UCC Amendments for Digital Assets Effective in DC

On May 3, 2024, Law L25-0158 was published in the District of Columbia Register. Titled the “Uniform Commercial Code Amendment Act of 2024,” it is the codification in Washington, DC of the 2022 Amendments to the UCC drafted by the Uniform Law Commission and the American Law Institute. The 2022 Amendments hold out the promise of establishing uniform rules (at least in the US) for transferring digital assets such as cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens, and granting lenders a security interest in those assets that can be perfected by control.

Although the DC law is effective as of April 20, 2024, per the uniform transition rules adopted by the law, the provisions will not have substantive effect until July 1, 2025. This time delay was built into the rules to give market participants time to learn and adjust to the new rules and implement any changes that the new rules will require. Washington, DC is not the first jurisdiction to adopt the 2022 Amendments, but it is arguably the most important. Under the uniform choice of law rules in the 2022 Amendments, the UCC in effect in the District of Columbia will govern most, if not all, matters relating to perfection and priority of security interests in digital assets, at least for the foreseeable future.

Many questions and challenges are posed by the 2022 Amendments. Are all digital assets covered? Are cryptocurrencies money? Are digital tokens securities? What does it mean to perfect a security interest in a bunch of ones and zeros that only exist on a decentralized blockchain that isn’t located on a particular server or controlled by any particular entity? We will explore these and other issues in the coming weeks and months.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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