Author ORCID Identifier

Allan C. Hutchinson: 0009-0003-8974-2886

Document Type


Publication Date


Source Publication

University of New Brunswick Law Journal, 2020 71, pp. 15-29


The problem to be faced in regulating cryptocurrency is the general thrust of the ‘governance paradox’—how do you regulate an innovative scheme that demands some regulation in the public interest, when you know that any regulation will transform the very features of that scheme that not only makes it what it is, but also makes it especially useful and attractive to that same public? More specifically, how do you regulate an off-the-grid, decentralized and distributed scheme without making it into an on-the-grid, centralized and undistributed scheme? This is the challenge to be met in devising any kind of proposal to create a tailored and efficacious regulatory regime for cryptocurrency. Consequently, in making this effort, it will be important to remember that regulation is not a technical end in itself, but a means to a larger and more substantive end. As regards cryptocurrency, this means that regulation must serve to advance and protect broader social and democratic goals—the shared notion of putting ordinary people and their interests at the heart of any regulated society, not those of many civic or state-controlled institutions that tend to put their own interests ahead of others. Accordingly, any proposals to regulate cryptocurrency must be guided by that broader and more encompassing ambition.