Funded PhD Opportunity Cryptocurrency Fraud & Regulation

This opportunity is now closed.

This project is funded by: CME Group Foundation

Subject: Business and Management Studies


With the rise of the Internet and new Internet-based technologies, alternative forms of business financing have gained rapid popularity among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups especially. In recent years, many different models have been introduced to meet the increasing demand for alternative business financing sources. Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) have been one of the most successful concepts. Recent cases of fraud and other irregularities in the ICO market, however, have proven that new Internet-based technologies do not only provide for vast opportunities, but also involve a wide range of risks and dangers for the investors and other involved stakeholders. Virtual currencies and ICOs have generated extensive and mostly negative media coverage. The regulation of ICOs is currently a patchwork.

Within the EU, there is no fully harmonized securities regulation, so there is room for diverging approaches. It will be important to monitor the diverging regulatory approaches in the relevant jurisdictions, and it will be interesting to see whether some jurisdictions will develop as “safer” harbours for these types of transactions.

Research Proposal

(1) To comprehensively assess the importance of ICOs within the European alternative business financing market.

(2)To examine the incidence of fraud and fake news in promoting investment in the cryptocurrency markets

(3)To assess the regulatory challenges for the legal framework surrounding cryptocurrencies.

(4)To monitor and assess ongoing developments in the regulation of cryptocurrencies.

(5)To perform a comparative analysis of the approaches currently being taken by the European and US regulatory bodies in relation to cryptocurrencies.

Essential Criteria

  • Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC)
  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
  • Sound understanding of subject area as evidenced by a comprehensive research proposal
  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement


This project is funded by: CME Group Foundation

The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the home rate and a maintenance allowance of £14,777 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fees component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK.

Other information

The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Launch of the Doctoral College

Current PhD researchers and an alumnus shared their experiences, career development and the social impact of their work at the launch of the Doctoral College at Ulster University.

Watch Video

Key Dates

Submission Deadline
Friday 30 November 2018
Interview Date
week commencing 10 December 2018

Contact Supervisor

Mr Michael Pogue

Other Supervisors

Apply online

Visit and quote reference number #326222 when applying for this PhD opportunity