In October 2021, the cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase released a proposal for a regulatory framework that would designate a single regulator for the digital asset markets. This proposal comes less than a month after Coinbase’s CEO had a public meltdown on Twitter after the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) sent the firm a Wells Notice, a warning of potential litigation, about their planned cryptocurrency lending platform allegedly violating securities regulations. As the digital asset market grows and the financial institutions involved become more influential, regulators continue to struggle with jurisdictional and definitional questions around the new products.
Antitrust laws regulate the concentration of economic power, the core of which was passed under the Sherman Act in 1890 and remain central to antitrust today. However, the laws are not applied today the way they were in their heyday of antitrust regulation – in the 1970s and 1980s, the Chicago School of Economics took hold over the courts’ antitrust jurisprudence, and since then the courts have been far more amiable to market concentration. The Chicago School’s economic analysis of law argued that big firms were not a threat to growth and prosperity and have successfully argued for a hands-off approach to monopolies and mergers outside of a narrow focus on consumer welfare.
In the last days of the Trump administration, the Trump Department of Labor (“DOL”) finalized a rule that made it more difficult for socially conscious investments to be included in retirement plans. The Trump-era rule discouraged employer 401(k) and other retirement plans from offering funds from managers that consider Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) factors over investment returns or risk in their due diligence. Despite this, ESG funds continue to gain in popularity, and the new Biden administration has stated that it will not enforce the Trump-era rule as it considers reversing it.
GameStop started 2021 with a stock price below $20 but saw its stock price skyrocket to well above $300 a share towards the end of January. The rally would be hard to explain by solely relying on the company’s financial reports or underlying fundamentals. Instead, the rally has to be explained through a combination of external factors involving a popular fintech company’s app, manic speculation by retail investors, and Reddit. Although at first glance this may seem like a new phenomenon, the same factors have been at play for years with a huge interest in Tesla and Bitcoin – and they pose a risk to the markets that regulators and Wall Street together can’t ignore.
The use of fracking has made the United States the global leader in natural gas and crude oil production. However, the practice is not without controversy. Activist groups have called for a ban against fracking as scientists have warned of potential health and environmental impacts, while energy lobbyists have fought bitterly against any restrictions or regulations. As it stands, U.S. regulating of fracking has been mostly left ineffectively to the states, with exemptions to federal regulations on the books. As the societal costs of fracking become better understood, regulators and policy makers must make difficult decisions regarding the practice.
Patrick Gilsenan Associate Editor Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Weekend JD 2023 Americans looking for relief and regulatory protections in the face of an eviction and foreclosure crisis have been met with a patchwork system of confusing, temporary, and difficult to navigate government programs. The eviction ban established by the CARES Act has expired, …
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has shaken the world economy, not the least of which the financial industry. As the financial industry has adapted to work-from-home life under the coronavirus pandemic, industry regulators such as the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) have been forced to adapt rules to changing circumstances and shift their enforcement priorities to pandemic related fraud.