New York state hasn’t been crypto’s biggest fan for some time, and a new paper reveals that it was the king of crypto litigators in 2019. In their Blockchain Litigation Year in Review Report, financial services law firm Murphy & McGonigle reveal that New York saw the most legal action in the crypto industry in 2019, largely thanks to the efforts of The Southern District of New York (SDNY) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
SDNY Keeping Busy
New York is of course home to the famous New York BitLicense, introduced in 2014 to widespread derision by those in the industry, and as the report shows, authorities in the state haven’t exactly been going easy on crypto entities since then – the SDNY heard over twice as many blockchain cases as any other venue in the United States last year. According to Daniel Payne, one of Murphy & McGonigle’s FinTech & Blockchain Practice members and architect of their Blockchain Litigation Database, this should come as no surprise:
It is not entirely unexpected that a new industry that is both global and decentralized would see litigation emerging in New York. Given cryptocurrency’s growing role in capital raising, the incidence of litigation in New York reflects the city’s status as the hub of financial services.
SEC’s Hardball ICO Tactics Help Cement Top Spot
The report also showed that the SEC remained extremely active in regulating the space in 2019, chiefly by prosecuting illegal ICOs, although with cases filed in the past few years now moving through system, Payne warns that “courts may begin issuing conflicting rulings on significant legal issues.”
The report advises those working within the blockchain sphere to be “aware of developing legal trends as they happen”, as a single court ruling could have a profound impact on the way they do business and who they do it with.