CRYPTOCURRENCY AND STATE SOVEREIGNTY
Frebowitz, Ryan L.
Brown, Shannon A.
Dahl, Erik J.
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Since Bitcoin’s release in late 2008, the cryptocurrency has grown and proven itself as a disruptive technology, resistant to sovereign law and international financial regulations, and an alternative to the sovereign state’s concept of fiat money. The Wild West nature of cryptocurrency has enabled a number of individuals, criminal organizations, terrorist groups, and sovereign states to use Bitcoin, among other cryptocurrencies, to avoid detection, interference, or punishment from regulatory agencies to commit actions such as money laundering, trafficking narcotics, purchasing weapons, and bypassing international sanctions. This thesis addresses the disruptive nature of cryptocurrency by asking what legislative options are available to sovereign states to maximize the effectiveness of sovereign laws while limiting undesired cryptocurrency use. To tackle this question, this thesis breaks down the legislative actions countries may take into three categories—prohibition, regulation, and adoption—to investigate the benefits, limitations, and effects of each policy. By examining the legislative actions of countries like China, the United States, and Russia, this thesis finds that sovereign states have had limited success in preventing illicit cryptocurrency use; however, without implementing a refined, multifaceted global regulatory standard on cryptocurrency transactions in the near future, cryptocurrency will remain an unchecked means to transact on an international scale.
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