The Emerging Blockchain and the Law

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The Wayne Law Review will host its annual symposium, this year on the topic of The Emerging Blockchain and the Law. The event is free and open to the public. 

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Symposium overview

In 2009, a cryptocurrency called Bitcoin first appeared in the world. While the spectacular price gyrations of Bitcoin, and of the many cryptocurrencies created in its image, captured the public's attention, less noticed has been the underlying technology, called "blockchain." Innovators soon realized that its special characteristics made blockchain suitable for a great many applications having nothing to do with cryptocurrencies.

Contrary to popular representation in the media, blockchain technology is suitable for a great many applications unrelated to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The decentralized, tamper-resistant nature of the technology has the potential to ensure the integrity of transactions among parties that have no basis to trust each other and removes the need for any central authority to mediate interactions. Enthusiasts have proposed a seemingly endless set of uses for blockchain technology: creating self-executing contracts, managing the supply chain, maintaining digital identities, trading in energy markets, decentralizing democracy, managing healthcare, delivering financial services, recording corporate filings, among much more.

The adoption of blockchain technology, like that of the internet and other digital technologies that preceded it, is creating a host of new legal issues. This symposium will explore the following three issues. First, the issues that are created when contracts are enforced automatically by technology rather than by a contracting party’s invocation of the coercive power of courts. Second, use of blockchain technology by local governments. Third, use by business organizations in applications such as controlling the supply chain and decentralizing management of the corporation itself.

This symposium is made possible by generous funding from the Cohn Family Endowed Fund.

For more information about this event, please contact Lauren Madison at or symposium_editor@wayne.edu.

Submissions for this form have closed on February 22, 2019 at 12:00 am.