Is it time for the legal industry to recognise blockchain technology and finally embrace its capabilities to assist in a better managed system in different areas of law? It is also suggested that it could cut the cost of some legal services over time.
As previously and frequently published, blockchain technology can be used for a variety of applications but most of all its use as a distributed ledger (database).
Since, it has evolved as arguably the safest, secure and accurate way to store, distribute and log information on a database. Due to its infancy, it doesn’t have any legal background that specifically supports it. We at Lawdit can assist in blockchains application to the existing legal framework for data protection, the legal protection of databases and ownership rights. Our knowledge can support clients through a legal dispute that can arise. The music industry is in a digital age that has introduced the ability to stream music, piracy has increased, and artists have found themselves struggling to keep hold of ensuring royalties are paid correctly as well as retaining ownership of their work.
An important attribute of a blockchain ledger and why it is becoming more mainstream is that as soon as information is stored, it is incredibly difficult to access or corrupt. Advancing from the traditional use of a decentralized ledger just for cryptocurrency is the ability for a blockchain ledger to store, record and transmit documents as digital data. A more notable enhancement is the Ethereum blockchain which put into operation the smart contract invented by Nick Szabo in 1994. This is not as it seems, and the use of the term ‘contract’ can be confusing because a traditional legal application of a contract is offer, acceptance, and consideration which is not the same as a smart contracts operation. In fact, a smart contract is a term used to describe a computer program that self-executes, and then facilitates the enforcement of whatever the performance needed, as soon as specific conditions are met. These are written into the code based on the user’s requirements.
There is a lot of buzz at the moment by the Legal Services Board for various regulators to embrace what blockchain technology can provide. According to the Law Gazette, there was a podcast of which a University College London’s Faculty of Laws vice dean, Dr Anna Donovan had said ‘Blockchain provides significant opportunities to enhance consumers’ access to legal services, particularly once we reach widespread adoption. This will mean that consumers can have their legal needs met in a more direct, faster and potentially cheaper manner (in comparison to current models). There are huge opportunities across the legal services market, including for example in conveyancing and probate.’ Apparently there were discussion then had with the chair of the Legal Services Board, Dr Helen Philips had said that only ‘2% of legal service providers are using the technology’ and then said that ‘it increases transparency, builds trust and speeds up transactions, all of which will benefit the consumers’. Finally, Dr Philips exclaimed that ‘The potential uses of blockchain technology are both enormous and exciting, and it’s vital that the legal services sector seizes the opportunity to use it to improve access to justice.’
The more academic and leading, influential people that come forward to embrace the positive technological advances that using a blockchain ledger can provide, will result in laws having to be amended to accommodate the increased application.
At Lawdit, we have conducted research into the following areas in relation to blockchain technology:
- Data Protection within a blockchain ledger
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- Data Protection Impact Assessment
- Cross-border issues with a blockchain
- The Legal Protection of Databases
- Admissibility in Court as Evidence
- Blockchain and Copyright
- Ownership of Data
- Ownership of a Blockchain Database
- Circumvention of Technical Measures
- Blockchain Technology in the Music Industry
If you have any questions regarding Blockchain and the Law, please contact us for a free initial consultation.
Other than our own research and detailed understanding on blockchain technology and the law which we have developed over time, this article has used the following source to assist in this article: