Arkansas Law Review

Arkansas Law Review

Volume 76, Number 2 (2023)

Article

Keynote Address by CFTC Commissioner Kristin Johnson

Kristin M. Johnson

Today, our markets are witnessing a transformative moment marked by exceptional, rapidly evolving innovation. To better understand this transformation, we might inquire about the nature of these novel financial instruments, intermediaries, and the underlying technologies that fuel an ever-expanding adoption. Thinking critically about these issues may inform our understanding of the intermediaries or lack thereof, and financial products that characterize this moment in the history and evolution of financial markets.

Article

Just Because They Say It: Does the U.S. Really Have the “First-Ever Comprehensive Framework” For Digital Assets?

Carol R. Goforth `

On March 9, 2022, President Biden made history by signing an Executive Order on Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets. On September 16, 2022, the White House released a fact sheet proclaiming that it had produced the “First Ever Comprehensive Framework for Responsible Development of Digital Assets,” based on nine reports stemming from the Executive Order. This Article is divided into two main parts. Part one reviews the reports received by the White House, explaining what they address while pointing out open issues for which no particular direction is established. Part two assesses regulatory gaps in the crypto space in order to make the case that we are far from a comprehensive approach to crypto (or digital assets, as they are sometimes called).

Article

The Aim to Decentralize Economic Systems With Blockchains and Crypto

Mary Lacity

As an information systems (“IS”) professor, I wrote this Article for legal professionals new to blockchains and crypto. This target audience likely is most interested in crypto for its legal implications—depending on whether it functions as currencies, securities, commodities, or properties; however, legal professionals also need to understand crypto’s origin, how transactions work, and how they are governed.

Article

Wanted: A Prudential Framework for Crypto Assets

Sangita Gazir

This Article summarizes the limited publicly available data on banks’ exposure to crypto assets and offers several specific examples of how U.S. banks engage in crypto-related businesses. It then examines past guidance issued by U.S. bank regulators and explains why this guidance lacks sufficient detail to clarify the prudential requirements associated with the various crypto-related activities in which banks are engaged. The Article then assesses the adequacy of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision’s final prudential standard for crypto-asset exposures, issued in December 2022, and finds that the measure fails to adequately address the unique risks various crypto-asset activities pose to banks. We conclude by offering recommendations U.S. bank regulators can quickly implement to dimension the scale of banks’ crypto-asset exposure and mitigate the associated risks.

Comment

“Help is Here”: How a DACA Pathway to Citizenship Will Help Save the Social Security Fund

Jissel Esparza

Two federal programs hold their beneficiaries in limbo: DACA and Social Security. This Comment demonstrates that creating a citizenship pathway for the DACA population will not only give these deserving individuals the ability and security to remain in the United States but will also provide relief to Social Security’s impending insolvency through the influx of taxes that these then citizens will contribute as a result of increased opportunities. At the same time, this Comment does not attempt to portray its argument as a “silver bullet.” Rather, this approach is one tool that can be utilized by legislative efforts to remedy these two pressing issues. Part II of this Comment outlines the historical roots of the Social Security fund and its hastened impending insolvency. Part III provides background on the formation of the DACA program and explores the program’s economic constraints. Using both the 2021 and 2022 Social Security Trustee Reports, Part IV demonstrates how providing a path to citizenship—thereby eliminating educational and professional restrictions—would boost the Social Security fund.