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Bitcoin ... you tried to ignore it, but you’ve run out of time. The clock struck midnight with this recent headline from the New York Times:
Bitcoin Sees Wall Street Warm to Trading Virtual Currency
According to the article:
The parent company of the New York Stock Exchange has been working on an online trading platform that would allow large investors to buy and hold Bitcoin ....
But it’s not just Bitcoin; it’s the blockchain too. The article goes on to say:
Many corporations and governments have expressed interest in the technology that Bitcoin introduced, particularly a form of database known as the blockchain.
So if corporations, governments, and Wall Street are warming up to Bitcoin and blockchain, this means that everyone better start warming up, especially lawyers.
The LexisNexis white paper Money Moves From Ducats To Dollars To Digital points out that practice groups and legal networks have been forming to address the legal issues surrounding blockchains and digital currency. So already, many lawyers are recognizing the legal value of blockchain issues. In fact, the white paper goes on to state that blockchain, more than any other technology, will drive the next wave of legal innovation and transform the business of law. To drive the point home, blockchain has been called “the most important addition to the legal infrastructure since William the Conqueror gave rise to common law.”
So if blockchain has the transformative potential of common law, what does that transformation look like? Here’s 6 ways that blockchain will change the legal industry forever:
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have exploded, reaching a total market capitalization of over $147 billion. They are perceived by many as a disruptive technology, poised to transform banking and payment industries forever. While this remains in doubt, for as long as cryptocurrency is here, lawyers in many areas, including litigation, must adapt and understand this new technology.
Of course, blockchain’s transformative nature isn’t limited to the lawful side of our modern society. It’s transformative for the unlawful side too. In answering the question, “What are the bad guys up to?” the LexisNexis white paper quotes this from RSA engineer Ahmed Sonbol:
With the rise of ransomware in the past couple of years, cryptocurrency and in particular Bitcoin gained more popularity. Due to the level of anonymity it provides, Bitcoin became the criminals’ preferred currency to receive the ransom ....
Another threat to organizations is the rise of cryptocurrency mining malware. This class of malicious software infects a victim machine and enrolls it in a larger mining botnet.
And in describing cryptocurrencies (e.g., Bitcoin) as “a massive cat and mouse game with law enforcement,” Jason Bloomberg , writing for Forbes, listed four primary areas of criminal activity that lend themselves to cryptocurrency. They are:
Looking at blockchain’s (and Bitcoin’s) criminal and legitimate uses, it’s becoming harder and harder to deny blockchain’s place in today’s world. Despite this, some argue that the technology is years away from impacting most industries or being accepted by consumers. On the opposite end, there are those who argue that the technology is here and here to stay. Somewhere in the middle, we're cautiously warned that blockchain integration is coming but coming very fast—as it is in the financial sector where Bitcoin is considered by some to be global currency.
Whatever the answer, there’s one universal truth: blockchain is not a matter of “if” but a matter of “when.” And to be ready for the arrival of “when,” to help you unravel digital dollars and digital ledgers, you need to read the LexisNexis white paper Money Moves From Ducats To Dollars To Digital. This white paper looks at:
Download your free copy of the LexisNexis white paper Money Moves From Ducats To Dollars To Digital.