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Cryptoassets and Cryptocurrencies Legal Insights and Market analysis

Read about the growing crypto market in this Chambers Legal Topics article from the Chambers UK Bar team and discover how in our research for the 2022 edition of the guide, this new practice area of law was covered and ranked.

Published on 27 October 2021
Written by Eleanor Burt
Eleanor Burt

A new practice area of law covered in the 2022 edition of the Chambers UK Bar guide

Crypto, cryptocurrency, cryptoassets, Bitcoin – all words we’re now accustomed to reading and hearing in the mainstream news. The 2022 Chambers UK Bar guide features a brand new Cryptocurrency ranking table showcasing 11 barristers with expertise in the legal aspects of the crypto market, which continues to evolve and grow at a rapid speed.

Analysing the crypto market

During our research interviews which sees our dedicated research team conduct thousands of telephone calls and hours of market research and discovery, we heard encouraging noises from commentators that the ever-growing world of cryptoassets is becoming a source of interesting and complex instructions across the legal market.

While some professionals expressed doubt as to whether there have so far been “enough cases to say that crypto will be a huge area,” others told us that it is “very much an area of growth” and that there has already been “an explosion of work.” Most agreed that “crypto mania,” as one interviewee put it, has swept the UK.

2019 UK Jurisdiction Taskforce Legal Statement on Cryptoassets and Smart Contracts

The UK Jurisdiction Taskforce Legal Statement on Cryptoassets and Smart Contracts, drafted by Lawrence Akka QC and Sam Goodman of Twenty Essex, David Quest QC of 3 Verulam Buildings and Matthew Lavy of 4 Pump Court, was published in 2019.

This statement considered the legal basis of cryptocurrency in the UK and aimed to create certainty on this issue in the legal market.  AA v Persons Unknown, the first case to cite the Legal Statement, recognised that Bitcoin could be considered property. Forum ChambersDarragh Connell acted for the claimant. 

Cryptocurrency disputes

Since then, the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies has given rise to a range of disputes, including those about cryto-backed investments and fraudulent transactions.

The variety of work in this area means that barristers with expertise in structured finance, civil fraud, or IT and pure commercial work are often able to work with clients seeking advice on crypto issues.

Although much legal work concerning cryptocurrencies is currently advisory and confidential, the Chambers and Partners research team look forward to continuing the research into this growing area.

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