Blockchain and cryptocurrency legal services
The emergence in recent years of the blockchain and cryptocurrency phenomena provides companies with exciting opportunities, but such benefits also come with the possibility of cyber-risk, particularly as such technology is largely operating in uncharted legal territory.
What is blockchain?
In simple terms, blockchain refers to a digital database or ledger of recorded information.
Blockchain differs from traditional ledgers because more than one – and often thousands – of identical copies can be accessed at the same time from anywhere in the world.
As a user changes or updates a piece of information, all other copies of the ledger are automatically updated. There is no central server, and the technologies used to code and validate the stored information make cyber-attacks difficult.
So called ‘smart contracts’ often use blockchain technology. Although not officially ‘contracts’ in the legal sense, they are a highly efficient method of performing an automated task following a pre-determined set of circumstances e.g. a smart contract can be coded to pay ticket holders compensation in the event that their train is late.
Bodies that operate in such a way are known as Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs.)
What is cryptocurrency?
Without blockchain, cryptocurrency would not exist. Digital currencies, including the most well know – Bitcoin – employ encryption techniques and via blockchain, the units of currency are regulated and transferred independently of a centralised bank or financial institution.
“Virtual currencies, perhaps most notably Bitcoin, have captured the imagination of some, struck fear among others, and confused the heck out of the rest of us.” – Thomas Carper, US-Senator.
Cryptocurrency is no different to physical bank notes and coins if you consider that they too are simply verified entries in a database of accounts and transactions that ‘promise to pay the bearer’.
Legal issues relating to blockchain and cryptocurrency
At Mackrell Turner Garrett our expert Crime and Regulatory Law team is able to provide specialist legal advice and support on issues relating to both blockchain and cryptocurrency matters including:
- Your legal right and obligations
- Contractual issues including breach of contract
- Jurisdictional and cross-border advice
- Insuring cryptocurrency and other cyber risk security issues
- Insolvency and forensic legal advice
Experts in international jurisdictional law
As a founding member of Mackrell International, one of the largest international organisations of independent law firms in the world with 170 offices globally, we have unrivalled legal expertise regarding all aspects of international law to support cross-border transactions and multi-jurisdictional matters.
Nigel, Rowley is head of Mackrell Turner Garrett in London and is also Head of Litigation and Dispute Resolution in the London office of Mackrell Turner Garrett he is experienced in complex litigation matters, and various forms of dispute resolution.
He has been partner at the firm for more than two-and-a-half decades and has seen how the international legal market has changed significantly through his work on various cross-border disputes, and multi-jurisdictional litigation.
This experience has led him to become chairman of Mackrell International – a network of more than 4,500 lawyers from more than 90 member firms in 60 countries.
Languages spoken in our London office include Cantonese, English, French, German, Gujarati, Hindi, Italian, Punjabi and Spanish and Swahili.
To find out how we can help you with issues relating to blockchain and cryptocurrency, please contact us.