Regulatory Ambiguity in the Market for Bitcoin

28 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2019 Last revised: 9 Aug 2019

See all articles by William J. Luther

William J. Luther

Florida Atlantic University; American Institute for Economic Research

Date Written: March 14, 2019


The standard economic approach to considering the effects of a policy tends to neglect the prospect of regulatory ambiguity. I describe four sources of regulatory ambiguity and survey the literature considering the effects of ambiguity on entrepreneurial activity. I also explain how jurisdictional redundancy, where multiple agencies regulate the same action or industry, increases the likelihood of regulatory ambiguity. I offer a brief description of the regulatory environment of bitcoin in the United States in order to provide specific examples of the sources of regulatory ambiguity identified herein.

Keywords: ambiguity, bitcoin, cryptocurrency, regulation, political economy

JEL Classification: E40, E42, E58, G2, H1, K2, K4

Suggested Citation

Luther, William J., Regulatory Ambiguity in the Market for Bitcoin (March 14, 2019). AIER Sound Money Project Working Paper No. 2019-10, Available at SSRN: or

William J. Luther (Contact Author)

Florida Atlantic University ( email )

777 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL 33431
United States


American Institute for Economic Research ( email )

PO Box 1000
Great Barrington, MA 01230
United States


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