Blockchain might be the most important addition to the legal infrastructure since William the Conqueror gave rise to common law.
A standout session from the third day of programming at the 2017 International Legal Technology Association Conference (ILTACON), “Where Does Blockchain Fit in Legal?,” brought together a diverse panel of experts and a packed room of participants at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.
Differing in their ultimate opinions of the technology, the panel all agreed that blockchain might be the most important addition to the legal infrastructure since William the Conqueror gave rise to common law. The standing-room-only crowd further underscored a growing awareness for the need to prepare attorneys and firms for an emerging technology that could be as disruptive as Web 1.0 was in the 1990s.
“In the history of money, agreements, contracts and even general law we have come to a significant milestone. And that milestone is blockchain,” said John Alber, an ILTA futurist and previously Bryan Cave’s strategic innovation partner.
Stephen Palley, an attorney with Anderson Kill appeared to be only half-joking as he hyperbolically asserted blockchain to be the “answer to life, the universe and everything.” Palley also took the time to define blockchain itself and some of the associated vocabulary.
According to Palley, blockchain was first mentioned in a Bitcoin whitepaper written by Satoshi Nakamoto, which is likely an alias for a group of people.
“Bitcoin was first described in 2009 as a peer-to-peer financial system where people could engage in financial transactions without a centralized server or intermediary,” Palley explained. “Effectively making it possible to send money to someone without going through a bank.”
Bitcoin was built on a blockchain, which Palley described as a “list of sequential blocks that contains data.” The genius of the theory is the ability to “create the blocks in such a way that each block includes – in its header – a reference to all of the blocks that came before it. The practical reality is that once you’ve added a block to the chain it is impossible to roll back.”
To read the full article: Is Blockchain Technology the Biggest Disruption in Law?