Blockchain: An Ounce of Prevention

In an article in Above the Law, technology consultants David Perla and Sanjay Kamlani warn lawyers of the perils of learning about blockchain “on the fly.” One lawyer they work with knew nothing about the technology until his client was charged with an SEC violation for selling equity in his company on a public cryptocurrency exchange. The lawyer called Kamlani in a panic. “If you’re a lawyer,” they write, “and you think you don’t need to worry about blockchain, think again. At this very moment, there are criminal lawyers, securities lawyers, corporate lawyers, employment lawyers amongst others, learning about blockchain in a crunch because their clients are pressed with an urgent matter.” Perla and Kamlani point out that many lawyers have ignored the need to learn about web-based finance on the basis of forecasts that question the permanence of  Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. “Blockchain is not Bitcoin,” they remind their readers. While Bitcoin may well turn out to be a “21st century tulip bubble […], blockchain and the broader ‘distributed ledger technology’ likely have as much staying power and relevance as the internet. Why? Because it eliminates friction.” I encourage you to a) read the cogent reasons for Perla’s and Kamlani’s confidence in the future of blockchain, and then b) immediately start learning about the technology. Don’t wait until it is your client phoning in a panic – and expecting that you will have the answers they need… and have every right to expect. I welcome your thoughts on this or any other matter related to the law, either in the comments below or directly via email.