by the Blockchain Association, shall be non-binding and for information purposes only. The Blockchain Association reserves a right not to apply the dispute resolution process or any part of it stated in these Rules to evaluation and issuance of an opinion/report on such grievance.
15 A.1 Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in these Rules, the Blockchain Association has an absolute and an unrestricted right to deny any Complaint. Examples of situations when a Complaint may be denied are as follows:
– the Complainant is known to the Blockchain Association or in the Financial Services Industry in general as an untrustworthy person or a person who utilizes unfair or fraudulent practices in order to obtain gain from the Members;
– the Complainant has previously abused the procedures of the Blockchain Association for the purpose, which the Blockchain Association finds (in its sole discretion) improper;
– the Complainant has violated any of the Rules; and
– it came to the knowledge of the Blockchain Association that the Complainant engages in disparaging acts (including, but not limited to statements in public forums) in relation to the Blockchain Association, its directors, members of DRC and ICC, officers and employees.
15 A.2 For the avoidance of doubt, the above examples are simply examples and the Blockchain Association at its sole discretion may deny a Complaint on any other ground. The Blockchain Association does not need to state the ground for denial (but may do so if it chooses so) when informing the Complainant that his/her Complaint was rejected.
16.1 The Member must not charge the Complainant any fee in connection with a Complaint made to Blockchain Association.
17.1 In dealing with a Complaint at any stage of the resolution process, Blockchain Association will observe procedural fairness and shall regard:
(a) good practice in the Financial Services Industry; and
(b) fairness in all the circumstances.
17.2 Dealing with a Complaint includes:
(a) deciding the extent to which a Complaint falls within the jurisdiction of Blockchain Association and making a Ruling on this if it does not;
(b) assessing the merits of the Complaint;
(c) making recommendations to the Complainant and the Member about resolving it and reaching a settlement;
(d) issuing an Order; or
(e) making an Award.
17.3 When considering what constitutes good practice in the Financial Services Industry, Blockchain Association may:
(a) consult within the representatives of Financial Services Industry;
(b) seek, but is not bound by, advice from such persons whom Blockchain Association regards as suitably qualified to give such advice.
18.1 Every Member must have IDR procedures in place which comply with standards and requirements of Blockchain Association and are approved by Blockchain Association. Prior to adoption of such IDR procedures, a Member shall submit to Blockchain Association’s review a draft of such procedures and adequately address any comments or recommendations received from Blockchain Association.
18.2 After recording a Complaint as received, Blockchain Association will only continue to deal with the Complaint if the Complainant has first tried to resolve the Complaint with the Member using the Member’s IDR process, unless:
(a) Blockchain Association considers that the Complaint or any aspect of the Complaint should be dealt with urgently; or
(b) it does not appear that the Complaint or an aspect of the Complaint is being addressed adequately or in a timely manner by the Member; or
(c) Blockchain Association reasonably considers that it is appropriate in certain circumstances not to require the Complainant to first try to resolve the Complaint or an aspect of the Complaint with the Member.
18.3 A Complainant may make a Complaint to Blockchain Association if:
(a) the Member does not give the Complainant a final response through its IDR within 14 days of receipt of the Complaint; or
(b) the Member otherwise gives a final response that the Complainant does not consider resolving his Complaint.
18.4 A Member must inform a Complainant of Blockchain Association’s contact details and his right to refer his Complaint to Blockchain Association:
(a) when the Member gives the Complainant a final response as a result of the IDR procedures within 14 days of receipt of the Complaint; or
(b) when the Member becomes aware that it will not be able to give a final response within the above mentioned time frame;
19.1 A Complainant may make a Complaint to Blockchain Association only in writing by completing the complaint form which can be found at Blockchain Association’s website (//blockchainassociation.io).
19.2 The Complainant can make a Complaint about two or more Members in relation to the same subject matter, but must generally first of all try to resolve his Complaint with each of the Members concerned. These Rules apply with any necessary modifications in respect of a Complaint against two or more Members in relation to the same subject matter.
19.3 When making a Complaint, a Complainant shall:
(a) describe the nature of the dispute with the Member in reasonable detail, inform of the outcome of the IDR procedures with the Member and specify the compensation or corrective action he is seeking from the Member to resolve the Complaint;
(b) provide Blockchain Association with copies of supporting documentation and every document relevant to the Complaint; and
(c) consent in writing (which can be done by clearly stating so in the Complaint) to Blockchain Association providing a copy of the Complaint and supporting documentation to the relevant Member.
20.1 Without in any way limiting what Blockchain Association can do, the Blockchain Expert Committee can at any time and from time to time during Blockchain Association process do all or any of the following things:
(a) ask any party questions about the Complaint;
(b) require any party promptly to provide to, or procure for, the Blockchain Expert Committee any information and documents that the Blockchain Expert Committee considers necessary within a certain time, except where the party satisfies the Blockchain Expert Committee that:
(i) provision of information would breach a duty of confidentiality to a third party and, despite best endeavors, the third party’s consent to the disclosure of the information has not been able to be obtained;
(ii) provision of information would breach a court order or prejudice a current investigation by the police or other law enforcement agency; or
Failure to submit such documents or information and in the absence of a reasonable explanation, allows the Blockchain Expert Committee to reserve the right to draw such inferences as it considers appropriate.
(c) ask any party for their comments generally on the other party’s responses to Blockchain Association;
(d) send to one party copies of:
(i) the other party’s comments on the Complaint;
(ii) the other party’s answers to questions asked; and
(iii) information provided to the Blockchain Expert Committee by the other party;
(e) at the expense of the Member, obtain such specialist advice as Blockchain Association reasonably considers is desirable or necessary to deal with the Complaint.
20.2 The Blockchain Expert Committee is not bound by any legal rule of evidence and may inform itself about the Complaint and all matters relating to it in whichever manner and by whichever means, in its sole discretion, it shall deem appropriate.
21.1 At the first stage of the dispute resolution process Blockchain Association will conduct investigation into the merits of the Complaint. During the Investigation Phase, Blockchain Association may carry out whatever reconciliation and investigation process it thinks appropriate to deal with the Complaint, including conducting oral conferences with the parties, requesting any additional documents, obtaining advice from experts.
21.2 If Blockchain Association requires additional documents from the Member or the Client, both are required to respond to Blockchain Association within 7 days or a reasonable explanation must be given as to why more time is needed.
21.3 If there is no response given within 7 days Blockchain Association will proceed in the decision making process with the information it has on file. A lack of response from the Member or the client could affect the outcome of the decision of the dispute.
21.4 Blockchain Association may carry investigation process until Blockchain Association is reasonably satisfied that it is in possession of all relevant information regarding the merits of the Complaint.
21.5 Having completed its investigation, Blockchain Association may:
(a) give the Complainant and the Member Blockchain Association’s assessment of the merits of the Complaint; and/or
(b) make a recommendation to the Complainant and the Member about resolving the Complaint.
21.6 If no settlement of the Complaint is achieved between the parties during the Investigation Phase, Blockchain Association may declare this phase completed and proceed to the Determination Phase.
22.1 At the Determination Phase, the Blockchain Expert Committee will decide on the merits of the Complaint.
22.2 The Blockchain Expert Committee will generally decide on the merits of the Complaint based upon:
(a) the Complaint;
(b) the Member’s response;
(c) the Complainant’s reply; and
(d) information and documents Blockchain Association has received during Blockchain Association process, including any advice from suitably qualified people.
22.3 The Blockchain Expert Committee may decide as follows:
(a) recommend an Award to the Complainant that the Member should pay the Complainant compensation for any loss the Complainant has suffered up to the monetary compensation limit; and/or
(b) issue a recommendation that the Member do some act or refrain from doing some act in relation to the subject matter of the Complaint; or
(c) deny the Complaint, refuse the Complainant any remedy and declare the Complaint closed.
22.4 The Blockchain Expert Committee’s decision will be in writing and will include the Blockchain Expert Committee’s reasons underlying the decision.
22.5 If the Blockchain Expert Committee recommends an Award, the amount of compensation will be determined by what the Blockchain Expert Committee believes is sufficient but not more than is required to compensate the Complainant for its loss as a result of the act or omission of the Member.
22.6 If the Blockchain Expert Committee recommends an Order, in considering whether the Order should require the Member to do or refrain from doing some act, the Blockchain Expert Committee will have regard to what is fair and reasonable to put the Complainant and the Member in the position the Complainant and the Member would have been in were it not for the act or omission of the Member.
22.7 In doing this, the Blockchain Expert Committee will consider what is fair and reasonable for all parties, including someone who is not a party to the Complaint but who might be affected by the Blockchain Expert Committee’s decision.
22.8 The Blockchain Expert Committee’s decision will be non-binding on a Complainant only if he accepts such decision in writing within 14 days of the receipt of the written decision from the Blockchain Expert Committee. If the Complainant accepts the decision, the Complainant must provide the Member (if the Member so requests) with a non-binding release of the Member from liability in respect of the matters resolved by the decision. The release must be for the full value of the claim which was the subject of the Complaint, even if the amount of the claim exceeds the amount of the remedy decided upon by Blockchain Association. The Blockchain Expert Committee’s decision becomes non-binding on a Member only if the Complainant accepts that decision in full and final settlement of his Complaint against the Member (and executes the necessary release, if requested by the Member).
22.9 If the Member requests that the Complainant should provide a release to such Member, the Member shall within 7 days of the receipt of the Blockchain Expert Committee’s decision make a written request of such release and provide both Blockchain Association and the Complainant with the text of such release. The release shall have the effect and only the effect of releasing the Member from any further legal liability to the Complainant and precluding commencement of legal proceedings by the Complainant against the Member in relation to the subject matter of the Complaint on condition that the Member has fully complied with the determination. Blockchain Association reserves a right to review and amend the text of the release as it reasonably deems appropriate in order for the release not to negate the effect of any decision made by the Blockchain Expert Committee.
22.10 If the Blockchain Expert Committee does not receive the Complainant’s signed acceptance of its decision and a signed release (if requested so by the Member) within 14 days after the receipt of Blockchain Expert Committee’s decision, the Blockchain Expert Committee may declare the Complaint closed.
22.11 Whenever the Blockchain Expert Committee recommends an Award or issues an Order, the Member is expected to comply with it fully and within the time period specified in such Award or Order. If the Blockchain Expert Committee’s Award or Order does not specify a particular time period, then the Member is expected to comply with the Award or Order as soon as practicable.
22.12 Blockchain Association may publish a non-identifying copy of the Blockchain Expert Committee’s determination of the Complaint on Blockchain Association’s website, unless either party requested in writing that a decision be made on a confidential basis and not subject to public disclosure.
23.1 At any time and from time to time during Blockchain Association process, if it thinks it appropriate to do so, Blockchain Association may:
(a) refer the Complaint back to the Member and afford it another opportunity to reconsider its position given Blockchain Association’s preliminary view of the merits of the Complaint;
(b) facilitate informal negotiations between the parties to resolve the Complaint or any aspect of the Complaint; or
(c) suggest that the Complaint be settled or withdrawn, with or without conditions, with the agreement of both parties in full and final settlement of the Complaint.
23.2 If parties reach a settlement, they shall provide Blockchain Association with a copy of the executed settlement agreement so that Blockchain Association could declare the Complaint closed.
23.3 If Blockchain Association is satisfied that:
(a) the settlement agreement was validly signed and executed by all the parties
(b) the Complaint was within Blockchain Association’s jurisdiction; and
(c) the Member has failed to comply with the settlement agreement,
The Blockchain Expert Committee may make an Award on terms of the settlement agreement to enforce it.
24.1 Where Blockchain Association reasonably considers that an offer made by a Member to a Complainant to resolve a Complaint is reasonable having regard to the information before Blockchain Association may recommend to the Complainant that he shall accept the Member’s offer in full and final settlement of the Complaint.
24.2 If the Complainant does not accept the offer, Blockchain Association may close the Complaint in the absence of further information from the Complainant that would justify the Complaint remaining open. If Blockchain Association closes the Complaint, it will notify the Complainant and Member that it has done so.
25.1 If either party does not comply with a Blockchain Association recommendation within the period specified by Blockchain Association:
(a) Blockchain Association may give the party whatever further period Blockchain Association thinks appropriate to comply;
(b) if the Member still does not comply:
(i) the Blockchain Expert Committee may, if it considers appropriate, proceed to determine the Complaint on the basis of the information and documents then available; or
(ii) Blockchain Association may expel the Member as a member of Blockchain Association;
(c) If the Complainant still does not comply, Blockchain Association may declare the Complaint closed or, where Blockchain Association requirement only relates to a particular aspect of the Complaint, Blockchain Association may decline to consider that aspect further and continue to deal with the other aspects of the Complaint.
25.2 For the purpose the expression “Blockchain Association recommendation” refers to any recommendation given by Blockchain Association or these Rules on the Complainant or the Member, including the recommendation to respond to Blockchain Association within a certain time or the requirement to provide Blockchain Association with such information and documents that may be requested by Blockchain Association in relation to the Complaint.
26.1 If a Member fails to comply with a recommended Award or Order of the Blockchain Expert Committee within the time frame specified in such Award or Order (or if no time specified, as soon as practicable), Blockchain Association may give the Member 28 days’ written notice to comply with such Award or Order. If the Member still fails to comply, then Blockchain Association can take whatever action it deems necessary to enforce the Award or Order, including but not limited to:
(a) take action to suspend or cancel the Member’s membership of Blockchain Association;
(b) take such other action as Blockchain Association thinks appropriate to secure compliance with the Member’s obligations under Blockchain Association’s Rules
27.1 Blockchain Association will suspend dealing with a Complaint if during the Investigation Phase the Member gives an Objection Notice to Blockchain Association and is able to demonstrate to Blockchain Association’s reasonable satisfaction:
(a) that the Complaint involves or may involve an issue which could have important consequences for the Member’s business or the Financial Services Industry generally; or
(b) that the Complaint raises an important or novel point of law.
27.2 A Member who gives an Objection Notice must:
(a) identify and describe the issues which could have important consequences for the Member’s business or the Financial Services Industry generally as the issues relate to the Complaint; or
(b) identify and describe the important or novel point of law as it relates to the issues raised in the Complaint; and
(c) advise Blockchain Association of the grounds on which the Member seeks a declaration from the court or any other judicial or arbitration tribunal and how the declaration being sought relates to the issues raised in the Complaint.
27.3 Blockchain Association will refuse to accept an Objection Notice if:
(a) the Member has not complied with these Rules;
(b) Blockchain Association reasonably considers that the Member has inadequate grounds for seeking a declaration from court or any other judicial or arbitration tribunal;
(c) having regard to all other relevant circumstances, Blockchain Association is reasonably satisfied that the Member has given Blockchain Association the Objection Notice for an improper purpose; or
(d) the Member previously gave Blockchain Association an Objection Notice in relation to the same Complaint, in which case, Blockchain Association will give the Member written notice of the refusal and will continue to deal with the Complaint.
27.4 If the Member does not commence judicial or arbitration proceedings on the issues specified in the Objection Notice within 14 days of giving the Objection Notice to Blockchain Association, then Blockchain Association will deal with the Complaint as if the Objection Notice had not been given.
28.1 If Blockchain Association believes that:
(a) it would not unfairly prejudice the Complainant or the Member; and
(b) it would lead to a more efficient and effective resolution of the Complaint, Blockchain Association may allow or require another Member (called the “Third Party Member”) to be joined as a party to the Complaint.
28.2 Blockchain Association may impose terms and conditions on joining a Third Party Member. For example, Blockchain Association may require the Member the Complainant has complained about to pay costs or to provide security for future costs.
28.3 Once a Third Party Member has been joined in the Complaint, Blockchain Association may give directions about how the Complaint will be dealt with.
28.4 A Third Party Member has all the rights and duties under these Rules as if that Third Party Member were the Member as referred to in the Rules.
28.5 Where a Third Party Member has been joined, these Rules are to be read to include that Third Party Member with appropriate changes being made.
29.1 Neither party is required to have legal or other representation (“representation”) while Blockchain Association deals with the Complaint.
29.2 If a party chooses to be legally or otherwise represented, this will be at its own cost.
31.1 All statements the Complainant or Member makes and information or documents they provide to Blockchain Association are made on a “without prejudice” basis. This shall mean that anything said or done or information provided to Blockchain Association during Blockchain Association process cannot be used in subsequent legal proceedings unless required by an appropriate court process.
31.2 Any information obtained by Blockchain Association during Blockchain Association process may not be disclosed by:
(a) the Complainant;
(b) the Member; or
(c) Blockchain Association,
to anyone else unless disclosure is required by law or required or permitted by Blockchain Association’s Rules.
31.1 Any party to a Complaint who believes that disclosure of any information or document to Blockchain Association will place them in breach of a duty of confidentiality they owe to someone else shall notify Blockchain Association. The party claiming confidentiality shall use its best endeavors to obtain the consent of the person to whom the duty is owed to disclose the information or document. If the consent is not received within a reasonable time, then the party claiming confidentiality will not be required to comply with any direction from Blockchain Association that the information or document be provided.
31.2 If Blockchain Association receives any information or document from any party to a Complaint with a request from that party that it be treated confidentially, Blockchain Association will not disclose that information or document to any other party or to any other person except:
(a) with the consent of the person supplying the information or document, or
(b) as required by law or required or permitted by these Rules or Blockchain Association’s Rules.
31.3 Blockchain Association will not use or rely on any confidential information or document provided by one party to make a finding adverse to any other party, unless it:
(a) reasonably considers that the information or document is genuine and credible; and
(b) informs any party against whom an adverse finding may be made that it is in receipt of the confidential information or document; and
(c) identifies the confidential information or document to any party against whom an adverse finding may be made; and
(d) If appropriate, summarizes the confidential information or the relevant contents of the document to any party against whom an adverse finding may be made.
31.4 Before Blockchain Association ends any confidential information or document to another forum, Blockchain Association will obtain in writing the consent of the party claiming confidentiality.
31.5 Except where these Rules, or the law prohibits it, Blockchain Association may at its discretion disclose the Complaint, the Member’s response, the Complainant’s reply and any information or document obtained by Blockchain Association during Blockchain Association process to the Board, Blockchain Expert Committee, any Blockchain Association employee, consultant, contractor or agent to the extent that is appropriate to do so to enable the person to fully and effectively carry out their powers, functions or duties.
31.6 Blockchain Association will not be obliged to make available to the parties any memorandum, analysis, file notes or an y other documents generated by Blockchain Association’s employees, consultants, contractors or agents.
31.7 Notwithstanding anything set forth in these Rules, any party to a Complaint who receives from Blockchain Association any document prepared by Blockchain Associationor provided to Blockchain Association by another party:
(a) must use that document only for the purpose of dispute resolution in accordance with and as contemplated by Blockchain Association Rules; and
(b) must not, except as required by law or legal proceedings, disclose the document to any other person without the prior written consent of Blockchain Association, which consent may be subject to such conditions as Blockchain Association may in its absolute discretion consider appropriate, and for the purposes of this Rule “disclose” includes communicating or divulging by any means or in any form whether written, electronic or oral or otherwise, including copying by any means and in any form the whole or any part of the document.
32.1 Blockchain Association may of its own volition or on the application of a party at any time and from time to time at its discretion and on whatever conditions it sees fit to impose, exempt a party from any one or more of these Rules. Before Blockchain Association grants any exemption, it must satisfy itself that doing so:
(a) is necessary to ensure the efficient and effective resolution of the Complaint; and
(b) would not be otherwise prejudicial or unfair to or impose an unreasonable burden or disadvantage on any party.
33.1 Blockchain Association may of its own volition or on the application of a party at its discretion and on whatever conditions it sees fit to impose extend any time for compliance with any matter under these Rules. Before Blockchain Association grants any extension of time, it must satisfy itself that doing so would not be unfair to or impose an unreasonable burden or disadvantage on any party.
34.1 Blockchain Association may at any time declare a Complaint closed in any of the following cases:
(a) the Complaint is or becomes outside of Blockchain Association’s jurisdiction;
(b) the Complaint is withdrawn, settled or resolved; or
(c) Blockchain Association deems the Complaint withdrawn by reason of the Complainant’s failure to respond to Blockchain Association’s communications within the period specified by Blockchain Association; or
(d) the Complainant does not accept the Member’s offer which Blockchain Association considers reasonable having regard to the information before Blockchain Association and recommends the Complainant to accept (in the absence of further information from the Complainant that would justify the Complaint remaining open);
(e) the Complainant does not accept Blockchain Association’s determination of the Complaint;
(f) Blockchain Association is not satisfied that the Complaint is properly presented by the Complainant; or
(g) Blockchain Association is unable to locate the Member despite its reasonable efforts to do so.
(h) Blockchain Association learns of any ground listed in Rule 15A.1.
35.1 Blockchain Association will not be bound by any previous Blockchain Association decisions, but will endeavor to be consistent in its decision-making.
35.2 A previous Blockchain Association decision includes but is not limited to a Ruling, Order or an Award
35.3 If Blockchain Association deems it appropriate, Blockchain Association will send the Complainant and the Member a copy of or extract from a Blockchain Association policy that Blockchain Association thinks is relevant to their Complaint.
36.1 Every Blockchain Association decision is final on a Member. Neither the Complainant nor the Member may file any appeals, and as such the Blockchain Association’s decision is non- appealable. A Member may not challenge a recommended Order or an Award in a court or other judicial or arbitration tribunal unless there is new information that can be presented that would affect the outcome of the Complaint.
36.2 Blockchain Association decision may only be reviewed or reopened in the circumstances allowed in these Rules or Blockchain Association guidelines.
36.3 Blockchain Association decision is non-binding on a Complainant. If the Complainant does not accept a Blockchain Association decision, the Complainant is at liberty to pursue other remedies in relation to the subject matter of the Complaint in a courts or any other judicial or arbitration forum, but not with the Blockchain Association. If the Complainant does this, Blockchain Association can declare the Complaint closed and no Blockchain Association decision will have any force or effect against the Member in relation to the Complaint.
36.4 If upon the Blockchain Expert Committee’s own motion or upon application by a party within 28 days after the date on which an Order or Award was sent to that party, the Blockchain Expert Committee has determined that in relation to that Order or Award:
(a) a clerical mistake was made; or
(b) there was an accidental error or omission; or
(c) there is a material miscalculation of figures or a material mistake in the description of any person, thing or matter; or
(d) there is a defect in form; or
(e) the terms of the Order or Award do not reflect the Blockchain Expert Committee’s actual intentions,
The Blockchain Expert Committee may:
(i) make whatever amendments to the Order or Award it thinks appropriate; or
(ii) re-issue the Order or Award; or
(iii) give such directions as it thinks appropriate (including directions about times for compliance) in connection with the Order or Award.
37.1 Blockchain Association may in its discretion:
(a) by-pass the Member’s IDR process, whether or not the Member has commenced considering the Complaint within that process; and
(b) deal with or continue to deal with a Complaint, if the Member:
(i) ceases to carry on its business; or
(ii) ceases to hold a relevant license; or
(iii) becomes insolvent, files for bankruptcy or in relation to which bankruptcy or liquidation proceedings are initiated,
and in doing so, Blockchain Association must consider the Complainant’s interests.
38.1 The Board and all Members must ensure that Blockchain Association is appropriately and effectively publicized.
38.2 Blockchain Association’s logo and mark shall only be permitted for use and distribution for Members in good standing. The use of Blockchain Association logo or mark is strictly forbidden unless authorized by Blockchain Association.
38.3 Unless the contrary is expressly indicated by the Blockchain Association in its Award or Order (as applicable), neither the Complainant nor the Member may publicize, share, transfer to any person or otherwise distribute any or part of Order, Award, any correspondence between the Blockchain Association and the Complainant or the Member or any information which was disclosed by any person during the Complaint resolution process. If the Complainant or the Member violate this provision of the Rules, the Blockchain Association may annul any of its Orders or Awards made in relation to any Complaint filed by such Complainant or against such Member, as the case may be.
39.1 To the extent permitted by law, Blockchain Association excludes all liability to Members arising out of or in connection with these Rules and the performance by Blockchain Association of functions contemplated hereunder. This exclusion applies, without limitation, to all liability in contract or tort for actions or omissions of Blockchain Association, the Board of Directors, the Blockchain Expert Committee, its owners and their officers, employees, agents, and contractors, and any related persons and entities (the “Indemnified Persons”).
39.2 The Members agree to indemnify the Indemnified Persons from and against all expenses, losses, costs and damages (including any reasonable legal fees and expenses), direct, consequential, and/or incidental in nature, that the Indemnified Persons may incur as a result of (i) any breach of these Rules by the Member, its employees, contractors, or agents or (ii) any claim, demand, proceeding, suit and action by any third party for anything done or omitted in the discharge or purported discharge by the Indemnified Persons of their rights and obligations under these Rules.
40.1 The Member must not instigate defamation action of any kind against a Complainant or Blockchain Association in respect of allegations made to Blockchain Association by the Complainant about the Member.
40.2 Any criticism of a Blockchain Association decision in a public forum or on a Member’s website is prohibited and could result in dismissal from Blockchain Association.
41.1 Blockchain Association may give a document, demand, notice or other communication (“notice”) to any party:
(b) by sending it by post, to the address of a party that it has on file; or
(c) by sending it to a fax number or e-mail address of a party that it has on file.
41.2 A document sent by post must be sent by a courier mail and shall be deemed to have been received on the day of its delivery to the relevant address.
Fax or e-mail
41.3 If a document is sent by fax or e-mail, delivery of the document is deemed to occur on the next day following the of such fax or email transmission.
Evidence of service
41.4 A certificate in writing signed by a director or officer of Blockchain Association stating that a document was sent to a party by post or by fax or email on a particular date is prima facie evidence that the document was so sent on that date.
42.1 Certain words and phrases have the special meanings set out below:
“Award” shall mean the recommended determination made by the Blockchain Expert Committee which may award any compensation to the Complainant;
“Board” shall mean the board of directors of Blockchain Association;
“Complainant” shall mean a Client who makes a Complaint to Blockchain Association about a Member or Members, but does not include a person who is a member of Blockchain Association unless the person did not, at the time the event complained about occurred, have a business relationship with the Member against whom the Complaint is made;
“Complaint” shall mean:
(a) for the purpose of IDR, an expression of dissatisfaction made to a Member, related to its conduct, products or services, or the complaints handling process itself, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected; and
(b) for the purpose of EDR, an expression of dissatisfaction made to Blockchain Association, related to a Member’s conduct, products or services, whether or not the Complainant has first tried to resolve the Complaint with the Member using the Member’s IDR process;
“Client” shall mean an individual (whether acting as a trustee or otherwise), a partnership comprising individuals or a small business, but does not include an individual that Blockchain Association determines is not a client for the purposes of Rules or guidelines because of the assets, wealth, or both, that the person has, holds or controls;
“Blockchain Association’s website” or “website” shall mean the website maintained by Financial Commission at www.blockchainassociation.io;
“Blockchain Association process” shall mean the process for dealing with a Complaint under these Rules;
“Determination Phase” shall mean the phase during which the Blockchain Expert Committee makes a decision on the merits of the Complaint and, as required, makes an Award or issues and Order;
“EDR” shall have the meaning given thereto in Rule 1.1;
“Financial Service” shall mean either services and/or products within the scope of the financial trading, storage and exchange or digital assets, including digital currencies and their derivatives;
“Financial Services Provider” shall mean any individual or organization that offers, for compensation, Financial Services;
“Financial Services Industry” shall mean a collection of Financial Service Providers;
“IDR” shall mean internal dispute resolution involving a procedure adopted by a Member to consider a Complaint;
“Investigation Phase” shall mean the investigation phase of Blockchain Association process;
“Member” shall mean a person, firm or corporation which is a member of the Blockchain Association;
“Monetary compensation limit” shall mean an amount not exceeding €20,000, as may be amended from time to time; Note: Separate claims by the same Complainant will not be aggregated for the purpose of determining a maximum monetary compensation limit;
“Order” shall mean a determination made by the Blockchain Expert Committee prescribing certain mode of conduct to a Member;
“Rules” shall mean these Rules;
“Ruling” shall mean a Ruling by the Blockchain Expert Committee as to whether a Complaint or any aspect of a Complaint can be dealt with under these Rules or about any matter that arises in the course of Blockchain Association dealing with the Complaint;
“Technology and Service Providers” shall mean firms providing any blockchain or crypto-related service; and
“Transactional Firms” shall mean firms providing trading or exchange services for retail customers in digital assets, including online exchanges and wallets.
42.2 Unless the context suggests otherwise:
(a) the singular includes the plural and vice versa;
(b) any reference to a party to a Complaint includes that party’s executors, administrators or permitted assigns;
(c) a reference to one gender includes every gender;
(d) headings are for reference purposes only; and
(e) references to any applicable law including but not limited to any regulations and other rules made under it and to consolidations, re-enactments, amendments or replacements of it.
42.3 In calculating compliance with a time period by reference to a number of “days”, shall include weekends but not include any global public holiday or public holiday pertaining to the country of residence of the Member.
42.4 Whenever these Rules refer to information, they shall include information or evidence in any form and from any source, but do not include information or evidence that has been or appears to be illegally obtained.
1. General Standard
Members who service retail customers must adopt and enforce written procedures reasonably designed to record and maintain essential information regarding customer trading or exchange or digital assets and account activity.
2. Account Records
Electronic trading platforms should create and maintain daily records containing the following information:
- account balance (funds in the account plus or minus open trade equity);
- account identification;
- funds in the account (net of any commissions and fees); and
- open trade equity (the net profits and losses on open trades
Members must maintain this information, and it must be readily accessible. These records must be open to inspection by Blockchain Association, and copies must be provided to Blockchain Association upon request.