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Gowling Law Firm Partners Up With Decentral

The Lawyers Daily (Canada) reports that law firm Gowling WLG has formed what it is calling a strategic alliance with Toronto-based Decentral Inc.

Decentral was founded by Anthony Diiorio, who also co-founded Ethereum, and  produces Jaxx, a cryptocurrency wallet & multi-token blockchain interface.

According to Gowling WLG, the alliance will allow the companies to “optimize the many commercial and legal applications of blockchain technology” and to “fuse their expertise on a number of significant initiatives — from engineering practical smart contract technology and drafting foundational legal precedents documents, to helping regulators establish frameworks that encourage the responsible growth of Canada’s thriving blockchain sector.”

Usman Sheikh, a partner in the firm and the head of Gowling WLG’s blockchain and smart contracts group, said the new arrangement will allow the firm to address the realities of today’s changing technological and business landscape.

“As lawyers, we are intermediaries and our profession is one that is not immune from disruption. This alliance will help us be on the forefront and on the cutting edge, and allow us to shift our business to make sure that we are in front of the wave and are trailblazers and not followers. In the coming year and the coming years, through this alliance we expect to see a lot of novel applications that we are working on in combination with Decentral that will impact our own practice of the profession.”

As an alliance, benefit is expected to flow two ways. Gowling WLG will provide legal support for Decentral as the company grows and develops new projects, and Decentral will assist Gowling WLG develop its internal blockchain infrastructure and client-facing tools.

Decentral will also be expected to participate and share knowledge during Gowling’s monthly blockchain and smart contracts practice group meetings which are devoted to discussions about new technology. The organizations will also write thought leadership pieces together and engage in speaking opportunities together — something that Gowling WLG and Decentral have been co-operating on for more than a year.

But Sheikh believes that more than just Gowling WLG and Decentral will benefit from the pairing.

“We’re agreeing to support each other but we are also agreeing to support the blockchain community and Canada’s role in the blockchain community,” he said.

Having a deep understanding of blockchain technology is critical to the practice of the law, which is one of the reasons why Sheikh said it is helpful to have a partner that can explain the technical aspects.

“From our perspective, we want to understand this technology through and through because the law is in part driven by the very nature and the very essence of this technology. So, for example, what is a bitcoin? Is it a security? Is it a commodity? Is it property? Is it a currency? Is it an asset class? Is it all of the above? In part, the answer to that will be governed by what is the technological underpinning behind that particular cryptocurrency. And the same thing with other proofs of concepts we are seeing coming out of banks and insurance companies and many others.

“There is no shortage of novel ideas and applications that people are coming up with in blockchain, but in order to understand the law’s application to those and what legal issues are being implicated by those projects, we have to understand that technology and what is effectively operating under the hood.”

He explained the firm’s goal will be to use that knowledge to assist clients, especially those who aren’t currently part of the blockchain ecosystem, to adapt to the new technology and the business opportunities it brings.

“We are looking to be with our clients step by step as blockchain looks to disrupt their own businesses. We want to make sure that we are offering them legal solutions that can get them to where they need to go and that the technical alliance we have with Decentral will certainly help in that regard.” Gowling WLG has formed what it is calling a strategic alliance with Toronto-based Decentral Inc.

Decentral was founded by Anthony Diiorio, who co-founded Ethereum, and it produces Jaxx, a cryptocurrency wallet and multi-token blockchain interface.

According to Gowling WLG, the alliance will allow the companies to “optimize the many commercial and legal applications of blockchain technology” and to “fuse their expertise on a number of significant initiatives — from engineering practical smart contract technology and drafting foundational legal precedents documents, to helping regulators establish frameworks that encourage the responsible growth of Canada’s thriving blockchain sector.”

Read full article at   https://www.thelawyersdaily.ca/articles/6076/gowling-wlg-teams-up-with-blockchain-company

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