One of the most important trends captured by the Murphy & McGonigle Blockchain Litigation Database is the pace of case filings. As noted in a previous post, the volume of cases in 2019 dropped significantly from 2018. That drop was largely a result of a one-time spike in cases in 2018 as government authorities filed numerous lawsuits relating to the ICO spike in 2016 and 2017. The drop from 2018 to 2019 is now confirmed to be a one-time event, and not a downward trend, as 2020's case filings are proceeding at 2019’s pace (see chart above).
Some highlights of filings in 2020 include:
- The SEC has filed 8 new enforcement actions, continuing its activity from 2019.
- There was a new wave of private civil actions: securities class actions against ICO issuers and exchanges. Murphy & McGonigle hosted a webinar on these cases, which you can view here.
We expect the trajectory over the next few years to shift from the trajectory of 2017-2019. Cryptocurrencies are entering their second decade of existence, with broader awareness, more widespread adoption, and a more stable price to show for it. The price of bitcoin has bounced from $5,000 to $10,000 over the past year, but we have not seen another spike like the one from December 2017. Thus, we see no basis for another crypto litigation spike. Rather, as cryptocurrencies and blockchain continue to be integrated into the economy (especially into a post-COVID-19 economy with more teleworking), a slow, upward progression can be expected.
Criminal Actions See Decreasing Share of Crypto Litigation Mix
Blockchain Law Center | (06/03/2020)
SEC Files More Crypto Enforcement Cases in 2019; Other Regulators Drop Off
Blockchain Law Center | (05/26/2020)
Crypto Litigation Mirrors the Price of Bitcoin
Blockchain Law Center | (05/20/2020)
The Importance of New Crypto Court Precedent
Blockchain Law Center | (05/12/2020)
Surprise: SEC Opens the Sandbox
Blockchain Law Center | (10/31/2019)
About Blockchain Law Center
Blockchain technology utilizes a distributed digital ledger to record and track information, and can be leveraged to gain transparency and certainty in transactions ranging from cryptocurrency to supply chain tracking. This blog provides information on the legal developments surrounding implementation of blockchain technology, with an initial focus on the financial services sector.