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Smart Contracts

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We have previously written about how U.S. states have, one by one, passed legislation relating to blockchain. As we enter 2020, Illinois has become the latest state to do so. The Blockchain Technology Act took effect on January 1, 2020. Under the Act, “blockchain” is defined as “an electronic record created by the use of a decentralized method by multiple parties to verify and store a digital record of transactions which is secured by the…

A UK Government-backed, industry-led initiative has published an expert legal statement recognising cryptoassets as property and smart contracts as enforceable agreements under English law. The statement is published by the UK Jurisdiction Taskforce (UKJT), a taskforce of the UK’s Lawtech Delivery Panel. The report concludes that: Cryptoassets are, in principle, to be treated as property under English law. They are not disqualified from being property by their distinctive features (intangibility, cryptographic authentication, use of a…

The UK Jurisdiction Taskforce (“UKJT”) recently published a consultation paper on the status of cryptoassets, DLT, and smart contracts under English private law. The UKJT is one of the six taskforces of the LawTech Delivery Panel created by the Law Society of England and Wales. The LawTech Delivery Panel was set up in October 2018 and is formed of a team of industry experts and leading figures from government and the judiciary, aimed at helping the…

The Italian Parliament recently introduced distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) into the Italian legal system. Law Decree No. 135/2018 – which was passed into law on February 7 by the Italian Parliament – provides a precise definition of DLTs as “technologies and IT protocols using a shared, distributed, replicable and simultaneously accessible ledger, decentralized and encrypted, which enable the registration, validation, updating and storage of data, whether encrypted or not, which cannot be modified or forged.”…

The blockchain phenomenon has brought an ever increasing use of smart contracts.  Those contracts raise numerous issue for disputes lawyers.  Some are variations of old themes.  But others are unique to developing technologies.  Our ” What To Expect When Litigating Smart Contract Disputes” article looks at both sets of issues.

It may be the moment for the IP profession to get to grips with the use of blockchain technology in its practice. Blockchain has, of course, risen to its current fame as the technology underpinning cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, but how relevant is it to IP professionals and trademark law and practice?  In their Article, Time to Get Smart?, Birgit Clark and Rachel Wilkinson-Duffy, Baker McKenzie, London, explore the idea of “smart IP rights” and…

Our blog reports on blockchain developments around the world and across industries. For those of our readers interested in some blockchain basics, Baker McKenzie has just published “Unhashing Blockchain: Blockchain Explained.”  In it, we provide an overview of blockchain technology, discuss how it is being used and identify the legal issues that will arise (or have already arisen) in connection with this nascent technology.

On Monday 3 October, the European Parliament adopted a non-legislative Resolution on distributed ledger technologies (DLT) / blockchain. In the Resolution, the Parliament makes clear that it is keen to make Europe a leading player in the blockchain field. It discusses a range of blockchain use cases including: improving data efficiency and the reporting of clinical trials in the health sector; improving supply chain processes, such as facilitating the forwarding and monitoring of origin of…

On September 19,  2018, the Ukranian Parliament published a draft law which aims to set out the legal basis for the taxation of transactions involving virtual assets. The draft law defines the concept of “virtual assets,”  as well as concepts such as “cryptocurrency,”  “distributed ledger,” “token,” and “mining.” The draft law (available here in Ukrainian) seeks to introduce a separate taxation regime for transactions involving virtual assets. Thus, if a transaction involves a conversion of…

Enhanced efficiency, collaboration, transparency and trust are some of the key claims of blockchain technology that are appealing to many industries, including the real estate sector. Land registries around the world (including in Sweden and the Republic of Georgia) are exploring the use of blockchain and smart contracts to enable real estate contracts and property records to be completed and monies distributed in an effective and timely manner. On Monday 1 October, the UK’s HM…