In this Note, I will argue that Bitcoin should be categorized and regulated as a commodity. This treatment would be consistent with the economic behavior of Bitcoin’s users and would provide a clearer regulatory path for Bitcoin’s future. Additionally, categorizing Bitcoin as a commodity would provide increased clarity to existing regulatory efforts. Part I of this Note will briefly discuss the basic technological underpinnings of the Bitcoin system. Part II will quickly survey the current regulatory landscape around Bitcoin. Part III will examine Bitcoin’s identity crisis and explain why Bitcoin should not be categorized as a currency or a security—the two other categories vying for Bitcoin’s inclusion. Part IV will explain why Bitcoin is a commodity, and Part V will examine the legal advantages of treating Bitcoin as a commodity. Finally, Part VI will examine how treating Bitcoin as a commodity can provide needed consumer protection regulation in the Bitcoin economy.
Digital Metal: Regulating Bitcoin as a Commodity, 66 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 609 (2015)
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.case.edu/caselrev/vol66/iss2/9