Presentation by Dr. Anjuli von Hülst on the absolute protection of blockchain tokens

On 8.1. ITM welcomed Dr. Anjuli von Hülst for an exciting lecture entitled “Blockchain and Law”. The doctor of law presented the theses of her recently published dissertation “Absoluter Schutz von Blockchain-Token: Normativer Sachbegriff im deutsch-italienischen Rechtsvergleich” (Mohr Siebeck).

Dr. von Hülst’s presentation dealt with the property law classification of tokens, which represent the value units of distributed ledger technology (DLT, also known as “blockchain”): Based on Section 90 of the German Civil Code (BGB), which defines tangible objects as property, she argued in favor of the ownership of tokens with reference to the special technical features of DLT.
As digital units of DLT, the tokens are always assigned de facto ownership, which gives them a unique existence. In addition, only assigned persons would have access to the tokens, which would also make them controllable. From the controllability arises a clear assignment, through which a physicality within the meaning of § 90 BGB can be established.

In Dr. von Hülst’s opinion, DLT can also create ownership of purely abstract, non-physical objects for the first time – and with the help of this classification under property law, no new regulations are required with regard to DLT. To illustrate this, Dr. von Hülst shed some light on Italian civil law: there, the concept of property is not defined, only ownership is clearly delineated – which means that the civil law classification does not pose any difficulties.

The ITM thanks you for the interesting lecture!

Personal details: Dr. Anjuli von Hülst successfully passed her first bar exam in 2020 after studying law in Göttingen and Geneva. This was followed by an LLM in IT law at the University of Bologna and a doctorate under Prof. Dr. Sebastian Omlor at the Philips University in Marburg. Dr. von Hülst has been a trainee lawyer at the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt am Main since May 2023.