The confluence of technology and law
The rise of blockchain technology over the past several years has introduced endless possibilities for business applications, stretching far beyond financial transactions and bitcoin. The technology offers immutable, fast, secure and transparent solutions that allow transactions and agreements to happen without the “middleman,” thereby cutting cost and simplifying the process. According to John Wagster, head of FBT’s Blockchain team, “It’s only a matter of time before everyone uses blockchain technology for many of their business transactions, including contracts and agreements.”
In the first half of 2017, FBT’s Blockchain team has had several exciting engagements representative of the firm’s activity in the space, including the presale and future launch of companies contemplating Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), acquisitions of blockchain companies where the purchase price is a cryptocurrency, and the launch of hedge funds focused on the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries.
The firm recently completed a prototype of a self-enforcing smart contract that can be used specifically in software escrow agreements, but which is representative of the type of smart contracts that are likely to become common fixtures in the legal world. The project was spearheaded by Kevin Shook (Litigation), Matt Schantz (IP), Dan Duncan (Head of Technology), and Ron Benedict (Lead Blockchain Programmer).
FBT’s blockchain team is nationally active in the blockchain community, including being members of both the Lawyers’ Committee of the Chamber of Digital Commerce and members of the Digital Currency and Ledger Defense Coalition.
FBT’s 18-member Blockchain Team is strengthened by its multidisciplinary background, which is so often required by the technology. In addition to those already mentioned, team members include: Gray Sasser (Securities); Bill Repasky (AML/KYC); Matthew Delaney and Doug Gastright (IP); Anthony Cotto (Insurance); Steve Embry and Michael Nitardy (Litigation); Alex Fisher (Health Care); Howard Herndon, Courtney Rogers and Ben Katz (Corporate); and Ted King (Finance).