Given the ongoing global buzz about distributed ledger technology (DLT), I thought that I would offer up a bit of a diversion from the current public discourse about blockchain, including the non-stop blizzard of conversation about public versus private blockchains, scaling, use cases, interoperability, consortia, smart contracts and more. I thought that for today I would write about law. More specifically, the practice of law in the distributed ledger age.
Let me preface this post by stating that I am not an attorney, although over the course of my career I’ve had many, many conversations with extremely capable lawyers across all disciplines. In addition, this article is the result of some thought exercises that occurred in the wake of several conversations with industry specialists, as well as the insightful commentary by CFTC Commissioner Giancarlo as part of his keynote at the May 10th, 2016 Markit Customer Conference in New York City. Of particular interest to me was his commentary that “…DLT could be the biggest technological innovation in the financial services industry and financial market regulation in a generation or more…”. That statement and the follow on commentary raised an interesting question in my mind. What have we done or, more importantly what should we do, about the aspects of blockchain technology that impact how we live, exist and interact in a legal framework?