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Blockchain & The Law Roundup: 3 April 2018

We have a slew of new articles coming in after the Easter break concerning blockchain and the law. All are worth reading, but the two we’d really highlight are MIT’s Tech Review who say, “States that are passing laws to govern “smart contracts” have no idea what they’re doing”. Also, Next Big Future have a piece about The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) who are actively looking into the capabilities of blockchain. This could herald huge changes in those jurisdictions.

 

Title:  How Will Blockchain Technology Transform Compliance?

Author: Bloomberg

Date: 2 April 2018

URL: https://biglawbusiness.com/how-will-blockchain-technology-transform-compliance/

Extract:  Blockchain is one of the most anticipated new technologies in the corporate world, with the potential to reshape the operational and regulatory landscape in a number of industries. The technology offers the promise of more accessible, more transparent and secure data processes. Uses for blockchain under development include trade reporting; clearing, confirmation, validation and settlement; recordkeeping; monitoring and surveillance; risk management; audit; management and financial accounting. Another anticipated use for the technology is regulatory compliance.

 

Title:  SMART CONTRACTS ARE SEEPING INTO U.S LAW – TENNESSEE PASSES BILL

Author: Bitcoinist

Date: 2 April 2018

URL: http://bitcoinist.com/smart-contracts-are-seeping-into-u-s-law-tennessee-passes-bill/

Extract:  Tennessee has become the latest U.S state to pass a bill recognizing the legal authority of blockchain technology and smart contracts in conducting electronic transactions.

The bill was passed by Tennessee Governor, Bill Haslam on March 26th, 2018, confirming the legal authority of blockchain and smart contract powered electronic transactions and also protecting the ownership rights of “certain information secured by blockchain technology.”

 

Title: Blockchain and ICO to fall under legal regulation in Russia

Author: RAPSI

Date: 2 April 2018

URL:  http://www.rapsinews.com/legislation_news/20180402/282383254.html

Extract:  The blockchain technology along with the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) will be legally regulated in Russia, First Vice Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said during “The Intellectual Property in Digital Age” meeting on Monday.

According to Shuvalov, regulation of blockchain and requirements for ICO will be written down in the directives of Russian state ministries and would not require a special law or a category of law.

At the meeting the experts said that there is no need to create separate laws for all of the promising trends of the digital economy including blockchain. For example, the head of Russia’s Intellectual Property watchdog Rospatent Grigory Ivliyev said that the service is already using and integrating blockchain technology.

 

Title: Hail, hail the blockchain kings!

Author:  Canadian Lawyer Magazine

Date: 2 April 2018

URL: http://www.canadianlawyermag.com/author/jim-middlemiss/hail-hail-the-blockchain-kings-15519/

Extract: 

Canadian law firms are tripping over themselves to be identified with the growing blockchain bandwagon and be seen as a leader in this rapidly emerging field.

If you don’t believe me, check out some recent blockchain announcements.

In October, Gowling WLG announced the creation of a dedicated blockchain and smart contracts practice group, claiming to be one of the first of its kind in Canada.

In November, Bennett Jones joined the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, an open-source blockchain group, while Dentons in December announced it was the first Canadian law firm to join the Global Legal Blockchain Consortium, which is pushing for the use of blockchain technology to enhance the privacy, security, productivity and interoperability within the legal industry ecosystem.

In January, securities law boutique Wildeboer Dellelce LLP upped the ante, putting its money where its mouth is by announcing it would accept crypto-currency payment for legal fees. Crypto-currency relies on blockchain technology.

Heck, even Ontario legal insurance provider LawPRO got in on the action, posting a video and infographic in January that explains blockchain basics for lawyers.

 

Title: Moving Towards Blockchain Registration Control of Patents & IP

Author: Next Big Future

Date: 31 March 2018

URL: https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2018/03/moving-towards-blockchain-registration-control-of-patents-and-intellectual-property.html

Extract:  The World Intellectual Property Association has an article in WIPO magazine, “Blockchain and IP law: a match made in crypto heaven?” by Birgit Clark, Baker McKenzie, London, United Kingdom on Feb, 2018.

This article summarizes the points made in that article.

* The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) is actively looking into the capabilities of blockchain
* the EU Commission has plans for a blockchain observatory
* the US Congress recently created a Congressional Blockchain Caucus.

Global standards for self-executing contracts are being discussed by various organizations.

The world is moving towards large-scale legal application of blockchain technology. There are still many questions of governing laws and jurisdictions, enforceability of smart rights, data security and privacy concerns, reliable rules and definitions for smart contracts.

 

Title: Top Ten Best Practices for an ICO Founders’ Team: A View from the Cayman Islands

Author: Lexology / Loeb Smith

Date: March 2018

URL: https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=0c82bfec-0b2d-4c8f-80eb-f166e1939987

Extract: In a research paper on initial coin offerings (“ICOs”) published in December 2017 , it was noted that fewer projects had reached their financing goals…

 

Title: Patentability of Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology

Author: Legal Intelligencer

Date: 29 March 2018

URL: https://www.law.com/thelegalintelligencer/2018/03/29/patentability-of-blockchain-and-distributed-ledger-technology/

Extract: Decentralized data structure management technology (DDSM), such as blockchain and distributed ledger technology, is grabbing ever-increasing attention as a result of its potential to revolutionize the way we conduct business, run our governments and go about daily life.

 

Title: States that are passing laws to govern “smart contracts” have no idea what they’re doing Legislation meant to clarify things for blockchain developers could end up hurting innovation.

Author: MIT Technology Review

Date: 29 March 2018

URL: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/610718/states-that-are-passing-laws-to-govern-smart-contracts-have-no-idea-what-theyre-doing/

Extract:  Like it or not, we seem to be stuck with the term “smart contract.”  The technology, which can be used to automate transactions on a blockchain, is still so new that no one really agrees on its definition. Nevertheless, several states in the US are moving quickly to codify it into their laws—which, given where things stand, might not be so smart.

 

Title: Chinese Blockchain Center Called Off For Legislative Reasons

Author: Smartereum

Date: 29 March 2018

URL: https://smartereum.com/6804/chinese-blockchain-center-called-off-for-legislative-reasons/

Extract:  In a surprising twist, the Chinese Government has backed out of developing an International Blockchain Investment Development Center which it announced early March. The primary reason cited by the government for halting plans on the Blockchain Center is legal difficulties it faces in setting up branch offices.

A publication was released on the Investment Association of China’s (IAC) website yesterday, titled “China Investment Association’s Foreign Investment Committee International Blockchain Investment Development Center”. It stated that according to the Chinese law,
social organizations cannot set up branch offices under representative offices of branch offices. This compelled the IAS denied their request for Blockchain center.

 

Title:  FisherBroyles Bags Blockchain, Fintech Pro From Sheppard Mullin Fast-growing virtual firm FisherBroyles has brought on Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton partner Adam Ettinger in Los Angeles and Silicon Valley.

Author: Law.com

Date: 29 March 2018

URL: https://www.law.com/therecorder/2018/03/29/fisherbroyles-bags-blockchain-fintech-pro-from-sheppard-mullin/

Extract: Blockchain legal expert Adam Ettinger has left Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton to join cloud-based firm FisherBroyles as a partner and co-chair of its financial technology and blockchain practice group.

At FisherBroyles, a so-called virtual law firm that has grown rapidly in recent years, Ettinger will work out of Los Angeles and Palo Alto. His new firm’s “cloud-commuting” model offers a greater measure of flexibility, both in terms of hourly rates and work-life balance.

“In the way these business models are architected, we spend all of our time really focusing on the clients, rather than internal administration and bureaucratic processes, which can be quite extensive for Am Law partners,” said Ettinger, who officially started at FisherBroyles a week ago.

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