The CCTL Transnational Economic Law and Dispute Settlement Group organised an online seminar on ‘Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs): What’s Beyond the Hype?’ on 15 June 2021.
NFTs have been in the news lately, mostly for the prices people have paid for related artwork, tweets, virtual real estate, and even for a 140,000 USD purchase for an NFT of a picture of a model. NFTs’ functions and applications go beyond click baiting news, and they can be used to represent patents as IPwe is doing in conjunction with IBM, or the original code for the World Wide Web as British computer scientist and inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has done with an NFT titled “This Changed Everything”.
NFTs are central to a new emerging economic model of the ownership economy that is building businesses on top of the creator economy that encourages creators, operators and the community to collaborate under a new, interdependent ownership mechanism that combines the best of both (legacy and creator economy) worlds and then some.
The seminar interspersed discussions about NFTs with a balanced examination of the nature and potential of NFTs and analysis of the relevant legal considerations, notably focussing on their implications on securities and IP law, as well as discussions on some of the business and investment opportunities.
Yat Siu and Jehan Chu, two of the world’s leading evangelists on NFTs provided important background and insight to the discussion. Both speakers explored how NFTs are being used to deliver digital property rights to billions of gamers thereby creating a new asset class, enabling play-to-earn economies, and creating a more equitable digital framework, and the possibilities of NFTs, well beyond the art world.
Pádraig Walsh provided key insights into the legal issues surrounding securitization and NFTs and Ron Yu discussed the IP issues, with particular focus on copyright and the complications caused by the co-evolution of the law with regards to NFTs as well as other technologies such as AI. Pawee Jenweeranon provided insights from Southeast Asia, while Professor Bryan Mercurio chaired the well-received seminar and moderated an engaging Q&A session. The event was closed by a very thought-provoking speech from Yat Siu.
Clearly, the nexus of law and NFTs is a space to watch.
Yat Siu, Co-founder & Chairman, Animoca Brands; Founder & CEO, Outblaze
Jehan Chu, Co-founder & Managing partner, Kenetic
Pádraig Walsh, Partner, Tanner De Witt
Ron Yu, Research Associate, CUHK LAW
Pawee Jenweeranon, Lecturer, Thammasat University, Thailand Commentator
Bryan Mercurio, Simon F.S. Li Professor of Law, CUHK LAW, Moderator