6 February 2020

Cryptoassets: Will 2020 bring a clearer view of their status?

Libra may have added impetus for regulators to get on top of the regulatory status of stablecoins and other forms of cryptoassets but are we any closer to getting legal certainty? December saw the publication of two further papers seeking to bring greater clarity and January has seen the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) take responsibility for anti-money laundering (AML) compliance. Will 2020 be the year when firms and investors will at last have greater certainty of the regulatory status of their products?


The past decade saw an explosion in digital currencies, digital tokens and distributed ledger technology but like much innovation, the legal and regulatory status of these new assets is often murky. As the decade drew to a close, two papers were published which may help to clarify the legal and regulatory framework of cryptoassets.


Legal status of cryptoassets

The first, a Legal Statement on cryptoassets and smart contracts, was published by the UK Jurisdiction Taskforce in November. Its aim was to create greater legal certainty on the legal status of cryptoassets but, importantly, it was not seeking to consider their regulatory status.

The current UK regulatory regime

The European Commission consultation