On 4 October 2023, the UNIDROIT Secretariat celebrated the launch of the publication of the UNIDROIT Principles on Digital Assets and Private Law (the “DAPL Principles”) at its seat in Rome, Italy. The event was widely attended and featured keynote addresses by UNIDROIT Governing Council Member Professor Hideki Kanda, Chair of the DAPL Principles Working Group, and by Professor Louise Gullifer, Chair of the DAPL Principles Drafting Committee. Presentations describing the practical workings of the Principles were also delivered by distinguished members of academia and the legal profession. Institutional support was showcased by both public and private stakeholders, including by representatives of the International Monetary Fund, the Association of Global Custodians and the Italian association representing companies by shares (ASSONIME). Observers from public institutions, such as the European Securities and Markets Authority, also contributed to the event.
Further, the Secretary General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, Christophe Bernasconi, congratulated UNIDROIT on completing this important project and spoke about a possible joint complementary project on the Law Applicable to Cross-Border Holdings and Transfers of Digital Assets.
The DAPL Principles were adopted by the UNIDROIT Governing Council in May 2023, following three years of preparations and close collaboration with UNIDROIT’s Member States and with legal experts from multiple jurisdictions and all legal families. The DAPL Principles establish clear rules relating to the private law aspects of digital assets, with a focus on proprietary rights. They address digital assets where they are the object of dispositions and acquisitions, and where interests in those assets are to be asserted against third parties. The Principles cover digital assets which are capable of being subject to control and provide guidance on issues related to private international law, control and transfer, custody, secured transactions, procedural law including enforcement, and insolvency. The Principles are technology, business model, and jurisdiction neutral, and are not meant to represent a specific solution for a particular moment or technology. The DAPL Principles are intended to be applied by any legal system, regardless of whether rooted in civil or common law, with the aim of assisting both legislators and users in addressing the complexities that result from dealing with digital assets in the market.