A second edition of its blockchain report has been published by the Law Society. Produced in association with Tech London Advocates (TLA) Legal and Regulatory Group, the report covers a range of key issues for legal practitioners to be aware of when advising on distributed ledger technology (DLT) related matters and is a useful guide for lawyers who want to understand more about DLT, blockchain and other crypto related issues. DLT is defined as an umbrella term for technologies that seek to store, synchronise and maintain digital records across a network of computing centres (as distinct from centralised and decentralised ledgers). The best known example of a DLT is blockchain.
The report is divided into two parts, the first dealing with developing technologies and the second looking at the impacts and how DLT is changing the way services (including law) are practised, as well as the implications for areas of litigation. Alongside well-known crypto assets such as the cryptocurrency bitcoin, the report states that DLTs provide opportunities to build new platforms, products and protocols.
Many lawyers in various fields will need to be aware, not only of how network technology and other code-based technologies operate, but how these technologies impact the wider areas of litigation and how smart contracts will change the way financial, property and legal services are carried out. The impact will be widespread and will leave very few areas of law unaffected.
The report builds on the contents the first edition which was published back in September 2020.
The report points out that, over the past 18 months there has been a proliferation in the commercial and technological developments and use of DLT. Alongside better known uses of the technology, such as Bitcoin, DLTs provide opportunities to “build new platforms, products and protocols, from non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and stablecoins to increasing research and experimentation around Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) and a growth in decentralised finance (DeFi). And new regulations and legislation are being introduced to catch up and keep pace.
“At the same time, lawyers are increasingly assuming the role of ‘project managers’, working with various technological experts and specialists. They need to be aware not only of how network technology and other code-based technologies operate, but how these technologies impact on the wider areas of litigation, including how decentralisation and smart contracts are changing the very way financial, property and legal services are carried out.
“As the complexity of DLT grows so does the need for lawyers to understand it. This guidance aims to provide a useful stepping-stone in this process, and we hope it will be useful not only to lawyers but to all those working in this landscape, including technologists and academics”.
The report can be found on the Law Society website at https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/topics/research/blockchain-legal-and-regulatory-guidance-second-edition whilst the original version is at https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/topics/research/blockchain-legal-and-regulatory-guidance-report .