The Law Commission of England and Wales, through a government-commissioned project, is set to examine private international legal challenges involving cryptocurrencies. It’s looking for clarity on how international law handles emerging technologies like cryptocurrencies, digital assets, and electronic documentation.
The law reform project – Digital Assets: Which Law, Which Court? – will highlight current international legal rules and their application to digital contexts with the purview of making recommendations for legal reform to keep the U.K. laws relevant. The project will develop reform proposals which will be published for public consultation by the second half of 2023. The U.K government has acknowledged the proliferation of blockchain technology and the number of conflict of law issues it has generated creating legal uncertainty for users, organizations, and governments alike.
One of the major challenges is considering which courts have the power or jurisdiction to hear disputes and which laws should be applied. Moreover, the digital nature of cryptocurrencies and digital assets such as NFTs which are intangible in nature, distributed, and geographically difficult to define, further exacerbates legal considerations. Professor Sarah Green, Law Commissioner for Commercial and Common Law, said the laws that support and govern digital assets and other emerging technologies have struggled to keep pace. She highlighted that this has led to inconsistencies across jurisdictions, with uncertainty over which laws should be applied, and which courts should rule on them.
The United Kingdom is working towards establishing itself as the hub for cryptocurrency adoption. As such, the country’s Law Commission has been involved in law reform projects looking into smart contracts, digital assets, and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO), etc.