Back in the late nineties, digital businesses were springing up everywhere and whilst the “bricks and mortar” companies have not died away completely they have certainly been disrupted and either had to add a digital arm to their business or transform completely into an online concern. In this current era, blockchain, a Distributed Ledger Technology, has the promise to disintermediate a whole plethora of established businesses, whether online or not. The UK Government wants to get ahead of this and ensure that Britain is seen as a pioneer in blockchain and associated functionality. To that end in January this year they established an All Party Parliamentary Group (@appg_blockchain) focused on blockchain. The APPG has representatives from Government (MPs), industry practitioners, law firms and various technology associations and bodies. Ultimately the idea is that the APPG Blockchain will advise parliament on the current state of blockchain and recommend any regulation or policy changes. In a prepared statement the group has stated that:
‘The APPG Blockchain will ensure that parliamentarians are fully informed of the opportunities that blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies (DLT) will bring to industry and society and will promote the UK as a leader in Blockchain/DLT’s innovation and implementation.’
We are firmly committed to the future of blockchain as a key component of advanced legal AI software. We see the intersection of Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain as a key development in encoding contractual information on the distributed ledger. We have pointed out before that Smart Contracts (SCs) as a construct are certainly part of the future. We have identified some short-comings with SCs and proposed a more advanced approach, Intelligence Contracts (ICs). We propose a private blockchain that users can subscribe to allowing the relevant parties to negotiate on that blockchain. We are adding advanced layers for security and distributed learning so that our AI is able to meet GDPR requirements for our customers while still enabling them to securely share knowledge.
Later in the year, we will be giving evidence to the group specifically on SCs, ICs and the intersection of blockchain and AI. Seal is in the vanguard of intelligent contracting and together with like-minded companies, we believe we must educate the regulators and the policymakers as to what opportunities like ahead utilizing these technologies, not just for private companies but also for society as a whole.
Last week I attended a dinner where the question posited was “is blockchain the new internet?”. Whilst some attendees had some reservations with the simplicity of the question, it was generally an overwhelming belief that the impact blockchain will have on society, business and government is very likely to be as significant as the internet. Disintermediation, democratization, and disruption have been hallmarks of the impact that the internet since it hit the collective consciousness just over 20 years ago. These are also the potential hallmarks of blockchain, so it may well be that we will indeed see the latter being as significant as the former.
Stay tuned for more on this exciting initiative.
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