Pause the Blockchain Legal Revolution
(2020) 69(1) International & Comparative Law Quarterly 135-175
32 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2019 Last revised: 6 Apr 2020
Date Written: June 20, 2019
When bitcoin was released by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008, few could have predicted that it would attract as much attention as it has today. It has spawned a veritable host of other cryptocurrencies, including ether on the upstart Ethereum network, which boasts smart contract functionality. The underlying blockchain technology has also attracted attention, with some within the blockchain community suggesting that it can solve such diverse problems as secured digital voting to tracking food provenance. In the legal context, blockchains have been envisaged as capable of revolutionizing registries for assets ranging from land to intellectual property, modernising clearing and settlement, and even fundamentally transforming the contracting process. This paper critically evaluates the popular claims surrounding the potential of blockchain technologies to disrupt the legal system by separating hype from fact.
Keywords: blockchain, asset registry, land registry, smart contracts, law reform, technology, fintech
JEL Classification: K11, K12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation