Conflicts of Laws and Codes: Defining the Boundaries of Digital Jurisdictions

16 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2018

See all articles by Florian Möslein

Florian Möslein

Universität Marburg (Institut für Handels- und Wirtschaftsrecht); Munich Center on Governance (MCG); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: May 1, 2018


Blockchain technology promises to perform tasks that have traditionally been assigned to the law and the realm of legal institutions. Smart contracts create agreements that are both automatable by computers and enforceable via tamper-proof execution of computer codes. Based on such smart contracts, some providers of blockchain technologies offer “to act as a digital jurisdiction”. The promise seems to be that state law is entirely substituted by the rules codified in the blockchain. But, even if it has often been argued that the “Code Is Law”, the law is not - and arguably will never be - entirely redundant. The challenge is therefore to identify the boundaries of such digital jurisdictions by clarifying the relationship between law and code, and to develop new principles for the conflicts of laws, or rather principles for the conflict of laws and code.

Keywords: Blockchain; Smart Contract; Digital Jurisdiction; Conflict of Laws

JEL Classification: K12, K22, K42

Suggested Citation

Möslein, Florian, Conflicts of Laws and Codes: Defining the Boundaries of Digital Jurisdictions (May 1, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Florian Möslein (Contact Author)

Universität Marburg (Institut für Handels- und Wirtschaftsrecht) ( email )

Universitätsstraße 6
Marburg, 35032


Munich Center on Governance (MCG) ( email )

Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
Munich, DE Bavaria 80539


European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels

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