Via Artificial Lawyer – What Really is Blockchain and Why Does it Matter to Lawyers? “Blockchain. It seems that in a blink of an eye the entire technology world is tilting on its axis with talk of distributed ledgers, cryptocurrencies, ICOs (initial coin offerings), and smart contracts. But what is blockchain, and why might it matter to the legal industry? In October 2008, a white paper was authored by Satoshi Nakamoto with the title, ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System‘. To this day, the actual identity of Nakamoto is unknown, but the current ecosystem of blockchains and their related cryptocurrencies, now worth nearly half a trillion dollars, owes its start to that white paper. The significance of Bitcoin is that its software design solved what is known as the “double spend problem” of digital currency, without involving intermediaries such as banks. In layman’s terms, what this means that, absent special technology, there is nothing to prevent someone from infinitely duplicating digital currency (which is just data). By contrast, if a customer were to take a physical twenty-dollar bill into a store and make a purchase, the customer must hand it to the clerk in exchange for the goods. The store now possesses that paper note, and the customer cannot spend it again. Because we trust the uniqueness of the paper note and the difficulty in duplicating it, we trust that it can store value…” [David Fisher is the founder of Integra Ledger, ‘the blockchain for law’, as well as a co-founder of the Global Legal Blockchain Consortium]
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