Shearman & Sterling partner Barney Reynolds recently published a Comment piece in The Telegraph, where he argues that the UK's common law system provides the best environment for FinTech companies:
"The UK’s common law system, if selected, is particularly well suited to dealing with these matters, with its flexible and versatile approach to law and regulation (more readily available after Brexit) which easily adapts to new developments and honours the intentions of market participants. By relying on the established principles that apply to holdings and transfers of other assets, the effects of dealings in financial products can be governed solely by the law and regulation of the UK’s highly regarded regime.
Ironically, in this brave new world of crypto currency and digital assets, it is the old tried and tested concepts, and the English law legal system, that offer the best solution to the most novel of developments, providing certainty, protection and confidence to this exciting market, and allowing it to develop. By structuring the arrangements to benefit from it, the UK’s system can perform, yet again, a key function for the benefit of the world’s economy, allowing for growth and innovation at one and the same time. The badge of quality “made in the UK” will serve again, in modern times, but updated to “sold under the UK legal system”."
At root, the legal problem to be solved is how and where digital assets are owned. Questions of ownership and property rights are fundamental to structuring and documenting financial products, but these questions can be particularly difficult to answer in the context of digital assets.