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Smart contracts that violate the Commodity Exchange Act: which parties are liable?

Smart contracts that violate the Commodity Exchange Act: which parties are liable? <jats:sec> <jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Purpose</jats:title> <jats:p>The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), to date, has not directly addressed how liability for Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) violations involving blockchain or distributed ledger technology should be allocated among the various parties involved in the distributed ledger network, such as the network itself, persons running consensus nodes, developers building applications on the platform, and businesses and end users using such applications. This article discusses recent statements by CFTC Commissioner Brian Quintenz regarding this issue and the approach that the CFTC may take going forward.</jats:p> </jats:sec> <jats:sec> <jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Design/methodology/approach</jats:title> <jats:p>This article examines the allocation of liability in the context of smart contracts that may violate the CEA. The article discusses how the CFTC, despite its significant focus in recent years on virtual currency and blockchain, has not addressed the issue of liability allocation directly. Recent remarks by Commissioner Quintenz may shed light on the CFTC’s future approach.</jats:p> </jats:sec> <jats:sec> <jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Findings</jats:title> <jats:p>This article finds that liability allocation questions may become increasingly pressing as smart contracts that potentially violate the CEA proliferate, possibly exposing a broad range of parties involved in a distributed ledger network to liability. To the extent that Commissioner Quintenz’s recent remarks are indicative, the CFTC ultimately may adopt a foreseeability standard in determining liability.</jats:p> </jats:sec> <jats:sec> <jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Practical implications</jats:title> <jats:p>Applications of distributed ledger technology (DLT) are ever-expanding, continually posing novel CFTC regulatory issues. This is especially the case with respect to smart contracts that may be subject to CFTC jurisdiction. Parties involved in such applications should be mindful of potential liability.</jats:p> </jats:sec> <jats:sec> <jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Originality/value</jats:title> <jats:p>Practical guidance from experienced finance and derivatives lawyers with strong CFTC expertise.</jats:p> </jats:sec> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Investment Compliance CrossRef

Smart contracts that violate the Commodity Exchange Act: which parties are liable?

Journal of Investment Compliance , Volume 20 (3): 28-31 – Oct 14, 2019

Smart contracts that violate the Commodity Exchange Act: which parties are liable?


Abstract

<jats:sec>
<jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Purpose</jats:title>
<jats:p>The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), to date, has not directly addressed how liability for Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) violations involving blockchain or distributed ledger technology should be allocated among the various parties involved in the distributed ledger network, such as the network itself, persons running consensus nodes, developers building applications on the platform, and businesses and end users using such applications. This article discusses recent statements by CFTC Commissioner Brian Quintenz regarding this issue and the approach that the CFTC may take going forward.</jats:p>
</jats:sec>
<jats:sec>
<jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Design/methodology/approach</jats:title>
<jats:p>This article examines the allocation of liability in the context of smart contracts that may violate the CEA. The article discusses how the CFTC, despite its significant focus in recent years on virtual currency and blockchain, has not addressed the issue of liability allocation directly. Recent remarks by Commissioner Quintenz may shed light on the CFTC’s future approach.</jats:p>
</jats:sec>
<jats:sec>
<jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Findings</jats:title>
<jats:p>This article finds that liability allocation questions may become increasingly pressing as smart contracts that potentially violate the CEA proliferate, possibly exposing a broad range of parties involved in a distributed ledger network to liability. To the extent that Commissioner Quintenz’s recent remarks are indicative, the CFTC ultimately may adopt a foreseeability standard in determining liability.</jats:p>
</jats:sec>
<jats:sec>
<jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Practical implications</jats:title>
<jats:p>Applications of distributed ledger technology (DLT) are ever-expanding, continually posing novel CFTC regulatory issues. This is especially the case with respect to smart contracts that may be subject to CFTC jurisdiction. Parties involved in such applications should be mindful of potential liability.</jats:p>
</jats:sec>
<jats:sec>
<jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Originality/value</jats:title>
<jats:p>Practical guidance from experienced finance and derivatives lawyers with strong CFTC expertise.</jats:p>
</jats:sec>

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Publisher
CrossRef
ISSN
1528-5812
DOI
10.1108/joic-06-2019-0037
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

<jats:sec> <jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Purpose</jats:title> <jats:p>The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), to date, has not directly addressed how liability for Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) violations involving blockchain or distributed ledger technology should be allocated among the various parties involved in the distributed ledger network, such as the network itself, persons running consensus nodes, developers building applications on the platform, and businesses and end users using such applications. This article discusses recent statements by CFTC Commissioner Brian Quintenz regarding this issue and the approach that the CFTC may take going forward.</jats:p> </jats:sec> <jats:sec> <jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Design/methodology/approach</jats:title> <jats:p>This article examines the allocation of liability in the context of smart contracts that may violate the CEA. The article discusses how the CFTC, despite its significant focus in recent years on virtual currency and blockchain, has not addressed the issue of liability allocation directly. Recent remarks by Commissioner Quintenz may shed light on the CFTC’s future approach.</jats:p> </jats:sec> <jats:sec> <jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Findings</jats:title> <jats:p>This article finds that liability allocation questions may become increasingly pressing as smart contracts that potentially violate the CEA proliferate, possibly exposing a broad range of parties involved in a distributed ledger network to liability. To the extent that Commissioner Quintenz’s recent remarks are indicative, the CFTC ultimately may adopt a foreseeability standard in determining liability.</jats:p> </jats:sec> <jats:sec> <jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Practical implications</jats:title> <jats:p>Applications of distributed ledger technology (DLT) are ever-expanding, continually posing novel CFTC regulatory issues. This is especially the case with respect to smart contracts that may be subject to CFTC jurisdiction. Parties involved in such applications should be mindful of potential liability.</jats:p> </jats:sec> <jats:sec> <jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Originality/value</jats:title> <jats:p>Practical guidance from experienced finance and derivatives lawyers with strong CFTC expertise.</jats:p> </jats:sec>

Journal

Journal of Investment ComplianceCrossRef

Published: Oct 14, 2019

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