Cryptocurrencies in the English and Scots common law of property

Cryptocurrencies in the English and Scots common law of property

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An active market for trading cryptocurrencies has emerged world-wide. Even so, real questions exist as to how national legal systems can accommodate them within their own domestic law. Not least of those question is how they fit within the common law of property.  As specific loci of transferable wealth, cryptocurrencies are neither corporeal things or incorporeal rights.  This paper makes an argument for extending the existing categories of property to include cryptocurrencies, and seeks to show why it matters that they be brought within the fold of property law



David Fox holds the Chair of Common Law at the University of Edinburgh. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Otago in New Zealand and received his PhD degree from the University of Cambridge.

Before coming to Edinburgh, he was for many years a Fellow of St John’s College in the University of Cambridge, where his teaching touched on most aspects of private law, concentrating on property, trusts, and monetary law. He is a barrister in England and Wales, with a door tenancy at Maitland Chambers in London.

His research interests have a strong historical and comparative focus.  They concentrate on the formation of modern trust and property doctrine in common law systems, and on the private law applicable to money.  He is the author of Property Rights in Money (Oxford 2008); joint editor with Wolfgang Ernst of Money in the Western Legal Tradition: Middle Ages to Bretton Woods (Oxford 2016); and joint editor with Sarah Green of Cryptocurrencies in Public and Private Law (Oxford, due for publication March 2019).


Professor David Fox
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