Public Statement Aims to Define Legal Status of Crypto Assets in the UK
December 2, 2019
On November 18, U.K. entrepreneur network Tech Nation published a document addressing the legal uncertainties of cryptocurrency.
The United Kingdom Jurisdiction Taskforce of the Lawtech Delivery Panel – a team of industry experts and insiders from the government and judiciary space which aims to help the growth of the U.K.’s judiciary system – created this statement to clarify the status of cryptocurrencies, distributed ledger technology (DLT), and smart contracts under English and Welsh private law.
They recognized crypto assets as tradeable property and smart contracts that are contractual under the local law.
The Importance of Regulating Blockchain
By 2023, the worldwide smart contract market is expected to reach $300 million, according to Lawtech Delivery Panel director Jenifer Swallow; meanwhile, World Economic Forum anticipates one-tenth of the global GDP to be stored on blockchain by 2027.
Swallow says that these predictions make adapting regulations on new technology like blockchain absolutely necessary and expedient.
“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,” says Swallow.
One of the biggest hang-ups with cryptocurrency and smart contract adoption is the legal uncertainty surrounding them, so Tech Nation hopes to qualm the questions and insecurity with the legal statement.
Chancellor to the High Court and chair of the U.K. Jurisdiction Taskforce Geoffrey Vos also sees the possibilities within reach through crypto assets and smart contracts, saying:
“In legal terms, crypto-assets and smart contracts undoubtedly represent the future. 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.”
This statement is meant to serve as a foundation for how crypto assets and smart contracts are to be adopted in the United Kingdom going forward, supplying an advantage to blockchain startups.