On this week’s episode of Yahoo Finance’s The Crypto Mile, our host Brian McGlynn talks to Lord Chris Holmes about the UK’s new Electronic Business Documents Act. Lord Holmes called the new law “the most important law you have never heard of”.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
The UK’s new Electronic Trade Documents Act gives digital trade documents the same legal recognition as traditional paper versions. It also sets a legal precedent in English common law, including “making intangible property proprietable”. As one of the key architects of the law has said, this precedent could potentially have significant implications for the digital asset sector.
To illustrate the significance of the new law, a McKinsey report states that digitalizing paper-intensive trade documentation systems “could save $6.5 billion in direct costs and enable $40 billion in global trade Can.”
Brian McGlynn: On this week’s episode of Yahoo Finance’s “The Crypto Mile,” we are joined by Lord Chris Holmes. Lord Holmes is the architect of the UK Government’s new Electronic Business Documents Act. The Act promises to digitize the mountains of old paper that are currently being used for domestic and international trade. Lord Holmes calls it the most important law you’ve never heard of.
Lord Holmes, welcome to “The Crypto Mile”.
Lord Chris Holmes: It’s great to be here. Thanks for having me.
Brian McGlynn: So the Electronic Business Documents Act was given royal assent in July. Why do we need it? If the system isn’t broken, why fix it?
Lord Chris Holmes: We’ve had the same system in business for centuries, and if it’s not broken, it’s certainly filled with billions of pieces of paper and has issues of lack of security, lack of efficiency, and we are. Billions of economic and environmental opportunities are being missed. That’s why the Electronic Trade Documents Act brings a whole new era to international trade with benefits for all. That is why we need to communicate and keep communicating that this Act is now in place, available to all who want to engage in trading.
Brian McGlynn: So is Britain moving in this direction, or you know, other countries have done this before, or are they going to follow suit?
Lord Chris Holmes: The UK is moving forward with the Electronic Trading Documents Act. Singapore passed a similar law, but Britain is the first G7 country to pass such a law. And why it’s extremely important is that we have the privilege of common law, and 80% of bills of lading, 80% of those important trade documents are made under English law. It simply gives a start that brings the scale of the issue into sharp focus.
Brian McGlynn: Okay, so this may resonate around the world because there are many trade organizations and businesses that use documents in this way.
Lord Chris Holmes: This Act must and will have a transformative impact on business. If you imagine, especially for small and medium-sized businesses, this could be the difference between being able to engage in their importing and exporting, saving individual businesses thousands for the first time, allowing them to scale up and It will be possible to save billions in business.
Brian McGlynn: What kind of obstacles did you have to overcome to make it? I’m sure you had to wait for technology for many years to understand this concept?
Lord Chris Holmes: The biggest obstacle to passing such a law is making the intangible proprietary. And this is an important part of English law. And exactly to your point, this is only possible now because we have the technology that enables an electronic document to prove that it is the only version of that document, which enables me to say, for example, Makes I have that document, there’s only one document, I can show that I have it. I can show that no one else has it. And as a result of that, I have that electronic document, so I have the stuff.
Brian McGlynn: So presumably what you’ve done is set a precedent, and the whole legal case has now been made. And because it is now a law, it will become easier to digitize other areas of administration.
Lord Chris Holmes: As I mentioned, the great thing about this law is that it is in our brilliant common law tradition, precedent, that is, case law, can flow from that so that it builds on this common law that we have. Can develop in context. But there are tens, hundreds of examples where we can use innovative new technologies to change what the state does, to change the way we interact with the state. Nothing short of actually being able to completely reconstruct that social contract between citizens.
Brian McGlynn: So this is a very important milestone, thank you Chris. The Act has come into force. So can businesses actually start changing their processes as we speak?
Lord Chris Holmes: The legislation came into force on 20 September, which is an incredibly important date, but we need a number of incredibly important dates when we get so many small and medium-sized enterprises to engage in business, perhaps for the first time. Will meet. As a result of the possibilities of this law. While dozens of countries around the world are also passing similar laws. And then as a result of a small, but incredibly important piece of legislation, we see economic, social, environmental benefits being driven. This is the way to create a common law in the UK and legislation for these new technologies that touch our financial services ecosystem.
Brian McGlynn: Lord Chris Holmes, thanks for coming on this week’s episode of Yahoo Finance’s “The Crypto Mile.”
Lord Chris Holmes: Pleasure. Thanks so much for the opportunity.