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Family News

Andrzej Bojarski looks at Crypto-assets and fintech start-ups on divorce

25th August 2020

A decade ago hardly anyone had heard of cryptocurrencies.  However, when Bitcoin soared to a record high value of nearly $20,000 in 2017, in the process making some early investors in Bitcoin into multi-millionaires, almost everyone became aware of Bitcoin.  Family lawyers, in particular, have become conscious of how the somewhat shadowy and entirely intangible nature of cryptocurrencies can be used to hide assets, or to move them out of reach.  

However, few practitioners have yet come to appreciate the wider applications  for the same blockchain technology on which cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are built. Blockchain technology is spawning a huge variety of ‘crypto-assets’ and ‘smart contracts’ which have the potential to revolutionise the worlds of commerce and finance.  Many start-up companies (usually staffed by smart youngsters with physics PhDs) are seeking to develop and exploit this technology.  Those companies often raise funding by way of Initial Coin Offerings, issuing cryptoassets in the form of tokens rather than by issuing shares.  

 

This article considers some of the issues and difficulties arising for the family lawyer when one of the parties to a divorce has a stake in such a FinTech company.

 

The full article will be published in the August issue of Family Law. 


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