Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-175
Journal / PublicationInternational and Comparative Law Quarterly
Issue number1
Online published19 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


When bitcoin was released by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008, few could have predicted that it would attract as much attention as it has today. It has spawned a veritable host of other cryptocurrencies, including ether on the upstart Ethereum network, which boasts smart contract functionality. The underlying blockchain technology has also attracted attention, with some within the blockchain community suggesting that it can solve such diverse problems as secured digital voting to tracking food provenance. In the legal context, blockchains have been envisaged as capable of revolutionising registries for assets ranging from land to intellectual property, modernising clearing and settlement, and even fundamentally transforming the contracting process. This article critically evaluates the popular claims surrounding the potential of blockchain technologies to disrupt the legal system by separating hype from fact.

Research Area(s)

  • asset registries, blockchain, clearing and settlement, cryptocurrencies, public international law, smart contracts