Transnational Transactions on Cryptoasset Exchanges: A Conflict of Laws Perspective

39 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2022

See all articles by Shao Wei Tan

Shao Wei Tan

National University of Singapore

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Date Written: September 2022


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.

Suggested Citation

Tan, Shao Wei, Transnational Transactions on Cryptoasset Exchanges: A Conflict of Laws Perspective (September 2022). Singapore Journal of Legal Studies, Sep 2022, pp 384-422, Available at SSRN:

Shao Wei Tan (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore ( email )

1E Kent Ridge Road
NUHS Tower Block Level 7
Singapore, 119228

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