Regulatory Issues Need More Clarity in 2020

This post is part of CoinDesk’s 2019 Year in Review, a collection of 100 op-eds, interviews and takes on the state of blockchain and the world. Donna Redel is founder of Strategic 50, a consultancy dedicated women in business, and board member of New York Angels, an independent consortium of over 100 individual accredited angel investors.

Having a big idea is great, but pushing forward and implementing it requires sustained attention to detail. Many of us see nearly limitless possibilities for cryptocurrencies and other blockchain applications, but that future will not come to pass if stakeholders do not continue to pay close attention to the developing global legal and regulatory frameworks. In 2019 there was some progress on this front for U.S. blockchain companies – among other things, the SEC finally issued its framework for token issuers – but the year did not bring as much clarity as many hoped. Just ask cryptocurrency companies who are still trying to figure out what William Hinman, the Director of the SEC’s Division of Corporate Finance, meant when he said, in April 2018, that some tokens were “sufficiently decentralized” as to no longer be considered securities. In fact, the big picture only grew more complicated as the Treasury Department, the G-7, and even President Trump entered more prominently.

To help address that uncertainty, I organized the inaugural Fordham Law Blockchain Regulatory Symposium in partnership with another Fordham Law alum Joyce Lai, an attorney at ConsenSys. The event took place in November but we conceived it back in April when we had both wondered why New York City did not have a dedicated academic blockchain regulatory event? There were certainly enough grey areas and complex issues to devote a full day to the current legal landscape and how it might be reimagined – because if we want the industry to move forward responsibly and quickly, we need to create opportunities for constructive dialogue between the private…

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