- Code LAWS8338
- Unit Value 6 units
- 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.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- 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.
- Research and critically analyse some of the current controversies and trends in the legal treatment of cryptoassets in Australia and more broadly.
- 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.
- Synthesise and evaluate the policy issues arising from the topics covered.
- Select and apply a range of approaches to written and oral communication and hypothesise solutions to complex problems in economic regulation.
- 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]
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- 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.
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Requisite and Incompatibility
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.
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
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Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
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