Course Details

The Business, Law, and Technology of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies

This seminar investigates the intersection between the business and law of blockchain and the associated technologies of cryptocurrency. These technologies may be as disruptive as the internet and will create substantial opportunities for both new business models, legal regimes and regulatory policies. blockchain creates a distributed ledger to which many have access and which is operated by consensus, rather than through an intermediary. It thus resembles an internet of value or financial action, unlike the internet with which we are familiar, which is focused on information. This has led some to consider this innovation as the third wave of evolution in the internet or alternatively “Web 3.0”. Some blockchains, like Bitcoin, offer ledgers of new stores of value. Other decentralized ledgers, like Ethereum, permit computer programs to generate smart contracts that can settle matters at least in part outside the legal system. Using smart contracts, companies now raise money by offering tokens via a public sale utilizing smart contracts and various exchange and market making entities in the crypto ecosystem. Investors and governments worry that crypto has a highly speculative value and trade in markets which themselves are vulnerable to fraud and theft. Some governments are concerned that private payments systems will undermine efforts to control the value of their currencies. Certain US regulators have promulgated some limited rule-making to clarify the impacts of cryptocurrencies for the financial sector, but by and large there is still a lack of clarity which has led mostly to regulation by enforcement. The course will consider the businesses built on these new technologies and the legal regimes which purport to govern their activities. Given that these are new technologies, the seminar will be intensively discussion based. Students will be expected to participate. For most classes, students will be assigned to add readings of interest about current events and law related to the topic assigned. The course will first focus on the technology, and the underlying business models made possible by blockchain technology. In the second part we will focus on specific legal issues raised by these topics through readings and class discussion, as well as guest speakers. It is also anticipated that the course will take account of new developments in this rapidly evolving topic.

Catalog Number: BUSCOM 732SF

Course History

Spring 2023
Title: The Business, Law, and Technology of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies
Faculty: Wick, Amanda
Widmann, Richard
Section: SF     Credits: 1.3
Capacity: 30     Actual: 10