Cryptoassets from a consumer protection perspective
Produced in partnership with Puesan Lam of DLA Piper and Tony Katz of DLA Piper

The following Financial Services practice note produced in partnership with Puesan Lam of DLA Piper and Tony Katz of DLA Piper provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Cryptoassets from a consumer protection perspective
  • What are cryptoassets?
  • Risks to the consumer posed by cryptoassets
  • Lack of regulatory protections
  • Security
  • Money Laundering and Financial Crime
  • Uncertainty—volatility
  • Safety
  • Consumer protection mechanisms
  • Escrow
  • More...

Cryptoassets from a consumer protection perspective

What are cryptoassets?

One of the hurdles in relation to understanding non-traditional currencies and assets lies in the inconsistent use of language. Regulators and tax authorities, as well as commentators, refer variously to digital currencies, virtual currencies, cryptocurrencies, cryptoassets and crypto tokens, and it is not always clear whether they are using the terms interchangeably or with the specific meaning of each in mind. For more information about how these terms are defined, see Practice Note: Cryptoassets—essentials.

In this Practice Note, the term ‘cryptoasset’ is used as a generic term for cryptocurrencies, virtual currencies, virtual assets or digital tokens. This Practice Note provides an overview of the key risks for consumers from cryptoassets, the current protections available and potential improvements that can be made to the regulatory regime.

Risks to the consumer posed by cryptoassets

Lack of regulatory protections

A number of consumer protection issues arise from the use of cryptoassets. As the European Banking Authority (EBA) has warned, consumers who have bought cryptoassets through an exchange platform may lose their money if that exchange platform is hacked and subsequently goes out of business. There is no legal protection offered for losses arising from funds held on these exchange platforms. A similar warning has been issued by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released a consumer advisory

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