Fox Williams’ technology experts respond to consultation on cryptoassets, distributed ledger technology and smart contracts

July 12, 2019

Fox Williams has provided a comprehensive response to The LawTech Delivery Panel’s recent consultation on cryptoassets, distributed ledger technology (“DLT”) and smart contracts (the “Technology”).

The LawTech Delivery Panel was established in 2018 by the UK Government, the Judiciary, and the Law Society of England and Wales. It aimed to identify the key legal questions that needed to be answered to address perceived legal uncertainty around the Technology, which is in part holding back mainstream adoption. The consultation was an initiative of the Panel’s UK Jurisdiction Taskforce (“UKJT”), chaired by the Chancellor of the High Court, Sir Geoffrey Vos.

In late summer 2019, a legal statement will be published which answers these questions.

Fox Williams’ response – led by Head of Fintech Jonathan Segal, litigation partner Andrew Hill and FinTech associate Marc Piano – proposed additional questions to be considered, widening the scope of the statement.

As noted by the firm in its response: “we anticipate the technology and processes that are the subject of this consultation being widely adopted within the next five to ten years, working alongside, and in some cases replacing, existing systems and methods for transacting.

Whilst the technology is currently at an early stage, it offers infrastructure for transactions to occur faster, cheaper and with greater certainty and audit history than was previously possible. These factors are likely to drive high demand and rapid adoption of the technology for competitive advantage.

Jonathan Segal commented: “Fox Williams is already very active in this exciting, innovative and fast-developing space. We regularly advise clients who are using or are looking to use the Technology as part of their business operations, innovatively raise capital, or offer services to allow others to use the Technology. We often assist clients and other law firms with complicated or uncertain legal issues covering different areas of law as it applies to the Technology.

Andrew Hill commented: “The Technology not only raises interesting possibilities around new forms of self-contained dispute resolution processes and the power to enforce orders or judgments from existing dispute resolution forums, but could also yield potentially significant cost and time savings for all parties involved, including courts and tribunals”.

We look forward to the legal statement and potential legislative changes to help make English law the governing law of choice worldwide for Technology which may profoundly affect many areas of business and society. It will serve as an important guide for participants, lawyers and judges alike.

You can read Fox Williams’ response to the UKJT consultation here.


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Jonathan Segal
Partner
Direct dial: +44 (0)20 7614 2591
jsegal@foxwilliams.com

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Andrew Hill
Partner
Direct dial: +44 (0)20 7614 2551
ahill@foxwilliams.com

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Marc Piano
Associate
Direct dial: +44 (0)20 7614 2609
mpiano@foxwilliams.com

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