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Law commission considers draft legislation labeling crypto as property

Law commission considers draft legislation labeling crypto as property
The Law Commission, responsible for scrutinizing and suggesting legal reforms in England and Wales, has initiated a significant consultation process regarding classifying cryptocurrencies as property. This move is part of its broader examination of digital assets and electronic trade documents in private international law.



Consultation on draft legislation



In its recent publication, the Law Commission unveiled a consultation on draft legislation to categorize cryptocurrencies as property. This development follows from the Commission’s exploration into the nature of digital assets, particularly crypto and non-fungible tokens, which have demonstrated the capacity to possess property rights.



Highlighting the importance of personal property rights, especially in scenarios such as insolvency or asset infringement, the Commission emphasized the distinctive nature of digital assets compared to traditional forms of property. 



While acknowledging the critical role of personal property rights, the Commission underscored the challenges posed by digital assets, which do not neatly align with conventional classifications.



Implications for the legal framework



Responses to the consultation are solicited until March 22, with stakeholders expected to provide insights into the ramifications of recognizing crypto as property. The outcomes of this consultation will shape the final version of the proposed bill to be presented to the government.



Concurrently, the Law Commission seeks evidence for its project on digital assets and electronic trade documents within private international law. The deadline for submitting comments on this aspect is set for May 16. The insights garnered from this consultation will guide the subsequent phase of the project, likely culminating in proposals for law reform.



Challenges and considerations



Sarah Green, Commissioner for Commercial and Common Law, underscored the transformative impact of digitization and decentralization on traditional private international law methods. The Commission aims to assess the compatibility of existing legal frameworks with digital assets and electronic trade documents while identifying the challenges stakeholders face in both commercial and legal spheres.



The Electronic Trade Document Act, enacted last year, represents a step towards digitizing trade documents in the UK. However, the Law Commission’s endeavors signify a broader commitment to comprehensively address the evolving landscape of digital assets and electronic trade documentation within the legal framework.

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