Business Law Program Offers New Cutting-Edge FinTech Course on Virtual Currency 

associate director of the Business Law Program Professor Jerry Comizio
Associate Director of the Business Law Program Professor Jerry Comizio

Furthering the Business Law Program’s mission of providing cutting-edge course opportunities across emerging business law sectors, associate director of the Business Law Program Professor Jerry Comizio will teach a two-credit Virtual Currency course in the Spring 2021 semester. It will be one of the first law school courses in the country devoted to exploring the emerging legal and regulatory framework governing virtual currency activities.

The advent of virtual currency, beginning with Bitcoin in 2008, has quickly exploded into an emerging financial ecosystem composed of an increasing number and variety of non-government based legal tender. This global emergence illustrates the exciting possibilities for peer-to-peer payment systems, money transmission, mobile payment systems, and investment opportunities not only for purchasers and sellers of virtual currency but also for investors in virtual currency-related business activities. Federal and state regulators are focusing on how virtual currency and related businesses activities generally fit within the framework of “traditional” financial services laws: specifically, how U.S. banking, securities, commodities, money transmission, servicing and licensing, broker-dealer, securities and commodities exchange, anti-money laundering, cybersecurity, UCC and international laws apply to virtual currency business activities. In addition, major central banks are seriously exploring the use of virtual currency and block chain technology to augment or even substitute for paper currency to both enhance payments systems and as a potential tool of monetary policy.

Notwithstanding these promising legal, regulatory, technological, business and economic developments, virtual currencies have also raise significant concerns about potential illegal and fraudulent activities related to these currencies, with governments, regulators, and law enforcement authorities increasingly focused on the use of these currencies and their supporting block chain technology. This focus has been dominated by concerns about, among other things, the use of virtual currency in illegal activities such as narcotics trafficking, terrorism and money laundering activities, customer theft and data privacy breaches. In addition, virtual currencies have also been viewed in some quarters as also either posing existential threats – or helpful adjuncts – to government-backed fiat currencies and the global economy.