Blockchains and Bitcoin: Regulatory responses to cryptocurrencies


  • Andres Guadamuz University of Sussex
  • Chris Marsden University of Sussex



bitcoin, blockchain, law, regulation


This paper examines Bitcoin from a legal and regulatory perspective, answering several important questions.

We begin by explaining what Bitcoin is, and why it matters. We describe problems with Bitcoin as a method of implementing a cryptocurrency. This introduction to cryptocurrencies allows us eventually to ask the inevitable question: is it legal? What are the regulatory responses to the currency? Can it be regulated?

We make clear why virtual currencies are of interest, how self-regulation has failed, and what useful lessons can be learned. Finally, we produce useful and semi-permanent findings into the usefulness of virtual currencies in general, blockchains as a means of mining currency, and the profundity of Bitcoin as compared with the development of block chain technologies. We conclude that though Bitcoin may be the equivalent of Second Life a decade later, so blockchains may be the equivalent of Web 2.0 social networks, a truly transformative social technology.

Author Biographies

Andres Guadamuz, University of Sussex

Senior Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law, School of Law, Politics and Sociology

Chris Marsden, University of Sussex

Professor of Media Law, School of Law, Politics and Sociology




How to Cite

Guadamuz, A., & Marsden, C. (2015). Blockchains and Bitcoin: Regulatory responses to cryptocurrencies. First Monday, 20(12).