Voronkov N.S. International Turnover of Quasi-Monetary Units: Regulatory Issues

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/lc.jvolsu.2017.3.22

Nikita S. Voronkov, Postgraduate Student, Department of Public and Private International Law, National Research University “Higher School of Economics”, Myasnitskaya St., 20, 101000 Moscow, Russian Federation, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Introduction: the article dwells on the international turnover of quasi-monetary units, including units of international payment systems and cryptocurrencies. Intensive digitalization of economic exchanges inextricably entails wider use of these instruments, which consequently creates the need in the development of respective regulation. Thus, the legal nature of quasi-monetary units payment system units as rights of claim to the systems operator and cryptocurrencies as specific proprietary object (a digital commodity) are being analyzed. Further in the article the law applicable to the turnover of quasi-monetary units is examined including the possibility of using lex voluntatis in settlements denominated in such units. Finally, the author considers the mandatory provisions applicable to the turnover of payment system units and cryptocurrencies.
Results: it is pointed out that considering the increasing role of quasi-monetary units in international economic turnover, conflicting approaches of national regulating authorities creates uncertainty for economic agents. It is contended that despite payment system units and cryptocurrencies serving similar economic objectives, they have fundamentally different legal nature, which creates the need for different law applicable to these types of quasimonetary units.
Conclusions: the author concludes that units of payment systems in terms of their legal nature are rights of claim to the system operator whereas cryptocurrency is a separate legal phenomenon and its nature is yet to be determined by the legal doctrine. The author has proven the paramount importance of the use of lex voluntatis by the parties to the obligation denominated in quasi-monetary units. If the parties failed to choose the law applicable, the doctrine of characteristic performance should be used. Besides, it is concluded that the national mandatory provisions can hardly be applied to quasi-monetary turnover, particularly to cryptocurrencies.

Key words: quasi-monetary units, payment system, cryptocurrency, law applicable, international turnover.

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