Cookies on Pinsent Masons website

This website uses cookies to allow us to see how the site is used. The cookies cannot identify you. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with this

If you want to use the sites without cookies or would like to know more, you can do that here.

Bitcoin, blockchain and initial coin offerings: A global review of innovation and regulation

The value of bitcoin has risen 1000% since December 2016 and the world’s largest financial institutions are spending hundreds of millions of pounds on innovative use cases for blockchain technology. Meanwhile initial coin offerings (ICOs) provide a platform for businesses issuing digital tokens to raise funds in record time. 

How do different jurisdictions define these revolutionary technologies? Are they speculative or here to stay?

Our new report provides a global assessment of the latest activity around Bitcoin, incorporating a useful guide to countries and territories that:

  • have acted or are acting to regulate bitcoin
  • have banned bitcoin
  • have stopped short of regulating bitcoin, but have imposed taxes
  • are undecided in respect of digital currencies
  • do not regulate bitcoin

Each section also dives into international developments concerning blockchain and ICOs, which have taken the world by storm over the last 12 months.

Charlie Clarence-Smith, who produced the report, said: "Like other innovative ideas, even if they lose relevance, cryptocurrencies and ICOs have made an indisputable statement: there are achievable substitutes to institutionally backed digital transactions and alternative ways to raise funds. Their broader acceptance and legitimacy, however, will depend on what form of relationship they forge with such institutions and more importantly financial regulators, going forward."

Read further commentary on

We hope our findings help to instigate not only industry debate, but also further development from a regulatory point of view. 

To learn more, download the full report (PDF)

Key Contacts