Legal and Regulatory Considerations for Digital Assets

CCAF Publications, 2020

50 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2020

See all articles by Jason G Allen

Jason G Allen

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin Großbritannien-Zentrum; CCAF; University of Tasmania School of Law

Michel Rauchs

University of Cambridge - Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Apolline Blandin

University of Cambridge - Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Keith Bear

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School

Date Written: October 15, 2020

Abstract

The report examines legal and regulatory challenges arising from the emergence of digital assets. The aim is to frame future legal and regulatory discussions around digital assets, as well as to identify general trends and concepts across jurisdictions rather than to provide granular analysis of any given jurisdiction’s legal position.

Key highlights:

- Existing taxonomies of digital assets developed by national and international authorities have failed to fully capture the relevant features of digital assets and the true novelty introduced by crypto assets. Regulatory authorities should focus on the substance of the underlying asset and the rights associated with it, rather than its form, unless the form changes the substantive nature of the asset.

- Digital assets, for the most part, pertain to existing and well-known legal concepts: they effectively represent a set of rights embodied in a new digital form. Consequently, the regulatory perimeter for regulating digital assets and associated activities should be determined by identifying the legal concept(s) behind a given digital asset.

- However, digital assets may warrant adjustment or revisions to existing legislation, in particular whether digital assets are fitting objects of property rights. Generally, further clarification may be needed from national legislatures on the legal recognition of purely digital objects to understand whether (and how) dealing with a digital token has legal consequences for real world rights. In particular whether intangible, digital representation can be recognized as an object of property rights.

Keywords: Digital Assets, Crypt Assets, Blockchain, DLT

Suggested Citation

Allen, Jason G and Rauchs, Michel and Blandin, Apolline and Bear, Keith, Legal and Regulatory Considerations for Digital Assets (October 15, 2020). CCAF Publications, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3712888

Jason G Allen

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin Großbritannien-Zentrum ( email )

Mohrenstr. 60
Berlin, Berlin 10117
Germany

CCAF ( email )

10 Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB21QA
United Kingdom

University of Tasmania School of Law ( email )

Private Bag 89
Hobart
Tasmania, 7001
Australia

Michel Rauchs (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance ( email )

10 Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB21QA
United Kingdom

Apolline Blandin

University of Cambridge - Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance ( email )

10 Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB21QA
United Kingdom

Keith Bear

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School ( email )

Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1AG
United Kingdom

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