Tan on Transnational Transactions on Cryptoasset Exchanges: A Conflict of Laws Perspective

Shao Wei Tan (National University of Singapore) has posted “Transnational Transactions on Cryptoasset Exchanges: A Conflict of Laws Perspective” (Singapore Journal of Legal Studies, Sep 2022, pp 384-422) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Cryptoassets, now in the mainstream with significant retail and institutional ownership, can be purchased on cryptoasset exchanges online from around the world. Correspondingly, disputes involving transnational cryptoasset transactions—which have already begun to crop up in the US – are likely to become increasingly common in Singapore given its status as a global financial hub. The problem, however, is that there is no global consensus on how to determine the applicable law for transnational transactions on cryptoasset exchanges. This lack of consensus engenders unnecessary uncertainty as to the disputing parties’ rights and obligations, which in turn has significant implications for issuers, potential investors, regulators, and even the entire financial system. Building on the shortcomings of existing conflict of laws solutions in other jurisdictions, this article proposes a conflict of laws solution to this problem for the Singapore courts. The solution entails (1) recognising that the problem should be dealt with using a choice-of-law approach, (2) creating a new category of issues, ‘market issues’, as which issues may be collectively characterised, and (3) choosing only the lex mercatus for issues characterised as market issues.