Antonopoulos Wrong: Of Course Scams Can Be Regulated

“Antonopoulos Wrong” is a “man bites dog” headline, since it happens almost never.

But in this recent Q&A video he completely dismisses any effect of regulatory bodies that try to protect consumers from scams.

His reasoning is something like this. Falling for a scam is like getting addicted to gambling. You can’t do anything about that with regulation because it’s just human nature to get scammed.

Let’s discuss this a bit.

For one, all states have laws and agencies enforcing with the purpose of stopping scammers from ripping off investors. And of course that’s a good thing, as far as they are successful.

While it may be true that a law can’t stop all illegal behavior, it is still a big difference if your ICO scam project is prosecuted with the full force of these regulations or if these agencies don’t bother. Just ask Charlie Shrem if he thinks it doesn’t make a difference to get a jail sentence or to get no jail sentence.

Just because a law doesn’t prevent all scams, it doesn’t follow it prevents none. Just because securities laws may have not been enforced against most recent ICO scams, it doesn’t follow that this fortunate state of affairs for the perpetrators of said scams will stay unchanged. Once people lose major amounts of money (a very likely outcome), the victims will take legal action.

So if someone is scammed by an ICO project that is clearly violating securities regulations, and they go to their lawyer and ask the lawyer if they can sue the perpetrators, will the lawyer tell them that “sorry, your greed is just human nature, securities law is unable to protect you”?

Of course not. The lawyer will start signing up clients for a big class action law suit.

It is correct that always the first and best line of defense is to study the investment in question and refrain from falling for the scam in the first place. But that doesn’t mean there’s no need to protect those who for some reason fail to recognize the red flags with regulation. Said regulation exists everywhere, and it is far from meaningless.

I expect a lot of the people involved in dubious ICO projects to find out exactly how this enforcement works in the next couple of years.