The Law and Economics of Blacklisting

The crackdown on Tornado Cash, a crypto mixing service, continues a recent trend of regulators using blacklisting as a key enforcement tool. Tornado Cash was blacklisted by the Treasury Department for allegedly helping to launder over $7 billion in cryptocurrencies, some of which are believed to be the proceeds of cybercrimes, and Americans can no longer legally use Tornado Cash as a result.   But U.S. authorities are far from being alone in usubg blacklisting as a regulatory tool. Blacklisting individuals, business entities, and even autonomous codes, as was the case with Tornado Cash, to achieve policy outcomes, has also … Read more

A Ranking Season Would Help Combat Discrimination by Commercial Banks

Last October, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) launched what they are referring to as an aggressive effort to combat deliberate financial discrimination against Black and Hispanic families by banks. Taking things one step further, earlier this month, the NYS Department of Financial Services announced that it plans to start examining banking institutions’ record of helping to meet the credit needs of minority- and women-owned businesses, and their participation in assistance programs for small and mid-size businesses, relying on the department’s Community Reinvestment Act … Read more

Companies Face Risk and Opportunity with Distributed Governance Structures

In 2016, enterprising software developers sought to create a business entity with a unique governance structure: a leaderless, decentralized venture capital firm that would allow investors to vote on and collectively fund proposals. The Distributed Autonomous Organization (DAO) attracted more capital than its backers had anticipated, becoming the largest crowdfunded project ever with $168 million raised. To participate, investors poured funds into ether, a digital currency designed to facilitate decentralized applications on Ethereum, which is an open source, blockchain-based computing platform. After acquiring ether, investors exchanged it for the DAO’s tokens, entitling them to participate in its governance, profits, and … Read more