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Blockchain and the Law

The Rule of Code
Narrated by: Teri Schnaubelt
Length: 8 hrs and 55 mins
4 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)
Regular price: £19.29
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Summary

Since Bitcoin appeared in 2009, the digital currency has been hailed as an Internet marvel and decried as the preferred transaction vehicle for all manner of criminals. It has left nearly everyone without a computer-science degree confused: Just how do you "mine" money from ones and zeros?  

The answer lies in a technology called blockchain, which can be used for much more than Bitcoin. A general-purpose tool for creating secure, decentralized peer-to-peer applications, blockchain technology has been compared to the Internet itself in both form and impact. Some have said this tool may change society as we know it. 

Blockchains are being used to create autonomous computer programs known as "smart contracts", to expedite payments, to create financial instruments, to organize the exchange of data and information, and to facilitate interactions between humans and machines. The technology could affect governance itself by supporting new organizational structures that promote more democratic and participatory decision making.  

Primavera De Filippi and Aaron Wright acknowledge this potential and urge the law to catch up. That is because disintermediation - a blockchain's greatest asset - subverts critical regulation. By cutting out middlemen, such as large online operators and multinational corporations, blockchains run the risk of undermining the capacity of governmental authorities to supervise activities in banking, commerce, law, and other vital areas. 

De Filippi and Wright welcome the new possibilities inherent in blockchains. But as Blockchain and the Law makes clear, the technology cannot be harnessed productively without new rules and new approaches to legal thinking.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2018 The President and Fellows of Harvard College (P)2018 Tantor

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  • Philo
  • 07-09-18

Big on concepts, big picture, fundamentals

People who have dug deep into this field and the legal concepts will be drumming their fingers for awhile, because the book starts from ground zero of understanding, and builds toward the legal facets. The view is mostly more from 30,000 feet, as in, getting a deep understanding of where we are and where things can go, rather than nuts and bolts of threading through existing laws. But this is, I think, necessary, as this field is very much under construction. As I write, today, a couple major banks pulled back from creating crypto trading desks, and prices of the major coins plunged. Investors seem to be wondering if, when and how crypto will get traction and scale in the real (mainstream, lawful) economy. So, I want this kind of broader understanding and context to approach things as they unfold. Within its scope, the book is a model of clarity, and should be readily understandable to the relative novice. The treatment of smart contracts is the most complete and thoughtful I have seen (for such a popular format as this) -- helpfully keeping a neutral voice with strong critical thinking and exposure of flaws, unlike the (conflict-riddled, uncritical, "gee whiz") boosterism I have mostly seen elsewhere. This book is one of the best entry points I have seen into its subjects.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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