Earlier this month Lord Vos, Chancellor of the High Court, presented a speech on the use and regulation of crypto-currencies and smart contracts. The speech accompanied the commencement of a public consultation on “the status of cryptoassets, distributed ledger technology and smart contracts under English private law”.

Lord Vos emphasised that “we should try to avoid the creation of a new legal and regulatory regime that will discourage the use of new technologies rather than provide the foundation for them to flourish.”

In a month that has seen the value of many cryptoassets approaching dizzying annual highs, the courts and regulators seem poised to give legal legitimacy and familiarity to these rapidly evolving assets. Will this help stabilise prices and avert the risk of a market crash?