The Legal Relationship between Cryptoasset Investors and Intermediaries

This podcast is about the topical question of the legal basis on which cryptoassets are held on behalf of investors by intermediaries, such as exchanges, and is presented by Andrew Spink QC of Outer Temple Chambers and Hin Liu of Oxford University.

It seems like everyone is a cryptoasset investor these days. The surging value of Bitcoin, increased legitimacy leant to the sector by the recommendations from established institutions, and the long hours the world has spent in front of its laptop without alternative distraction has created a booming market for digital assets, which has expanded beyond cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and led to mainstream adoption of formally niche products like NFTs. In short, all the signs are that, as and when dinner parties start becoming a thing again, there’s a fairly good chance that you can expect to have your ear bent about how digital assets are the road to riches and, what’s more, it might just be an investment professional doing the preaching.

However, it’s perhaps less likely (unless of course you are extraordinarily lucky in the dinner parties you get invited to) that discussion will move from talk of enticing returns to the somewhat less enticing legal basis on which cryptoassets are held by intermediaries for investors and, as a result, the nature of the recourse that investors may have vis-a-vis the intermediary if problems arise. This is an important question, because the majority of cryptoassets are currently held via intermediaries such as exchanges, which offer investors commercial convenience while also exposing them to risks, such as hacker theft. It is also a difficult question, with this being an area of the law that is in development and full of puzzling complexities. We are therefore very fortunate to welcome two such distinguished practitioners as Andrew Spink QC of Outer Temple Chambers and Hin Lui of Oxford University to explain the key issues.

Andrew is one of the country’s preeminent silks, a Deputy High Court judge and the co-head of Outer Temple Chambers, who are increasingly a leader in this space. Hin is a lecturer at Oxford University, the author of academic publications on the topic of this podcast, and legal consultant to Fusang, Asia’s first fully licensed digital stock exchange.


You can listen to this new episode on the track player below, or listen to all episodes on our Podcasts page, as well as on Spotify and iTunes.

We very much hope you enjoy this week’s podcast and thank you for your continued support of the TDN.

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