The legality of buying these risky products depends on the jurisdiction of the buyer and seller.
Crypto assets are unlicensed security contracts for unregulated speculative investments. Crypto assets are effectively like buying unregulated penny stocks, except with no recourse to the courts in the case of the project being a Ponzi scheme or exit scam.
In the United States the sale of unregistered securities to the public is illegal. The legality of the purchase of of unregistered securities will depend on the facts and circumstances of the sale, but regardless of legality these type of extra-legal transactions expose the buyer to unnecessary risk compared to buying normal financial assets within the regulatory perimeter. Buying crypto assets is thus legally inadvisable from both a risk and compliance perspective.
- Bindseil, Ulrich, Patrick Papsdorf, and Jürgen Schaaf. 2022. ‘The Encrypted Threat: Bitcoin’s Social Cost and Regulatory Responses’. 7 January 2022. https://www.suerf.org/docx/f_88b3febc5798a734026c82c1012408f5_38771_suerf.pdf.
- ‘Guidance on Cryptoassets’. 2019. Financial Conduct Authority. https://www.fca.org.uk/publication/consultation/cp19-03.pdf#page=11.
- Diehl, Stephen. 2021a. ‘The Political Case for a Blanket Cryptocurrency Ban’. 30 March 2021. https://www.stephendiehl.com/blog/banbitcoin.html.
- Hacker, Philipp, and Chris Thomale. 2018. ‘Crypto-Securities Regulation: ICOs, Token Sales and Cryptocurrencies under EU Financial Law’. European Company and Financial Law Review 15 (4): 645–96.
- Huang, Sherena Sheng. 2021. ‘Crypto Assets Regulation in the UK: An Assessment of the Regulatory Effectiveness and Consistency’. Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance.
- Rae, Shaela W, and Lorraine Mastersmith. 2019. ‘Crypto Asset Trading in Canada: Entering a New Era of Regulation’. Banking & Finance Law Review 35 (1): 153–85.
- Shri T Rabi Sankar. n.d. ‘Cryptocurrencies – An Assessment’. Reserve Bank of India. Accessed 2 March 2022. https://rbi.org.in/Scripts/BS_SpeechesView.aspx?Id=1196.
- Zwitter, Andrej, and Jilles Hazenberg. 2020. ‘Decentralized Network Governance: Blockchain Technology and the Future of Regulation’. Frontiers in Blockchain 3. https://www.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fbloc.2020.00012.