What private law remedies exist for the interference with cryptocurrencies?

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther Conference Contribution


If someone interferes with tangible property, the available common law causes of action are relatively settled. The same is not true with intangibles, with the law still developing its approach.

The early case law on interference with intangibles has worked from the starting point that intangible assets cannot be possessed and thus cannot fall within the ambit of the property torts, such as conversion, trespass to goods, as well as negligence. The case law on the interference with cryptocurrencies has taken a different approach. Rather than apply or challenge the traditional approach of using the property torts, the case law on the interference with cryptocurrencies has gone down the route of injunctive relief. Although injunctive relief for the interference with cryptocurrencies is becoming more established, some issues remain unsettled and are the subject matter of this paper.

Firstly, the case law on the interference with cryptocurrencies has concluded, without much discussion, that cryptocurrencies are property, at least in the particular context to which the particular case relates. There are obvious incentives to declaring cryptocurrencies as property, but without clearly articulating why these assets are property creates a shaky foundation on which to develop the law. It is therefore necessary to consider whether these assets are justifiably categorised as property in the first place. Secondly, it is also worth considering whether classifying these assets as property is actually a useful starting point, given the uncertainty that exists if a remedy depends on the property status of the asset.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusIn preparation - Jun 2022
EventYoung Property Lawyers' Forum: Property Law for the Future - Online, hosted by the University of Glasgow
Duration: 22 Jun 2022 → …


ConferenceYoung Property Lawyers' Forum
Period22/06/22 → …

Bibliographical note

Paper presented at the Young Property Lawyers' Forum 2022. Publication forthcoming.


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