• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law, Finance
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery Online

In the past decade, a new class of assets has arisen. These assets are represented in distributed databases called blockchains. They have grown from an idea at the fringe to a significant global market—one that is increasingly interacting with the mainstream financial and economic system, and therefore with the legal system.

How exactly this asset class is to be defined, and whether its entry into the mainstream is a good thing, are still contested. Around the world, jurisdictions are grappling with the regulatory treatment of cryptoassets in various contexts such as payments regulation, capital markets regulation, and financial institution regulation. At the same time, the private law foundations necessary to support functional, stable markets in cryptoassets are gradually being backfilled. Bridges connecting cryptoasset markets with markets in traditional assets are being built.

This course aims to equip students to understand and participate in discussions around the legal treatment and implications of blockchain-based digital assets. It covers the fundamental sources of substantive law, and situates this in context. The course focusses on connections between different sub-disciplines of law (such as financial regulation and property law) and provides a comparative overview of developments in Australia and various jurisdictions overseas. As the law in this area is emerging, and because there is not always an established scholarship on the current legal problems, the course draws on the expertise and experience of practitioners, developers, and regulators as well as academics. Cryptoassets (and the social networks and technical systems in which they exist) are by nature transnational, and developments in Australia are informed by developments overseas.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Investigate, explain, and apply the frameworks of private law and regulation applicable to cryptoassets in Australia and more broadly to develop solutions to particular problems.
  2. Research and critically analyse some of the current controversies and trends in the legal treatment of cryptoassets in Australia and more broadly.
  3. Critically reflect on the implicit and express claims of the cryptoasset movement and situate current developments within broader social, political, and economic trends in technology.
  4. Synthesise and evaluate the policy issues arising from the topics covered.
  5. Select and apply a range of approaches to written and oral communication and hypothesise solutions to complex problems in economic regulation.

Indicative Assessment

  1. The proposed means of assessment for this course will provide students with at least two pieces of assessment, including one piece during the semester. More information about the means of assessment, including the relationship between the assessment and the learning outcomes of the course, will be available in the Class Summary and on the course WATTLE page.  (null) [LO null]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


  • Classes offered in non-standard sessions will be taught on an intensive base with compulsory contact hours (approximately 26 hours of face to face teaching). The course will also require advanced preparation through assigned readings. In total, it is anticipated that the hours required for completion of this course (class preparation, teaching and completion of assessment) will not exceed 120 hours.
  • Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have 3 contact hours per week.

Click here for the LLM Masters Program timetable.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a; Master of Laws (MLLM) and have completed or be completing LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions; or Graduate Certificate of Law (CLAW) and have completed or be completing LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions; or Graduate Certificate of New Technologies Law (CNTL) and have completed or be completing LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions; or Juris Doctor (MJD) and have completed or be completing five 1000 or 6100 level LAWS courses; or Master of Financial Management and Law (MFIML) and have completed or be completing LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions. Students undertaking any ANU graduate program may apply for this course. Enrolments are accepted on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the ANU College of Law for permission. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed LAWS8418 Special Topics in Law: Cryptocurrency and the Law

Prescribed Texts

Students must rely on the approved Class Summary, which will be posted to the Programs and Courses site approximately two weeks prior to the commencement of the course. Alternatively, this information will be published in the Program course list prior to the course commencement.

Preliminary Reading

In general, the literature on cryptoassets is still emerging. This means that students will need to consult a range of sources, including primary sources (e.g., cases, legislation, and regulatory instruments); textbooks, research books, and academic articles; thought leadership from international, public sector, private sector, and civil society bodies; blogs, tweets, posts in discussion fora; and everything in-between. The reading materials set out in this curriculum are reflective of the range of sources and we will discuss in the first module how to do research in an emerging field. Wherever possible, links are provided to credible sources of various kinds as well as references to conventional sources. In all cases, the mantra is to question whatever you read.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $4980
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6360
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

There are no current offerings for this course.

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions