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Speech by Sir Geoffrey Vos, Chancellor of the High Court: cryptoassets as property

Sir Geoffrey Vos, Chancellor of the High Court, gave a speech to the Joint Northern Chancery Bar Association and University of Liverpool Lecture, entitled: ‘Cryptoassets as property: how can English law boost the confidence of would-be parties to smart legal contracts?’


  1. It is a pleasure to be back in Liverpool to deliver a lecture on what is rapidly becoming one of the most important legal subjects of our generation. I know that there is a huge amount of expertise locally and I very much look forward to our discussion after I have concluded my talk. I am sorry that I missed the topping out of the new £25 million University of Liverpool School of Law and Social Justice building that took place amidst Storm Gareth on 13th March 2019. I just hope I don’t receive quite such a stormy reception for what I have to say tonight.
  2. My starting point is to ask why smart contracts have taken so long to become ubiquitous. We have been discussing how and when they may take over the world of mainstream financial services for several years. Yet, they seem never to make that breakthrough into reality. So far as I am aware, there has not until now been an end to end smart legal contract in financial services or in any other sector.


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