Is all this talk about blockchain much ado about nothing, or can this mysterious cryptographic technology actually change the way that legal services are delivered? Here at FutureLaw Academy, we think it’s a matter of when, not if.
Here are just five ways that blockchain technology is set to transform legal services.
A smart contract is a self-executing contracts that resides on a decentralized and immutable ledger. Its introduction could renders intermediary services redundant - think contract implementation brokerages and agencies.
A key benefit of a smart contract is that it ultimately helps to secure trust, and avoid the consequences of broken trust. This is because a smart contract will ultimately fail to executie in the event that conditions agreed upon conditions are not met.
This doesn’t mean that disputes won’t arise, of course.
Traditional dispute resolution can be a very costly and time consuming matter.
Smart contracts pose several challenges that may give way to disputes:
This is why clauses that foresee such impacts are key. If a dispute arises, escalating it to a panel before which the dispute is discussed and settled, is key.
In a world where non-fungible tokens for digital rights to a pixelated image of an ape sold online for over US$1 million, intellectual property rights is an obvious stomping ground for blockchain technology.
The blockchain can support evidence of creation, first use, and rights management, and can track distribution. This ultimately prevents copyright infringement and enforces mitigation via time-stamped copies of work, aiding plaintiffs if appearing before a court.
Combining smart contracts with IP rights enforcement can result in artists - be they musicians, graphic artists, game designers, and so on - getting paid.
Land and property registries the world over are notorious for being out of date, decentralized, and restricted.
Blockchain can help the process of storing deeds, as well as the process of buying and selling property, all whilst maintaining accurate and real-time records. Not only that, but blockchain can support novel ways of buying and selling property, such as but not limited to fractional property sales.
Public service records are typically kept on paper, with digitization a slow and painful process. Countless hours go into maintaining records, and this process is ultimately subject to human error.
Applying the blockchain to the maintenance of real estate, birth, deaths and marriages registrations, healthcare, and so on, can significantly lessen the impact on Government services, will make it easier to do business in jurisdictions that adopt it, and lessen the burden on lawyers who need to access such records.
Steve Glaveski is the CEO and Co-Founder of Collective Campus which he established to help companies and their employees to create a more meaningful impact in the world in an age of rapid change and increasing uncertainty. Steve also founded Lemonade Stand - a children's entrepreneurship program, author of Wiley book, Employee to Entrepreneur: How to Earn Your Freedom and do Work That Matters, Harvard Business Review contributor, author of the Innovation Manager's Handbook vol 1 and 2, host of the Future Squared podcast, and keynote speaker. He previously founded HOTDESK, an office sharing platform and has worked for the likes of Westpac, Dun & Bradstreet, the Victorian Auditor General's Office, Ernst & Young, KPMG and Macquarie Bank. Follow him at @steveglaveski