Blockchains: How They Work and Why They Matter

(454 Ratings)

Produced on: February 13, 2018

Course Format On Demand Audio

Taught by


Course Description

Time 61 minutes
Difficulty Advanced

"Blockchain" – or "general ledger" technology – has been heralded by some as one of the most important and disruptive information technology developments since the internet. Although initially developed as the protocol on which bitcoin runs, the technology has proven to have applications across myriad industries ranging from financial services to supply chain management to licensing. Still in its early stages, the speed of blockchain adoption has been unprecedented.

Join Skadden's Stuart Levi and James Talbot as they discuss the legalities surrounding blockchains like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies. They will provide an overview of blockchains and how they work, as well as address how “private” or “permissioned” blockchains are different, offer examples of potential use cases, and discuss the validity and best practices for the use of smart contracts.  

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify how blockchains work and the many ways the technology may be used
  2. Address the differences beyond the various blockchain initiatives
  3. Assess the role of so-called "smart contracts" and best practices for use
  4. Discuss the laws that have already be implemented to account for these new technologies


Stuart D. Levi

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Stuart D. Levi is co-head of Skadden’s Intellectual Property and Technology Group, and coordinates the firm’s outsourcing and privacy practices. He has a broad and diverse practice that includes outsourcing transactions, technology and intellectual property licensing, privacy and cybersecurity advice, fintech and blockchain matters, branding and distribution agreements, cloud computing agreements, technology transfers, strategic alliances and joint ventures. His background in computer science, data privacy and the information technology industry allows Mr. Levi to understand the technology and business drivers underlying agreements and transactions in these areas.

James S. Talbot

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

James Talbot focuses on transactional matters. His experience includes complex technology development and licensing, intellectual property matters relating to mergers and acquisitions, outsourcing of business practices, information security and privacy projects, as well as Internet domain name matters.

Since joining the firm in 1997, Mr. Talbot has counseled a broad array of clients, both large and small, covering a wide range of businesses. He is a co-editor of the firm’s monthly Privacy and Cybersecurity Update and is a frequent speaker on security, outsourcing, domain names and intellectual property matters.


Douglas B.

Absolutely outstanding presentation

Charles S.

I had no idea. Spent an hour discussing the apparent confluence of IT and law with my daughter who is starting college with interest in computing technology and two lawyer parents. You guys must be having a blast with this practice. Thanks

Robert K.


Matthew B.

Very informative, best into a complicated topic

John H.

Excellent program for a "first step." I need to learn a lot more about this.

David D.

Excellent presentation!

Elizabeth I.

Good graphics and excellent presentation, esp Speaker 1. Helped make the complex accessible.

Jamie P.

Best overview of block technology and bitcoin I have seen.

Jeffrey K.

very informative

Scott N.

Excellent speakers

Kent M.


Janine F.

great program

Scott A.

Very nicely done, with good breakdowns of the pertinent tech, relevant analogies and effective use cases

Randall G.

Very informative

Stacey N.

Excellent program. Timely, relevant, and easy to follow, given the complex subject matter.

Randy B.

Good start on an interesting topic. More examples of the use of Blockchain would be great as well as the issues related to Personal Jurisdiction with contracts.

William H.

Good intro on an emerging topic

david P.


Patricia F.

wow, learned a lot about a term ive been hearing and had no idea what it was. both speakers were great at using analogies to explain complex concepts

Richard C.

very, very good introduction of the concepts

Aleksejs B.

Excellent course!

Wick C.


Samuel Y.

Super job on a complicated subject.

Dane R.

Great course. Clear and informative.

Debra S.

Excellent presentation and knowledgeable speakers. Explained a difficult topic very well.

Kent W.

Great job and presentation and analogies.

Karen J.

Really interesting subject matter for a CLE.

David M.

Cool topic

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