Online sites that exchange bitcoins and other digital assets will face heightened legal and regulatory challenges in 2018, regardless of whether the value of the assets continues to skyrocket.
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Hundreds of companies and people raised funds in 2017 through the sale of the assets, known as cryptocurrencies, coins, or tokens. Those initial coin offerings (ICOs) became popular among investors and buyers in part because of how easy they are to conduct.
It’s not always clear what existing regulations apply to the cryptocurrency industry as its technology continues to evolve, making it difficult for exchanges to comply. Token exchanges have also operated with fewer safeguards for purchasers than other types of exchanges, meaning users may be exposed to unexpected risk.
Regulators are starting to pay attention. Cryptocurrency and digital asset exchanges are likely to be hit hard with legal and regulatory challenges in 2018 because they’re usually more established and easier to identify than the companies or people developing the coins, financial attorneys and digital asset trade and advocacy groups told Bloomberg Law.
“I think that this is all a lot closer than people think, because quite frankly the amounts of money involved now are too significant for regulation and litigation not to be coming,” James Taylor-Copeland, the founder of Taylor-Copeland Law who specializes in cryptocurrencies and blockchain litigation, told Bloomberg Law.
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