This research project investigates whether the advantages of DLT-based registers of ownership suggest a switch to such systems, taking into account the differences in the various jurisdictions. Aiming at welfare maximization, this switch may require adjusting the rules on transfer of property including formalities, on insolvency and of course on land registers. In addition to this national perspective, we also study efficiency gains entailing from DLT-based cross-border property registration. Finally, we also consider how switching to DLT-based property registration in developing and transforming countries may affect justice and democracy by allowing the individuals to securely own property as foundation stone for economic and political participation.
The following research questions will be center-stage for the project:
- Which legal regime makes the assignment of rights to persons on the blockchain effective and efficient?
- Can DLT and Smart Contracts completely replicate the functionality of the highly developed public land register systems (particularly those of Germany, Austria and Switzerland)? Which transition problems and associated costs are to be expected? Considering existing land register systems, which advantages of a blockchain solution suggest a switch? Which disadvantages oppose?
- For which categories of movable assets could DLT overcome problems resulting from the absence of registers for movables as e.g. in Germany, Austria and Switzerland?
- Can DLT-based register system mitigate or replace formal requirements on transfer of real estate or rights therein without damaging their functionalities?
- Can and should the law support blockchain registries by a concept like “public faith in the blockchain”?
- Will blockchain registration make transfer and granting of intellectual property rights as safe and secure as the transfer of rights in tangible goods ?
- How can the law ensure the reliability of the initial rights assignment on the blockchain? Which modes of initial rights assignment should be regarded as legally valid?
- What determines the hierarchy between possession and blockchain documentation and accordingly land register and blockchain documentation? Which legal adjustments need to be considered? Will owners have a choice between possession and DLT registration as evidence of property?
- Do crypto assets constitute a fourth category of goods besides real estate, chattel and incorporeal goods?
- What transaction should be valid if someone transfers the ownership of a good first on the blockchain and thereafter by transfer of possession (or vice versa)?
Academy for Political Education: "The Digital Chameleon: Changing Society and Technology," Tutzingen, Germany, on June…
Alexander Hoppen, Peter Hoppen (2017). In CR 5/2017, 337-348. DOI: 10.9785/9783504386085-008 Further Information Abstract: [nicht…