News

Get to grips with crypto and blockchain, top judge tells lawyers

By on
10

Master of the Rolls says every member of the profession will require ‘familiarity’ with new technology

One of the country’s most senior judges has urged lawyers to get to grips with cryptocurrency.

Master of the Rolls Sir Geoffrey Vos warned that “major developments are imminent” and those in the profession — and presumably law students seeking to enter it — “require familiarity with the blockchain, smart legal contracts and cryptoassets”, the Law Society’s Gazette reports.

Sir Vos’ comments came at the launch of an updated report on the key issues lawyers need to be aware of when advising clients on distributed ledger technology. The guidance, published on Tuesday, has been produced in collaboration with the Tech London Advocates (TLA) Blockchain Legal and Regulatory Group.

The Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce endorsed Vos’ advice. She said: “Distributed ledger technology, smart legal contracts and cryptoassets will likely form the infrastructure of the digital economy and basis for future transactions, which lawyers will continue to advise on.”

The latest comments from across Legal Cheek

Sir Vos isn’t the first judge to pass judgement on crypto.

In a speech delivered in 2018 at the East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai, Supreme Court deputy president Lord Hodge warned against the “irrational exuberance” of “speculators” in the cryptocurrency space. He went on to argue that the digital currencies “risk creating bubbles if they are not brought under governmental regulation”.

Sir Vos’ advice to lawyers comes some two years after a group of leading London barristers penned an official statement in a bid to clarify the legal status of crypto and smart contracts under English and Welsh law.

The UK Jurisdiction Taskforce of the Lawtech Delivery Panel — made up of Lawrence Akka QC, Sam Goodman (both Twenty Essex), David Quest QC (3 Verulam Buildings) and Matthew Lavy (4 Pump Court) — said the former should “be treated in principle as property” while the latter are imbued with “contractual force”.

For a weekly round-up of news, plus jobs and latest event info

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Newsletter

10 Comments

Anonymous

Crypto go brrrr

Huh?

Get to grips with crypto???

I’ve seen legal pro bono offices STILL using fax machines to send bundles to tribunal, and insist that volunteers have to personally attend the London office to pick up post no matter where they live.

Dark Ages. All of ‘em.

Anon

Sir Vos? Really????

Minister of Silly Walks

For those who don’t understand this comment, the correct style for a person who has received a knighthood is “Sir/Dame [Firstname]”; in this case, “Sir Geoffrey”, not “Sir Vos”.

JDA

I’m surprised (although perhaps I shouldn’t be) to see that Legal Cheek’s finances don’t run to acquiring a copy of, for example, Debrett’s ‘Correct Form’.

5PQE

I own a few satoshis

CryptoKnight

Go Sir Geoffrey!

He’s trying to pamp BTC to $100k!!

Pampa

master of the (ROLLS), we should have a token with this name, I would buy it, they can shill it

Ruggs Bunny

I would be happy to write the smart contracts for $ROLLS and then rug you?

Rupert

Nah. It’s the worlds biggest pyramid scheme and everyone’s being suckered.

You can’t create stuff from nothing.

It’ll all come crashing down. You heard it here first…

Join the conversation

Related Stories