The Legal Framework of the Cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)

81 Pages Posted: 15 May 2019

See all articles by Bedrettin Gürcan

Bedrettin Gürcan

University of Szeged Faculty of Law and Political Sciences

Date Written: 2018


Blockchain technology also is one of the most exciting technologic developments in this decade beyond any doubt. In 2009, the first decentralized digital currency also referred to as a cryptocurrency, Bitcoin launched. It was not demanding in the beginnings. However, today, there are many discussions about possibilities of replacing fiat currencies with cryptocurrencies and there is already a $ billion market size.

This paper studies how cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offering (ICO) work and discuss potential qualifications of these new terms to help regulatory bodies understand and take steps with enough knowledge.

To this end, the research question is as follows: What is the cryptocurrency exactly? What are their technologic differences and features? and how exactly can qualify cryptocurrencies as money, security or anything else and examines its legality for many aspects? And legal aspects of the initial coin offering fundraising method. In this context, this study shows an objective overview of potential answers to these questions.

The research question is answered through a comparative approach that shows world legal trend on this technology. Analyses of most popular cryptocurrencies technical description reports, official public statements belong to several countries’ institutions, legal codes of these countries will be used to evaluate countries’ aspects to cryptocurrencies and ICOs and future possible perspectives.

On this basis, it is recommended that it is still early to regulate and qualify cryptocurrencies. However, it is possible to make some clear descriptions by early adaptors of this technology. Further research could be undertaken to identify other legal possibilities it would be helpful for such regulatory bodies to bear in mind when regulating cryptocurrencies and ICOs.

Keywords: blockchain, law, ICO, cryptocurrency, initial coin offering, bitcoin

JEL Classification: K29, K39

Suggested Citation

Gürcan, Bedrettin, The Legal Framework of the Cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) (2018). Available at SSRN: or

Bedrettin Gürcan (Contact Author)

University of Szeged Faculty of Law and Political Sciences ( email )


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