Law Decoded: Of ICBMs, BTC and ETFs, Feb. 5–12

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Every Friday, Law Decoded delivers analysis on the week’s critical stories in the realms of policy, regulation and law.

Editor’s note

A wise man once said, “there’s security and there’re securities,” and if he didn’t, he should’ve.

In modern English, it seems a quaint coincidence that the word “security” refers to both safety and a broad class of investments. But as pending arguments about, say, meme-propelled trading in securities are set to take place in forums reserved for national security, it’s a good reminder that money precedes weapons as vehicles for national power.

In some sense, it’s obvious that financial security is part of national security. It’s why different nations have different standards of scrutiny over their markets in general and their securities in particular. In some cases, these are just to protect domestic investors from home-grown shysters, but in others, it’s to prevent bad money from getting into or out of the country via opaque trading mechanisms. In still others, it’s simply a means of making companies accountable to regulators.

Fortunately for us, the week has been replete with crossover concerns between securities regulators and national security entities globally. We will, indeed, be taking a journey from Toronto to Pyongyang, via Beijing.