Status Artis: Research in the Law and Practice of Crowdfunding


  • Stefano Cattelan
  • Thomas Neumann



The present article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the state of the art of legal science on crowdfunding and to lay the foundation for the understanding of some of its key concepts, facilitating the development of future legal research. This paper demonstrates that legal scholarship seems to not take full comparative advantage of the fact that many concerns are common across jurisdictions, such as encouraging SME development through access to risk capital or ensuring the protection of the unsophisticated investor. It also shows that scholarship and legislative efforts, predominantly in the US and the EU, are most often focused on investment crowdfunding and that these efforts usually attempt to define the obligations of the crowdfunding service provider, striking a balance between stimulating access to risk capital for start-ups and scaling up the crowdfunding business while, at the same time, protecting investors - in particular the unsophisticated ones. Even though it is challenging to legally define specific crowdfunding services, the commonly used typology of crowdfunding is found to be meaningful in a legal context, as it denotes the applicable legal framework. Considering that there is a correlation between the clarity of regulation in a country and the volume of crowdfunding, and given that crowdfunding is growing as both a method of finance and as a business, the time is ripe for legal scholars to direct their attention to the field. In doing so, they assist the actors in the market, the legislators, and the judiciary.