Category Archives: SEC

Securities Fraud: Not Just for Policing Financial Markets

By | May 2, 2019

Courtesy of Joseph T. McClure In the wake of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, data privacy emerged as a hot-button issue that politicians of all ideological persuasions will add to their stump speeches before the 2020 elections. It also appears likely to join issues such as climate change, gun violence, and workplace sexual misconduct as the… 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 »

The Effects of Cross-Border Cooperation on Enforcement and Earnings Attributes

By | March 28, 2018

Courtesy of Roger Silvers In a recent study, I investigate cross-border coordination among national securities regulators and its impact on enforcement and financial reporting. The paper provides an in-depth look at the cross-border enforcement program at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), using publicly available data. The results are consistent with the IOSCO Multilateral… Read More »

SEC Stands Firm Against New Bitcoin ETF Proposals

By | January 12, 2018

The New Year has seen the Securities and Exchange Commission break out its best Dikembe Mutombo finger wag impersonation for those seeking to list a Bitcoin related exchange traded fund (ETF). According to the SEC’s EDGAR database, seven different Bitcoin ETF proposals were withdrawn just this week at the request of SEC staff. The SEC’s… 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 »

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 »

Robo-Advisers and the Fiduciary Duty

By | August 1, 2017

This post is inspired by and includes excerpts from “The Rise of Robo-Advisers: Can an Algorithm be a Fiduciary”, 67 Duke L.J (2017) (forthcoming). Imagine all your retirement savings is managed by an online company (robo-adviser) that utilizes an extremely sophisticated machine learning algorithm to construct a continuously adjusting portfolio designed to maximize risk-adjusted returns… Read More »