Pause the Blockchain Legal Revolution
Prof. LOW, Kelvin
School of Law
City University of Hong Kong
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.
Kelvin F K Low is Professor of Law at City University of Hong Kong. Prior to this, he held appointments at National University of Singapore, the University of Hong Kong, and Singapore Management University. Kelvin’s research interest spans the field of private law but with a particular interest in property, broadly defined. He has published internationally with leading journals such as the Law Quarterly Review, the Modern Law Review, the International & Comparative Law Quarterly, the American Journal of Comparative Law, Melbourne University Law Review, Lloyd’s Maritime and Commercial Law Quarterly and Legal Studies. He is a co-author of the 2nd edition of The Law of Personal Property, the leading personal property text in England and the Commonwealth and co-author of the 3rd and 4th editions of Tan Sook Yee’s Principles of Singapore Land Law, the leading Singapore land law text. He served on numerous editorial positions in Singapore and Hong Kong and is presently a Co-Editor of Trust Law International and is the Co-Editor-in-Chief for the Asia Pacific Law Review. His research has been cited by courts in Australia, Canada, England and Wales, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Singapore and law reform bodies in Australia, England and Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and Singapore.
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