Blockchain and the Law

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* Article: Blockchain and the Law – Legality, Law-like Characteristics, and Legal Applications. By Eric Alston. July 2021


"Because of the range of potential applications of blockchain, the technology has a complex relationship with the law. As a novel and economically significant form of organization, blockchain’s intersection with the law tends to involve one of three things. First, when describing the most salient application of the technology - to develop and secure cryptocurrency networks - the question tends to deal with the legal status of a given cryptocurrency. Second, blockchains themselves have important law-like characteristics in terms of their effects in constraining and incentivizing network participants to act in the interest of network users. Third, blockchains have several potentially transformative legal applications in terms of facilitating smart contracts and more complex associational forms. In this chapter I detail each of these distinct relationships between blockchain and the law in order to clarify the legal space for blockchain scholars and protocol designers."


* Book: Blockchain and the Law: The Rule of Code. By Primavera De Filippi and Aaron Wright. Harvard University Press, 2018

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"Disintermediation―a blockchain’s greatest asset―subverts critical regulation. By cutting out middlemen, such as large online operators and multinational corporations, blockchains run the risk of undermining the capacity of governmental authorities to supervise activities in banking, commerce, law, and other vital areas. De Filippi and Wright welcome the new possibilities inherent in blockchains. But as Blockchain and the Law makes clear, the technology cannot be harnessed productively without new rules and new approaches to legal thinking."