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Clifford Chance


Understanding the challenges tech presents for business

Tech presents new challenges for businesses - including regulation, growing competition from start-ups and ethical issues raised by artificial intelligence. It affects all aspects of the law.

Our experts provide joined-up advice on the impact of technology on antitrust and data; M&A and investments; intellectual property and litigation; AI and fintech; cyber and regulatory investigations.

Artificial intelligence

China, tech and the need for global standards

Protectionism and a looming tech war between China and the West may dominate current headlines, but there is an urgent need to work together to develop global frameworks around innovation and the safety of technology, Jeroen Ouwehand, Global Senior Partner, said at a conference on China’s economic future hosted by Chatham House. In this extract from his speech, Ouwehand discusses digital borders, data flows and ethics and artificial intelligence. Read more

Big data and artificial intelligence - evolving market misconduct risks

The use of big data and artificial intelligence (AI) is giving rise to new and evolving market misconduct risks that firms need to understand. Julia Hoggett, Director of Market Oversight at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), recently gave a speech to the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME) highlighting some of these risks. In this briefing we consider insider dealing risk arising when big data constitutes inside information and the manipulation risk arising from AI and machine learning. Read more

AI and risk for financial institutions

This article, which was first published by the International Financial Law Review, highlights the legal, ethical and reputational risk that UK financial institutions face when using AI and suggests the steps that they should take now to minimise them. Read more

Davos 2019: The next global crisis – are we ready?

China and the US are heading towards a new cold war which may radically alter the global economy, argued Nouriel Roubini, Professor of Economics at New York University's Stern School of Business at an event hosted by Clifford Chance in Davos. Read more

Artificial intelligence and the future for legal services

Artificial intelligence (AI) is growing at a phenomenal speed and is now set to transform the legal industry. We are enthusiastic early adopters of AI and other advanced technology tools to enable us to deliver a better service to our clients. In this paper, we look at the current state of the market and explore how things will develop in the coming months and years. Read more

Artificial intelligence: how do we make smarter decisions?

Artificial intelligence is disrupting the business of law. In this podcast about digital transformation in the legal sector, Paul Greenwood, Clifford Chance's Chief Information Officer explains how predictive algorithms can help lawyers analyse vast quantities of data and assess legal risk faster and more precisely.


Blockchain, trade finance and sanctions Issues

Blockchain has the potential to alter the global financial system but has implications for sanctions regimes. Read more

Blockchain – what it is and why it's important

Blockchain is the technology that underpins the digital currency Bitcoin – but it has far wider applications and opens up new possibilities in financial services, the public sector and other areas. Read more

Data and privacy

Top 8 tech disputes and enforcement risks for 2019

Tech stories were never far from the headlines in 2018. With data privacy taking centre stage, the Cambridge Analytica-Facebook scandal prompted regulatory investigations in Europe and the US. The EU GDPR came into effect, sparking a deluge of compliance emails, and major organisations continued to suffer massive cybersecurity breaches. Technology giants in Europe and elsewhere remained under the spotlight, as fines of over EUR4 billion were levied.

We consider some of the key technology disputes and enforcement risks which we expect to be on the global agenda in 2019. Read more

Scraping the barrel? Legal issues arising from data scraping

Why do you sometimes have to click those diagrams before you can log into a social media platform? Because the website wants to know you are a human – and not a bot looking to scratch its surface with a view to obtaining valuable data (a "data scraper"). Data scrapers extract, aggregate and combine data from various sources. Scraped data is then generally stored on a local system and used for different purposes such as recruitment, sentiment analysis, assessing credit risk, identifying trends, marketing and sales. Read more

Facebook, data misuse and why it matters

As every news cycle brings further revelations about the alleged misuse of personal data by social media companies and political consultants, regulators, politicians and the public are more concerned than ever with what happens to information placed online, who has it and how it is being used. Read more

Big Data, big opportunities, big privacy

Big data analytics and techniques are becoming critical in fields beyond advertising and marketing, such as artificial intelligence, fintech and biotech. We look at a new guide developed by the Australian information commissioner and key privacy considerations for businesses engaging in big data activities. Read more

Digital assets and ICOs

Stablecoins: A snapshot of global regulation

Facebook’s proposed stablecoin, Libra, is dominating the headlines. However, growing interest means increased regulatory and political scrutiny. As digital assets transcend national borders, what does this mean for those interested in issuing or participating in a stablecoin project? Read more here.

Stablecoin - a global overview of regulatory requirements in Asia Pacific, Europe, the UAE and the US

Facebook’s proposed stablecoin, Libra, is dominating the headlines. However, growing interest means increased regulatory and political scrutiny around the globe. As digital assets transcend national borders, what does this mean for those interested in issuing or participating in a stablecoin project? What are the regulatory questions and other challenges that need to be considered? We take a look at the global picture in this comprehensive analysis. Read more here.

Busting Bitcoin's anonymity - the implications for financial institutions

A deliberate design feature of Bitcoin is that it enables users to buy or sell anything without revealing their identity. Yet, paradoxically, all Bitcoin transactions are stored publicly and permanently on blockchain. Now, as seen in recent cases, enterprising US prosecutors and private plaintiffs’ lawyers are using software called blockchain explorer to crack Bitcoin’s anonymity. The US Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) also appears to suggest that financial institutions and crypto businesses should consider how explorer software could help them meet their own anti-money laundering (AML) and sanctions obligations. Read more.

Facebook's Libra currency - will unexpected tax complications scare off users?

The essence of Libra is that Facebook hopes consumers across the world will spend money in a new cryptocurrency. Its value will track a basket of fiat currencies, meaning that the value of a Libra against a particular fiat currency will inevitably fluctuate. That creates a problem for consumers: each time they transact, they’ll be making a capital gain or loss. In most countries gains will be taxable, meaning consumers will have to file a detailed tax return showing all their transactions and the exchange rate at the time, and pay any tax due. This seems to us to be a significant barrier to wide adoption. Read more

Facebook's Libra - an exciting but challenging road ahead

Facebook's global digital currency Libra, backed by some of the biggest names in financial services and tech including Visa, Mastercard, Uber and Spotify, is to be launched in 2020. We look at the regulatory, legal, practical and political challenges of getting this kind of project off the ground. Read more

Crypto considerations for fund managers: Private funds investing in digital assets have exploded in popularity - but pose unique legal risks

Private funds investing in blockchain-based digital assets have exploded in popularity in recent years. According to the consultancy Crypto Fund Research, there are over 700 such funds worldwide, up from a mere handful a few years ago, with assets under management exceeding $10 billion. Read more

Cryptoasset enforcement - where are we at the end of 2018? What to expect in 2019?

In December 2018, Andrew Bailey, Chief Executive of the FCA, praised the enforcement action taken by the SEC in relation to ICOs and said that European regulators could learn from the SEC's strong interventions. The FCA is expected to consult on the regulation of cryptoassets early in 2019. In this briefing, we share data obtained from the FCA by freedom of information request relating to current cryptoasset investigations and analyse enforcement trends globally. Read more

Initial coin offerings - asking the right regulatory questions

What are the risks, how are ICOs regulated and how might this change? Read more


Shadow infrastructure – a hidden risk?

Financial institutions rely on a small number of providers for cloud services, data analytics and AI, but this "shadow infrastructure" carries risks.

Taming the 'Wild West': fintech developments across EMEA

Clifford Chance experts take a bird’s eye view of fintech developments across EMEA and how regulators are responding. Read more

Fintech in 2019 – Five trends to watch

Technology continues to have an enormous impact on financial services and the pace of change shows no signs of abating. Following the bold predictions we made last year, we highlight the five stand-out trends for fintech in 2019. Read more

Fintech in the Middle East - developments across MENA

In this report, which updates the report we published in October 2017, we highlight key trends and developments in financial technology (fintech) across 10 different MENA jurisdictions. Read more

Fintech in Israel - an overview

Israel, with its expertise in technology such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence, blockchain and computer vision, has established itself as a global centre for fintech. Its relatively small size, the large number of startups and its reputation for entrepreneurship mean that it is an excellent testing ground for innovation. Israeli regulators, including the Bank of Israel and the Commissioner of the Capital Markets, Insurance and Savings (CMIS), have expressed the view that technology is key, and a number of regulatory changes are coming into effect or being explored to further boost the market. Here we describe the latest regulatory developments and what we are likely to see next. Read more

Regulating investment and lending-based crowdfunding: Best practices

This Report contains an analysis of the current regulatory framework for lending-based and investment-based crowdfunding platforms in the following countries: Austria, Dubai, France, Germany, the UK and the U.S. and recommendations for best practices for the regulation of lending-based and investment-based crowdfunding platforms. Read more

The Fintech Market in Asia Pacific – an overview

This overview will help you navigate the complex regulatory framework for fintech products across Asia Pacific. Read more here (Chinese version available here).

European fintech regulation – an overview

This report assesses regulation for fintech products across the EU. Read more

Open banking - what's next?

Over the next few years we will see banks make bold moves and use technology to transform their businesses

Smart contracts

Smart contracts: legal framework and proposed guidelines for lawmakers

This publication provides help for those seeking to promote or facilitate the use of smart contracts. Read more

Are smart contracts contracts?

Will smart contracts prove that the future of contract lies in machine executable software code-agreements, or are they rather an unhappy hybrid, neither smart, nor contracts? Read more

Smart contracts: legal agreements in the digital age

What are the benefits and risks of trusting machines to execute contracts? Read more