UK Publishes Statement on Legal Status of Cryptocurrencies, Smart Contracts

Asia Blockchain Review
November 27, 2019

A UK government unit recently issued a public statement on the status of cryptocurrencies under local law in an effort to help clarify the legal issues surrounding cryptocurrency.

The statement, published on November 18 by the United Kingdom Jurisdiction Taskforce of the Lawtech Delivery Panel, aims to define the legal status of cryptocurrencies, distributed ledger technology (DLT) and smart contracts. Crypto assets are recognized as tradeable property and smart contracts as enforceable agreement under English and Welsh private law.

Keeping Pace with New Technologies

Revising regulations on new technologies such as DLT, blockchain, and smart contracts is deemed necessary, following projections of growth in the worldwide smart contract market and blockchain. Lawtech Delivery Panel director Jenifer Swallow stated:

“It is great to see the adaptability of our common law system to fast-changing technology, demonstrated in this landmark legal statement from the UKJT. Tech Nation is excited to work with the Lawtech Delivery Panel on leading initiatives such as this, to support business growth, clarity in law and the evolution of new tech.”

Regulatory Clarity on Blockchain

Geoffrey Vos, chancellor to the High Court and chair of the U.K. Jurisdiction Taskforce, notes that the statement addresses legal uncertainty which is considered as one of the biggest obstacles to crypto asset and smart contract adoption. He stated:

“I hope that the Legal Statement will go a long way towards providing much needed market confidence, legal certainty and predictability in areas that are of great importance to the technological and legal communities and to the global financial services industry.”

The statement is expected to particularly benefit blockchain startups in the UK and provides a basis for the mainstream adoption of the new technologies in the country.


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