This is according to a report prepared by Lex Machina, a legal analytics firm. Last year, the number of cases mentioning bitcoin, cryptocurrency or blockchain amounted to just 15 ,but in the first and the second quarters of this year, the figure has risen to 45. If the current trend continues, this means that the increase will likely be more than sixfold by the end of the year.
New Sheriff in Town
Of all the cases that have been filed so far in 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was responsible for around a third, according to the National Law Journal. This coincided with the current chairman of the SEC, Jay Clayton, announcing a crackdown on the sector. Clayton was nominated to the position in January last year though he was formally inducted five months later.
The surge in the number of cases seems to have also coincided with the fall in the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from their record highs. Specifically, there were only seven cases relating to bitcoin, blockchain or cryptocurrency in the fourth quarter of last year but this more than tripled in this year’s first quarter.
“[T]he first two quarters of 2018 saw a significant rise in the number of securities cases relating to cryptocurrency or Bitcoin,” the legal analytics firm wrote in a statement. “Using Legal Analytics’ keyword search functionality, Lex Machina discovered case filings relating to this emerging area surged from seven cases in Q4 2017 to 22 cases in Q1 2018 Q1 and 23 cases in Q2.” […]