Sunny Hwang

Managing Associate

Los Angeles


Read full biography at www.orrick.com
Sunny practices in Orrick's White Collar, Investigations, Securities Litigation & Compliance group.

Sunny's varied experience includes securing dismissal with prejudice of securities fraud claims against a Chinese company incorporated in the Cayman Islands, litigating on behalf of the plaintiff in a civil RICO action, and obtaining a favorable settlement for a corporation in a dispute with its former chairman and controlling shareholder.  He began his legal career by honing his research and writing skills as a law clerk to the Honorable Kimberly J. Mueller and judicial extern to the Honorable Harry Pregerson. 

Before law school, Sunny served for several years as a trade attache for the French government.

Posts by: Sunny Hwang

Cryptocurrencies: Are They Securities?

Cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, have been in the news a lot lately, but many people still don’t know what they are—or whether they’re regulated.  Here’s a quick rundown.

What Are Cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrencies are decentralized digital cash systems.  Eschewing centralized control, such as a bank or government, cryptocurrencies instead rely on pseudonymous peer-to-peer networks—think Napster of yore—in which all actors in the network must recognize and reflect a transaction.  To illustrate how this works, if Person A has an apple and trades it to Person B for her orange, Person A cannot thereafter trade that apple to Person C because everyone knows from a public ledger that Person A has already traded his one apple.

The security of the public ledger is then of paramount importance—so how do cryptocurrencies ensure ledger security?  They rely on people called miners.  Miners are basically the bookkeepers of the public ledger, and anyone with the time, energy, and equipment can be a miner.  When a transaction occurs, it is not immediately added to the public ledger; instead, a miner must first confirm it.  To do so, miners generate a complicated code that: (1) memorializes the data relating to the transaction; (2) refers to the previous confirmed transaction in the system (a sequential timestamp of sorts); and (3) complies with the particular cryptocurrency’s specific requirements.  This is a challenging and necessary task that protects the public ledger—a transaction won’t be confirmed if a code can’t be generated that aligns with previous ledger entries.  Using the earlier example, once Person A’s apple-orange trade has been confirmed, he can’t trade the apple again because any code generated after that reflects that he has already traded his apple.  Without an acceptable code, no new transaction can be confirmed.

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Dodd-Frank Re-Write—the House of Representatives Edition

The House has approved major changes to signature aspects of Dodd-Frank. While those changes are unlikely to survive intact, they are certainly worthy of close attention. We’ve studied the nearly 600-page bill so you don’t have to.

On June 8, 2017, the House passed H.R. 10, entitled the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017. Sponsored by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), the bill advances to the Senate after a largely party-line vote, 233 to 186. All but one Republican supported the bill, while all Democrats opposed.

The bill extensively amends the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the landmark 2010 legislation passed by a Democrat-controlled Congress in the wake of the Lehman Brothers collapse and ensuing financial crisis.

Key changes include:

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