Wednesday
Sep122018

When is a cryptocurrency exchange required to become a registered exchange?

The precipitous rise of cryptocurrencies has numerous implications for securities trading, the most fundamental of which is when, and if, any given cryptocurrency exchange is required to become a registered exchange as defined by the SEC.

A cryptocurrency is a digital currency that can be traded and exchanged (Ian King, Investopedia). One defining feature of cryptocurrency is that it is decentralized, meaning it is not issued by a central bank or regulatory agency. Id.This foundational aspect of cryptocurrencies is desirable to investors because unlike traditional fiat currencies that are subject to governmental control and manipulation, cryptocurrencies and their values operate independently from a central authority. (Brian Martucci, Money Crashers).

Click to read more ...

Friday
Aug032018

Registering ICOs as Public Offerings with the SEC

An initial coin offering (ICO) is a capital raising mechanism whereby companies sell bitcoins to investors or buyers in exchange for funds. An ICO is different from traditional capital raises. Rather than selling shares of stock in a company, an ICO offers digital currencies or cryptocurrencies. In addition, most ICOs do not offer equity or a stake in the company’s projects. The concept of using ICOs to raise capital has grown exponentially in recent years as they pose a cost-efficient way of conducting transactions with little regulation. ICOs, however, also pose a greater risk of fraud due to their place in the unregulated market.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug012018

Racing to Regulate Cryptocurrencies 

The regulatory landscape for cryptocurrencies is fast paced, ever-changing, and hard to pin down (see Element Group report). To understand why governments are interested in regulating cryptocurrencies, background about their potential function is necessary. Cryptocurrencies enormous potential comes from the use of “public ledgers” which, through a complicated application of cryptology and software, reduce transaction costs associated with value transfer by creating independently verifiable transaction validations. The public ledger system, however, only documents transactions and ownership. The only identity recorded on the ledger is "a set of letters and numbers . . . representing the [user's] public cryptocurrency address."

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jul302018

How Do Miners Create Coins and Confirm Transactions?

Unlike other currencies and monetary systems that rely on a centralized authority, such as banks, to track transactions, maintain records, and ensure balances remain accurate and current; cryptocurrencies operate without any type of centralized reporting system. Instead, cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, utilize a decentralized network to verify and confirm transactions, track balances, flawlessly store and maintain records, and even generate new currency. While the exact manner in which this is accomplished is extremely technical and complex, it essentially boils down to giving every node, or peer, on the network access to all the records, including balances. Thus, everyone on the network has the ability to verify and confirm the validity of every transaction (Malva Style, MalvaStyle).

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jul282018

Regulatory Landscape of Cryptocurrency

With the popularity and growth of cryptocurrencies many companies are using initial coin offerings (“ICOs”) to raise capital. ICOs allow investors to exchange typical currency for a coin or token. The ICO market continues to grow—in 2017 an estimated $4 billion was raised through ICOs. (Jay Clayton, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission). So far, 2018 has seen $2 billion raised through ICOs. (David Sacks and Josh Stein, Harbor). Funding a venture through a cryptocurrency gives companies and individuals the ability to make transfers regardless of geographic location, and it has lower transaction costs than traditional financing methods.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jul272018

Crypto Regulation: Regulating the Unknown 

The rise of blockchain and cryptocurrency has taken the financial world by storm. In 2017, various companies and financial firms raised capital through initial coin offerings(“ICO”). As cryptocurrency becomes more politically popular, world economic powers are faced with an important question: how do we regulate cryptocurrency? Currently, regulatory approaches vary from country to country. Outside of the core desire to remove anonymity and push adherence to tax laws, government actions have been anything but consistent. (see Element Groupreport). While the current cryptocurrency regulatory landscape is in flux, this article addresses recent trends and responses to the crypto explosion around the globe.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul262018

Does Cryptocurrency Trading Favor Retail Investors, and If So, for How Long?

According to CoinMarketCap, as of July 24, 2018 the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies was just shy of $303 billion with Bitcoin’s market capitalization at $140 billion (17.1 million coins in circulation), down from a high of $828 billion and $294 billion, respectively, in early January 2018.

A recent report in the Financial Times indicates that there are approximately 1,600 individual investors (generally thought to be high net worth individuals), known as “Bitcoin whales” who hold one-third of the Bitcoins in circulation, and of those, approximately 100 investors own between 10,000 and 100,000 Bitcoin each in their wallets.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jul202018

What is a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO)?

A Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) is an organization in which the traditional business management scheme is replaced by blockchain technology. While DAOs function like corporations in some ways, they replace board members with code and leave business decisions up to token-holders who exist as nodes along the blockchain. No single entity owns the DAO, and the organization’s day-to-day operations are executed via smart contracts. This note introduces readers to DAOs, provides insights into how major industry players and regulators are interacting with them, and speculates on how DAOs may influence the future of corporate law.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jul112018

What Drives the Value of Cryptocurrency?

By late 2017, the value of Bitcoin (BTC) had risen to an unprecedented $19,843 per coin after trading below $1,000 just a year earlier. Though it has fallen well below those highs, Bitcoin’s value — and the value of other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum — has continued to remain much higher than anyone expected.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jun242018

What is Cryptocurrency?

By Megan Herr & Thomas Dyer

Innovators have a tendency of identifying problems and subsequently creating a solution instead of the inverse. Great ideas do not make historic innovations; creative solutions to problems do. Cryptocurrency arose out of the identified problems contained in “traditional” fiat currencies. Transactions involving fiat currencies are often traceable by parties who should not otherwise have access to that information. Cryptocurrencies effectively address both of these problems, along with a handful of others through innovations including blind algorithms and the related blockchain technology.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun182018

Facts and Circumstances: Perhaps Not All ICOs Are Securities

Initial coin offerings (ICOs), also sometimes called token sales, have exploded as the fastest growing segment of the world-wide capital markets. ICOs gained prominence in 2016 following a $160 million raise by an entity called “The DAO.” (Connie Loizos, TechCrunch) ICO fundraises grew from an estimated $263 million in 2016 to north of $5 billion in 2017. (Oscar Williams-Grut, Business Insider) The trend has continued in 2018, with an estimated $9.5 billion raised through the first five months of the year. (Coinschedule; see also Katie Rooney, CNBC) Despite this growth, there is still considerable legal uncertainty as to the status of ICOs and whether they are subject to regulation as securities in the United States.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun112018

What is a Smart Contract?

Smart contracts are self-executing transactions that are written in computer code often utilized to “facilitate, execute, and enforce agreements between two or more parties.” While the term might sound new to some, the phrase was actually coined in 1994. The concept behind a smart contract is rooted in basic contract law; offer, acceptance, and consideration are all necessary, but smart contracts are enforced by different means. A key advantage of using smart contracts is efficiency. Once uploaded to the blockchain, smart contracts do not rely on a third party for recordkeeping or enforcement. Because they are self-executing and stored on a shared platform, smart contracts could potentially eliminate the manual effort currently necessary to execute domestic and international financial transactions.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun062018

What is an Initial Coin Offering (ICO)?

An initial coin offering (ICO) is the term used to describe the method that a crypto firm or company utilizes to raise capital to fund a particular venture or project through the sale of its tokens. While an ICO is similar to the concept of raising capital by selling shares of stock, it is also different because the crypto firm is selling a digital asset (i.e. a token). The tokens can be utility tokens meaning the investor can use the tokens to access a product or a service or the tokens can be security tokens meaning the investor has some type of an investment stake. Another significant difference is that investors in ICOs do not generally have an ownership interest in the crypto firm, like a purchaser of common stock. Though this difference in investment may change with the advent of equity tokens. Yet, similar to owning stock, investors earn a return as a result of an increase in the value of their tokens, whether as utility or security token holders.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun052018

What is Blockchain?

By Bryston Gallegos & Kasia Parecki

Best known for its role in the rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, blockchain is a revolutionary technology that has the potential to transform how business transactions are conducted. For now, blockchain is primarily applied in digital financial transactions, like cryptocurrencies, but it presents a lot of opportunities for a wide variety of industries—from home entertainment to real estate to contract drafting —and beyond. This short article offers a brief introduction to blockchain, provides insight about its current uses, and summarizes some future applications.

Click to read more ...