Category Archives: Initial Coin Offerings

Entrepreneurial Finance and Moral Hazard: Evidence from Token Offerings

By | April 30, 2019

Courtesy of Paul P. Momtaz Token Offerings or Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) are a rapidly growing market, with more than 4,500 transactions in 2018 alone. However, there is also substantial fraudulent activity spurred by the absence of regulation. My new paper, Entrepreneurial Finance and Moral Hazard: Evidence from Token Offerings, explores a very subtle, hard-to-track… Read More »

ICO Regulation not Slowed by Brexit or US Shutdown Chaos

By | January 28, 2019

Courtesy of Barbara C. Matthews It seems somehow ironic and fitting that the economic sector most hostile to centralized governments – cryptocurrency and initial coin offerings (ICOs)  – faces renewed regulatory activity despite the UK Brexit and US shutdown chaos.  On January 23, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the United Kingdom issued a new… Read More »

Tokenomics: Crypto-Asset Valuation, Token Design, and the Development of Blockchain Networks

By | November 16, 2018

Courtesy of Lin William Cong, Ye Li, Neng Wang[1] Advances in FinTech and the sharing economy are being driven by the growing demand for peer-to-peer connections that transform how people interact, work, consume, and produce. Although mass-adoption of blockchain faces many hurdles, the technology holds the capacity to create financial architectures which reorganize our society… Read More »

The Wisdom of Crowds in Initial Coin Offerings

By | July 24, 2018

Courtesy of Tao Li, Jongsub Lee, and Donghwa Shin Initial coin offerings (ICOs) have recently emerged as a popular way to fund blockchain-related startups, raising nearly $12 billion since 2017, according to a report issued by CoinDesk. Through this new form of crowdfunding, an entrepreneur raises capital by creating and selling a virtual currency or “token,”… Read More »

What Happens When FinTech Firms Don’t Understand Regulation?

By | June 27, 2018

This post is the third in a series that highlights various elements of a new online course titled “FinTech Law and Policy.” The course is available to all on the Coursera platform (it can be audited for free) and covers the key legal and regulatory issues confronting the FinTech industry today. The following examples highlight… Read More »

Regulating Initial Coin Offerings: The SEC Gets All the Attention, But the CFTC Has the Stronger Case

By | January 10, 2018

The rise of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) to finance the development of blockchain applications has captured the public imagination.[1] This method of obtaining startup capital raised over $3 Billion in 2017.[2] Naturally, as ICOs have generated more and more money for developers, they have come under increased regulatory scrutiny in the United States and abroad.[3]… Read More »

Why a Bitcoin Bubble is a Good Thing

By | December 5, 2017

Courtesy of Lee Reiners, Ryan Clements, and Sean Semmler In the late 1990s, it was widely understood that Beanie Babies – a line of miniature stuffed animals – were in the midst of a speculative bubble. At one point, Beanie Babies made up 10% of eBay’s sales and over 60% of American households owned at… Read More »

New CFTC Primer Casts Uncertainty on Unregulated Utility Token Market. Is This An Application of Goodhart’s Law?

By | November 13, 2017

On July 25th, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), citing the long established “Howey Test”[1] and other cases,[2] determined that a public offering of digital tokens known as “the DAO” was in fact an offering of securities that was subject to federal law. While this ruling temporarily quelled an otherwise raging initial coin offering (ICO)… Read More »

Decoding The Demand For Cryptocurrency: What Is Driving The Historic Price Surge?

By | September 26, 2017

2017 has been the year of cryptocurrency – with Bitcoin, Ethereum and other popular digital currencies experiencing unprecedented growth.  Bloomberg recently reported that the price increase in Bitcoin and Ethereum (respectively 358 and 4000 percent) has been “staggering” considering “[t]ech stocks rose just over 1000 percent over the entire course of their [late-’90s] bubble.” As… Read More »

Is an ICO a Sale of Securities? An Analysis of The DAO Offering

By | August 24, 2017

Initial Coin Offerings (also referred to as “ICOs” or “token sales”) are presenting new challenges for regulators in determining the application of securities laws. Until recently, the ICO market was unrestrained by law or regulation; inhibited only by investor appetite. But last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), threw cold water on the ICO… Read More »