Cryptocurrency Regulation (SC)

Section 1ZO, Fall 20

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 10/20
Credits: 1

Course Description

Cryptocurrency and digital assets regulation is a rapidly-developing, emerging area of the law. The cryptocurrency market has exploded with billions of dollars and thousands of companies offering digital assets. The framework for federal regulation of cryptocurrency and digital assets is only beginning to take shape, and has largely been centered on enforcement actions. While this emerging technology can revolutionize business globally, federal regulators have expressed concerns about illegal uses of cryptocurrency, including fraud, market manipulation, and money laundering. The course will review federal regulations and legal issues involving cryptocurrencies, digital assets, and initial coin offerings. This class explores the interplay of different federal regulators of cryptocurrencies and digital assets, including principally the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Criminal laws as they relate to emerging technology of cryptocurrencies and digital assets will also be examined in the context of criminal prosecutions by the Department of Justice. The course will analyze whether these emerging technologies fall within the definition of commodities or securities. Speeches, testimony, and other public statements by SEC and CFTC officials on the regulation of cryptocurrencies will be reviewed, as will the SEC’s denial for registration of certain digital assets. Students will examine the securities laws that may apply to require initial coin offerings to be registered with the SEC as a securities offering, registration of a platform as a national exchange, and touting of initial coin offerings by celebrities like DJ Khaled. Specific SEC/CFTC enforcement cases and criminal cases brought by DOJ will be analyzed.

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Midterm Type (if any): None
Description: None

Final Type (if any): Due Date Only
Description: A take-home exam (approx. 60% of grade) will be required at the conclusion of the course, with answers due to be submitted via EXPO on noon no later than 2 weeks after last class session. Exam administration details to be announced.
Final Exam Notes:

A take-home exam (approx. 60% of grade) will be required at the conclusion of the course, with answers due to be submitted via EXPO on noon no later than 2 weeks after last class session. Exam administration details to be announced.

Written Work Product
Written Work Product: Each student will be asked to identify two enforcement cases in the area of cryptocurrency/digital assets, draft a summary of the case, and brief the class (approx. 20% of grade). The student should at a minimum, identify the laws charged, the significant facts, the legal analysis by the Government, the defense, and the student’s belief about the outcome. The student should demonstrate knowledge of course material.

Other Work
There will be a sign in sheet for each class. Students will be expected to attend the entire class. Students should be prepared for class and demonstrate their preparation (approx. 20% of grade).

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: None Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: No
Course Notes: This class will meet entirely online. Class will take place synchronously via Zoom. Any additional remote learning details from the instructor will be posted to the course's Canvas page at a later date. At the end of the semester, students should be able to: (1) Articulate which securities and/or commodities laws and SEC /CFTC guidance apply to the areas of cryptocurrency; (2) Analyze whether certain digital assets fall within the definition of “securities;” (3) Identify the types of conduct that has been the subject of an SEC, CFTC or DOJ enforcement case.

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: No
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*Yes means professor requires everyone in the course to submit a substantial research paper (which is the requirement standard in Academic Policies), so no paperwork required to be submitted to SRO. No means student must timely submit paperwork to SRO if intending to use a paper in this course to satisfy the Writing Requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

General Information

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
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Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: