England's Law Commission Seeks Views on Draft Legislation to Label Crypto as Property

The Law Commission also called for evidence on its project on digital assets and electronic trade documents in private international law.

AccessTimeIconFeb 22, 2024 at 11:24 a.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2024 at 9:58 p.m. UTC
  • The Law Commission is seeking views on draft legislation to assign property rights to crypto and called for evidence for its project on digital assets and electronic trade documents.
  • The responses will determine the shape of legislation to be proposed to the government.

The Law Commission, which reviews and recommends changes to laws in England and Wales, published a consultation on draft legislation to label crypto as property.

The independent statutory body's report on digital assets last year showed that crypto tokens and non-fungible tokens were able to attract property rights. Responses are required by March 22.

"Personal property rights are important for many reasons, including in the event of insolvency or where assets are interfered with or unlawfully taken," the commission said on Thursday. "However, because digital assets differ significantly from physical assets, and from rights-based assets like debts and financial securities, they do not fit within traditional categories of personal property."

The Law Commission also called for evidence for its project on digital assets and electronic trade documents in private international law. The deadline for comments is May 16.

The responses will determine what happens next. For the crypto as property bill that will be a final version to be proposed to the government. The international documentation consultation will inform the next phase of the project, which is likely to include proposals for law reform, the commission said.

"Digitization and decentralization pose significant challenges to the traditional methods by which private international law resolves conflicts of jurisdiction and conflicts of laws," Sarah Green, the commissioner for commercial and common law, said in a statement.

The body is looking to hear about the extent to which existing methods of private international law work with digital assets or electronic trade documents. It also wants to know about the challenges people have encountered in dealing with digital assets or electronic trade documents in both commercial and legal practice. The Electronic Trade Document Act that allows the U.K. to digitize trade documents became law last year.

UPDATE (Feb. 22, 11:30 UTC): Swaps word order in headline.

UPDATE (Feb. 22, 12:25 UTC): Adds next steps in fifth paragraph, quote in sixth, types of information sought in last paragraph.

Edited by Sheldon Reback.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Camomile Shumba

Camomile Shumba is a CoinDesk regulatory reporter based in the UK. She previously worked as an intern for Business Insider and Bloomberg News. She does not currently hold value in any digital currencies or projects.