This podcast is about conflict of laws issues relating to cryptoassets. For many working in the cryptoasset industry, code is, or at least ideally should be, law. Lawyers usually find it quite easy to disagree with that. However, they often have a tougher time agreeing what system of law should then apply to ‘on chain’ disputes. This may be a question of considerable practical significance. For instance, the Financial Markets Law Committee noted in a 2018 paper that “As the law relating to DLT lags behind the trajectory of the technology, an international conflict of laws framework for financial transactions and systems using DLT needs to be developed as a matter of priority.” However, in the continued absence of any such framework (and there may be fiscal and reputational reasons for scepticism about a critical mass of governments giving a helping hand to this asset class) how do you determine what law applies to disputes about pseudonymously-held assets existing on decentralised public blockchains on which transactions are effected by consensus rather than contract?
This is not currently an easy question for English lawyers to answer from a technical perspective, and one that is further complicated by the current lack of on-point precedent. However, for those increasing numbers of practitioners involved with cryptoasset disputes, it also may be a thorny issue that there is no getting away from. For those with such potential headaches on the horizon, this podcast, presented by Chloe Bell and Joshua Cainer of Outer Temple Chambers, may be able to help by outlining and proposing workarounds for many of the tricky conflict of laws questions that cryptoasset poses. Chloe is a commercial barrister, a former référendaire at the CJEU and judicial assistant to Lord Mance. Joshua is a former judicial assistant to Sir Terence Etherton and taught law at the University of Cambridge. Between them they have written and lectured widely on topics relating to cryptoassets, which is a field in which Outer Temple Chambers is fast developing a stellar reputation.
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