The United Kingdom Jurisdiction Taskforce of the Lawtech Delivery Panel published a statement concerning the status of cryptocurrencies, distributed ledger technology (DLT) and smart contracts under English and Welsh private law.
U.K. entrepreneur network Tech Nation announced the paper’s publication on Nov. 18. The document attempts to address the legal uncertainties of cryptocurrency and recognizes crypto assets as tradeable property and smart contracts as enforceable agreements under local law.
The importance of regulating blockchain
Lawtech Delivery Panel director Jenifer Swallow noted that the worldwide smart contract market is expected to reach $300 million by 2023 while the World Economic Forum predicts that one-tenth of the global GDP will be stored on a blockchain by 2027. Due to this, she thinks adapting regulations on these new technologies is particularly important, stating:
“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.”
Tech Nation notes that many believe legal uncertainty is the most significant barrier to cryptocurrency and smart contract adoption. The legal statement in question is reportedly a substantial step towards addressing the lack of regulatory clarity. Chancellor to the High Court and chair of the U.K. Jurisdiction Taskforce Geoffrey Vos also recognized the potential of crypto assets and smart contracts, saying:
“In legal terms, cryptoassets 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.”