Extract from the winning essay in a competition for young lawyers jointly sponsored by the Banking Law Committee and Securities Law Committee.
Cryptocurrencies. Tokens. ICOs. The buzzwords of the moment. But what exactly are they and what is causing market commentators to speculate that their time is up? From the infamous attack on The DAO to the struggle with legal categorisation of tokens, it is no surprise that the market for ICOs has started to decline. Will security token offerings now become the norm and how will cyber-utopians react to this clear move towards a more regulated and industry-compliant asset class? One thing is certain – ICOs in their existing form are not sustainable. What comes next remains to be seen.
Herein lies the problem with the current ideology underlying the ICO markets: laissez-faire capitalism is all very well until things start to go wrong. There is a lesson to be learned here and it is not without irony.