Current Legal Issues in Crowdfunding


  • Thomas Neumann



Receiving contributions from a large number of people is by no means a new method of financing an activity. Popular examples go back to Pullitzer’s campaign to finance the statue of liberty’s pedestal in 1885 and Alexander Pope’s translation of Homer’s Illiad in 1713. With the emergence of the internet and its widespread integration in households it has become possible for fundraisers to reach many more investors. One of the first to harness the power of crowdfunding over the internet was the British rock band Marillion who, in 1996, raised USD 60,000 to finance their tour of the United States using crowdfunding in 1996. Since then, a lot has happened in terms of the number of crowdfunding products, platforms and the amount of money raised. The number of investors engaged in crowdfunding increases, and so too does the number of legislative initiatives and amount of research attention devoted to it.

On 13 April 2021 we established the CLEAR research group at Aalborg University. The group has as its declared mission to undertake the study of legal phenomena in crowdfunding and to communicate relevant, research-based knowledge to actors in the field - investors, entrepreneurs, representatives from crowdfunding platforms, and public authorities.

Collaboration is in the CLEAR group’s DNA. Hence, we asked a number of crowdfunding scholars and practitioners from around the world to provide us with their views on current legal issues pertaining to crowdfunding. We have held talks with numerous crowdfunding enthusiasts and practitioners and in the end, twelve authors decided to join us in our efforts to increase focus on legal research in crowdfunding through the publication of this special issue of Nordic Journal of Commercial Law.

Knowing that the legal aspects of crowdfunding are many, and that crowdfunding and law as a research area is in its infancy, we thought it important to give each author free hands in choosing their topic and perspective in their article. Hence, you will find articles addressing a wide range of issues in crowdfunding in this special issue. I thank all authors for their thought-provoking contributions.

I would also like to mention PhD fellow Cecilie Højvang Christensen, research assistant Stefano Cattelan, student assistant Signe Lyngholm Lindbjerg, and student assistant Anna Risgaard Lindbjerg, and to thank them for their contribution in establishing the CLEAR research group at Aalborg University and their assistance in preparing this special issue of the Nordic Journal of Commercial Law.


Thomas Neumann

Chair of the CLEAR research group on crowdfunding