On Demand

Introduction to Blockchain and the Law: Understanding Smart Contracts & Blockchain Technology


Created on July 27, 2020





This series of three programs are designed to be a comprehensive guide to the new practice area of blockchain law. We will examine what blockchain is, also known as distributed ledger technology ("DLT"), and how it is used within our existing and pending laws and regulations both at the various state levels including New York, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, California, Wyoming, and Texas as well federal agencies including U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), U.S. Treasuries Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). We will review foundation case law including the relevant factors of the Howey Test to the recently settled SEC vs. Telegram case. The course will focus on the past, present, and future of this technology as it relates to the law and the hurdles that must be overcome both at the startup and developmental business levels, as well as the public company level including Overstock and J.P. Morgan.

In Blockchain and the Law Part I, faculty Jonathan Dunsmoor will take a high-level view of what a smart contract is and what it means to be compared to a blockchain or other distributed ledger technology. The course will use layman's terms in connecting the technology to the legal parameters that it can and will affect. This will allow you to speak functionally and correctly about the topic at a basic technology level and will allow you as a lawyer to focus on the more complicated elements of the law as this technology develops and you continue through the course.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify what the technology means for lawyers and the public at large, including the history of Bitcoin and its smart contract evolution
  2. Examine the functionality and some of the inherent problems within the use of digital contracts and what information can and cannot be included on a blockchain
  3. Analyze how blockchain technology functions within the parameters of basic contract law, and the advantages and disadvantages of such a system 

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