Blockchains: Private Law Matters

27 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2020

See all articles by Rainer Kulms

Rainer Kulms

Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law

Date Written: March 2020


Blockchain technology is the cornerstone of FinTech. Blockchains offer the infrastructure for online platforms which store information and digital assets. Distributed ledgers are about to be employed everywhere. Regulators have opted for a regulatory sandbox approach which demonstrates the need for efficient private law rules to fill potential lacunae. This paper identifies the crucial parameters for ascertaining the private law foundations of blockchain technology and its applications. Aspects of contract and property laws will be assessed in order to determine whether digital assets are capable of acquiring erga omnes status. This will include a survey of current blockchain statutes and potential negative externalities of a blockchain which might trigger liability of its members.

Suggested Citation

Kulms, Rainer, Blockchains: Private Law Matters (March 2020). Singapore Journal of Legal Studies, Mar. 2020, pp 63-89, Available at SSRN:

Rainer Kulms (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law ( email )

Mittelweg 187
Hamburg, D-20148


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