Hastings Business Law Journal


This essay emerges from a joint symposium of the Hastings Business Law Journal and the Hastings Science and Technology Law Journal entitled “Regulating the Disruption Economy: Tech Startups as Regulatory Reformers.” The symposium featured panels on virtual currency, crowdfunding, and the sharing economy.

Drawing from the symposium, this essay considers why startups are increasingly taking up the mantle of regulatory reform, how they are achieving their successes, and whether this is a positive development for our political economy. It tentatively proposes that: (1) features of the current venture capitalist market and startup ecosystem, rather than the pace of technological advancement, might explain the timing, (2) a “bootleggers and Baptists” dynamic of popular messaging and well-resourced interest groups explains the successes, and (3) we should be cautiously optimistic about this “institutionalized disruption” of incumbents.