If the internet we use today is the internet of information, blockchain is the internet of value that can fundamentally transform business, economy & society as we know it. Blockchain allows us to decentralise trust, creating the basis for a peer-to-peer crypto economy, powered by auto enforcable smart contracts. Blockchain is the driving force of the next generation Internet, the Decentral Web. It is a protocol that allows us to disintermediate transactions buy building Smart Contracts and DAOs (Decentraized Autonomous Organizations) on top of it. But before we start building the next killer apps on the blockchain we need to look past the hype and understand it's potential pitfalls.
Blockchain, the technology behind bitcoin, is considered by many to be the next big thing. A game changer that allows us to decentralize trust. Transactions on the blockchain through auto enforcable 'smart contracts' are faster & cheaper and arguably more secure than transactions that classically run through central neural authorities. Smart Contracts, dApps (Decentralized Applications) and DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) are the new buzzwords that can enable a society where we can have:
- Money without Banks
- Companies without Managers
- Governments without Politicians
It may sound utopian, but it is already happening. But, and that is the focus of this talk, people are people, and technology can only auto execute what is programmed into it.
If the protocols & algorithm on the blockchain define the 'constitution', the underlying crypto laws of our future crypto economy, if they define the rules of how people will interact with each other in the future, what happens when the algorithm becomes outdated? It will have to be modified though consensus. But consensus on the blockchain is not easy as we can see from the challenges that bitcoin is currently facing. So, if the protocols we define today are the constitutional foundations our future societies, if the coders of today are the lawyers of tomorrow, we will need to learn from history and the challenges of modern democracy, before we set out to build the next killer dApps on the blockchain.
Another question that arises: Are the coders of today the lawyers of the future? How do these new technologies fit into existing legal structures? National and international law already have a problem coping with the the classic internet, not speaking of the next generation internet that is completely serverless. What do we need to do to create adequate legal structures for decentralized/distributed organizations, on chain as well as off chain? And how can we merge smart contracts with legal contracts?