Blockchain

Today is the Day to Learn about Blockchain and How it Impacts Legal Technology: eDiscovery Webcasts

If you think you’re hearing more and more about blockchain and bitcoin, you’re probably right. Blockchain is even being discussed as having potential application in legal technology and electronic discovery. But, what exactly is it? How does it work? And, how do you need to be prepared to address it as a legal professional?  Today’s webcast that will answer those questions – and more!

Today at noon CST (1:00pm EST, 10:00am PST), CloudNine will conduct the webcast Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology. In this one-hour webcast that’s CLE-approved in selected states, we will discuss, define and describe blockchain and how it can apply to legal technology and eDiscovery today and in the future. Topics include:

  • History of Blockchain and Bitcoin
  • Defining Key Terms
  • How Blockchain Works
  • Advantages and Challenges of Blockchain
  • Smart Contracts and Other Use Cases for Blockchain
  • Impacts of Blockchain on Legal Technology and eDiscovery
  • Is Blockchain Really as Secure as People Think?
  • Future of Blockchain
  • Resources for More Info

As always, I’ll be presenting the webcast, along with Tom O’Connor, whose white paper of the same name was published on this blog a few weeks ago.  To register for it, click here.  Even if you can’t make it, go ahead and register to get a link to the slides and to the recording of the webcast (if you want to check it out later).  If you want to learn about blockchain and how it can affect your job as a legal professional, this webcast is for you!

So, what do you think?  Do you know the ins and outs of blockchain or even how it works?  If not, please join us!  If so, please join us anyway!  And, as always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology, Part Six

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems.  He has also been a great addition to our webinar program, participating with me on several recent webinars.  Tom has also written several terrific informational overview series for CloudNine, including his most recent one, Will Lawyers Ever Embrace Technology?, which we covered as part of a webcast on November 28 of last year.  Now, Tom has written another terrific overview regarding blockchain and legal technology titled Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology that we’re happy to share on the eDiscovery Daily blog.  Enjoy! – Doug

Tom’s overview is split into six parts, so we’ll cover each part separately.  Part one was last Monday, part two was last Wednesday, part three was last Friday, part four was this Monday and part five was this Wednesday, here’s the sixth and final part.

Conclusions

So, where do we go from here from a legal technology standpoint?  Let’s take a look at some current developments.

Current Developments

Much of the momentum that I saw gathering at ILTACON17 led to the establishment of the Global Legal Blockchain Consortium. Members of the consortium include the law firms Baker Hostetler and Orrick, as well as IBM Watson Legal. Their goal is to explore how blockchain technology can solve real-world legal problems as well as drive the adoption and standardization of blockchain in the legal industry.

The consortium is not the only such effort. The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), a cross-industry collaborative blockchain consortium aiming to leverage open-source Ethereum technology for enterprise solutions, has a” Legal Industry Working Group”. Members of that group include CooleyDebevoise & Plimpton, GoodwinHogan LovellsHolland & KnightJones DayLatham & WatkinsMorrison & FoersterPerkins CoieShearman & SterlingCardozo Law School, Duke Center on Law & Technology, and the Department of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

The consortium held a kick-off event called the MIT Legal Forum on AI + Blockchain in the fall of 2017. Although that effort appears to have slowed in 2018, ongoing efforts can be monitored on the EEA site. For a more in-depth report on the subject, see  Bob Ambrogi’s “Law Sites” blog post

Final Thoughts

It’s clear that blockchain has become a breakthrough topic and I expect to see much more development for legal applications in the near future. One of the challenges is how middle market clients which do not have the extensive systems that a large company might have can effectively leverage this technology and Grant Thornton is one of the players focused on this market.

Proponents will have to continue their efforts to lower uncertainty about blockchain systems stability and increase its profile as a serious business tool.  I expect to see both of those occur as the year continues.

So, what do you think?  Do you better understand blockchain now and how it can impact the legal profession?  We hope so!  And, as always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Here’s a Webcast to Learn about Blockchain and How it Impacts Legal Technology: eDiscovery Webcasts

Miss our webcasts?  We’re back!  If you think you’re hearing more and more about blockchain and bitcoin, you’re probably right. Blockchain is even being discussed as having potential application in legal technology and electronic discovery. But, what exactly is it? How does it work? And, how do you need to be prepared to address it as a legal professional?  Here’s a webcast that will answer those questions – and more!

Wednesday, March 27th at noon CST (1:00pm EST, 10:00am PST), CloudNine will conduct the webcast Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology. In this one-hour webcast that’s CLE-approved in selected states, we will discuss, define and describe blockchain and how it can apply to legal technology and eDiscovery today and in the future. Topics include:

  • History of Blockchain and Bitcoin
  • Defining Key Terms
  • How Blockchain Works
  • Advantages and Challenges of Blockchain
  • Smart Contracts and Other Use Cases for Blockchain
  • Impacts of Blockchain on Legal Technology and eDiscovery
  • Is Blockchain Really as Secure as People Think?
  • Future of Blockchain
  • Resources for More Info

As always, I’ll be presenting the webcast, along with Tom O’Connor, whose white paper of the same name is concluding tomorrow on this blog!  To register for it, click here.  Even if you can’t make it, go ahead and register to get a link to the slides and to the recording of the webcast (if you want to check it out later).  If you want to learn about blockchain and how it can affect your job as a legal professional, this webcast is for you!

So, what do you think?  Do you know the ins and outs of blockchain or even how it works?  If not, please join us!  If so, please join us anyway!  :o)  And, as always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology, Part Five

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems.  He has also been a great addition to our webinar program, participating with me on several recent webinars.  Tom has also written several terrific informational overview series for CloudNine, including his most recent one, Will Lawyers Ever Embrace Technology?, which we covered as part of a webcast on November 28 of last year.  Now, Tom has written another terrific overview regarding blockchain and legal technology titled Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology that we’re happy to share on the eDiscovery Daily blog.  Enjoy! – Doug

Tom’s overview is split into six parts, so we’ll cover each part separately.  Part one was last Monday, part two was last Wednesday, part three was last Friday and part four was this Monday, here’s the fifth part.

Blockchain in Legal Technology and eDiscovery

Sure, those are a couple of great examples and there are a lot of general use cases for blockchain.  But, this is also an article about its impact on legal technology and electronic discovery.  How does it impact those areas?

General Legal Technology Impacts

Because blockchain is secure, immutable and transparent, it enables attorneys to record and authenticate many types of legal matters including contracts, real estate, corporate filings, intellectual property rights, or any other activity conducive to being ledger-based.

Contracts, in particular, are starting to benefit from blockchain.  We have smart phones, smart watches, even smart thermostats and smart appliances, right?  With blockchain, we have smart contracts which not only define the rules and penalties contained within an agreement, they also automatically enforce those obligations.  This article by Caitlin Moon in Law Technology Today goes into considerably greater depth into various implications of blockchain for legal professionals.

Impacts on Electronic Discovery

With regard to eDiscovery, blockchain has several potential significant impacts, some of which are priorities even today:

Source of ESI: One obvious impact of blockchain is that it is another source of ESI that needs to be addressed and you need to have a plan to account for it.  This includes a strategy for preparing and responding to discovery requests.  Just as you need to expand your eDiscovery strategy to incorporate data from mobile devices, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and social media (and other cloud-based platform) data, you now need to include blockchain in that strategy as well.

Investigations: In some respects, blockchain can aid in investigations since every transaction is immutable, verifiable and open to examination.  However, because identities are protected, blockchain also complicates the process of tying monetary transactions to specific entities.

Document Preservation: Because blockchain records are immutable, blockchain is more verifiable, easier to authenticate, and more reliable than other data sources.  Blockchain’s immutable nature would certainly reduce the potential of ESI spoliation since potentially relevant information can’t be erased.

Document Production: Blockchain could also be an improved, more-technology focused method of labeling productions than the Bates numbering system still used so widely today, in that it could make discovery productions more secure.

Chain of Custody: Because of its immutability and reliability, blockchain can provide an indisputable chain of custody.

Forensics: Even forensics can benefit from blockchain.  Forensics expert Johnny Lee of Grant Thornton related in the article mentioned above that “…the ability of blockchain to replace the need for a centralized trust authority to authenticate transactions is perhaps its greatest promise for the forensic community.”

The Epiq blog has more information about impacts to eDiscovery here.  And, HaystackID conducted a two-part webcast series that discusses the basics of cryptocurrencies and blockchain (part one) and gets into the impact on legal technology and eDiscovery (part two).

We’ll publish Part 6 – Conclusions – on Friday.

So, what do you think?  Do you understand blockchain and how it can impact the legal profession?  If not, keep reading!  And, as always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology, Part Four

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems.  He has also been a great addition to our webinar program, participating with me on several recent webinars.  Tom has also written several terrific informational overview series for CloudNine, including his most recent one, Will Lawyers Ever Embrace Technology?, which we covered as part of a webcast on November 28 of last year.  Now, Tom has written another terrific overview regarding blockchain and legal technology titled Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology that we’re happy to share on the eDiscovery Daily blog.  Enjoy! – Doug

Tom’s overview is split into six parts, so we’ll cover each part separately.  Part one was last Monday, part two was last Wednesday and part three was last Friday, here’s the fourth part.

General Use Cases for Blockchain

Several actual examples may show the actual utility of blockchain.

Searching

In 2001, Microsoft researchers, Banko and Brill, released a paper Scaling to Very Very Large Corpora for Natural Language Disambiguation,  which described how most work in the area of natural language processing was on small data sets of less than a million words. Error rates for algorithms such as Naive Bayes and Perceptrons were 25%, while newer memory-based algorithms achieved 19% error rates.

But as they added MORE data — not just a bit more, but orders of magnitude more — and kept the algorithms the same, then the error rates kept going down. A dataset which was three orders of magnitude larger had an error rate of less than 5%.  Even more surprising, the best-performing algorithms were the simplest and always outperformed more state-of-the-art systems.

Then, in 2007, Google researchers, Halevy, Norvig and Pereira, published a paper called The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Data  showing how data could be “unreasonably effective” across many AI domains. Hence, the rise of deep learning systems and the reemergence of backprop neural networks from the ’80s which are equally effective in massive datasets with more recent technologies.

So decentralized and shared control typically leads to better performing  models.  And since the decentralized nature of blockchains encourages data sharing, it works better whether the network is local or worldwide.

Security

Blockchain eliminates the risks that come with centralized data because it stores data across the network. Thus, it doesn’t have centralized points of vulnerability that computer hackers traditionally exploit. No more “username/password” systems, but rather encryption technology and constantly updating audit trails

A blockchain, as the name implies, is a chain of digital “blocks” that contain records of transactions. The records on a blockchain are secured through cryptography and network participants have their own private keys that are assigned to the transactions they make and act as a personal digital signature.

However, despite inherent properties that provide security, known vulnerabilities in your infrastructure can be manipulated by hackers. Any system supporting blockchain should have these capabilities at a minimum:

  • Be able to prevent anyone, up to and including administrators, from accessing sensitive information
  • Ability to deny illicit attempts to change data or applications within the network.
  • Use highest-grade security standards to protect encryption keys

We’ll publish Part 5 – General Use Cases for Blockchain – on Wednesday.

So, what do you think?  Do you understand blockchain and how it can impact the legal profession?  If not, keep reading!  And, as always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology, Part Three

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems.  He has also been a great addition to our webinar program, participating with me on several recent webinars.  Tom has also written several terrific informational overview series for CloudNine, including his most recent one, Will Lawyers Ever Embrace Technology?, which we covered as part of a webcast on November 28 of last year.  Now, Tom has written another terrific overview regarding blockchain and legal technology titled Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology that we’re happy to share on the eDiscovery Daily blog.  Enjoy! – Doug

Tom’s overview is split into six parts, so we’ll cover each part separately.  Part one was Monday and part two was Wednesday, here’s the third part.

Advantages and Challenges of Blockchain

So, why is blockchain becoming more popular and what advantages are associated with it?  And, if it’s so great, why aren’t more people using it?

Advantages of Blockchain

Blockchain has several structural advantages:

  • Establishes a definitive record for a given transaction
  • An organization can embed the verification for the transaction within the transactional record itself,
  • It is readily accessible
  • It is easily verifiable
  • It is immutable
  • It is transparent
  • Offers assurance across all transactions subject to the blockchain.
  • Allows full testing of the population in its entirety
  • Allows reliable spot-checks at any time
  • No need for third party audit to sample a portion of transactions and extrapolate from the sample based upon statistical probabilities because blockchain exposes the full population of transactions

Challenges to Blockchain Adoption

At the same time, Blockchain faces several distinct challenges to widespread adoption, including:

  • Business leaders want practical solutions and blockchain is still considered by many to be an esoteric solution
  • Are their blockchain standards to which businesses can refer?
  • Are distributed ledgers actually slower than centralized ones?
  • Are distributed ledgers easily available to all users?
  • How secure are distributed ledgers?
  • Can privacy be assured in a blockchain scheme?
  • How does security differ in public vs private blockchains?

We’ll publish Part 4 – General Use Cases for Blockchain – next Monday.

So, what do you think?  Do you understand blockchain and how it can impact the legal profession?  If not, keep reading!  And, as always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology, Part Two

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems.  He has also been a great addition to our webinar program, participating with me on several recent webinars.  Tom has also written several terrific informational overview series for CloudNine, including his most recent one, Will Lawyers Ever Embrace Technology?, which we covered as part of a webcast on November 28 of last year.  Now, Tom has written another terrific overview regarding blockchain and legal technology titled Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology that we’re happy to share on the eDiscovery Daily blog.  Enjoy! – Doug

Tom’s overview is split into six parts, so we’ll cover each part separately.  Part one was Monday, here’s the second part.

Understanding Blockchain and Bitcoin

To understand blockchain and bitcoin better, let’s take a look at the background of how they were created and discuss how blockchain works.

Background on Blockchain and Bitcoin

Credit for bitcoin creation is given to an anonymous person using the name Satoshi Nakamoto who claimed to be a Japanese citizen.  Much speculation centered around the name being based on a setting in the 1996 movie Rising Sun; however, it was believed the true authors were several cryptography and computer science experts of non-Japanese descent.

What is not disputed though is that bitcoin was based on the first blockchain database which allowed digital information to be distributed, but not copied. Once established in bitcoin, it was not long before blockchain came to be used for any transaction that needed a trust factor among all parties and a verifiable audit trail. Areas such as financial services, technology, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, and energy industries all needed systems with these two factors.

How Blockchain Works

Blockchain is a digital ledger that can be programmed to record multiple transactions.  Think of a spreadsheet that is duplicated thousands of times across a network, updated on a regular basis as people access it, in a distributed database that is not in one location, but rather is shared by potentially millions of users, accessible to anyone on the internet.

Or think of it as a document in Google Docs that is being seen by multiple people simultaneously. Instead of waiting for one person to make changes and circulate the document, it can be worked on by everyone, with extremely short times for document “lock down” while updates are being made.

This completely digital system self-audits and reconciles all transactions every ten minutes. The audit trail itself is visible to all participants yet allows encryption of individual transactions. Since both the components (blocks) and the blockchain (ledger) are fixed, participants can review the entire history of transactions from the time the ledger is created.

Commentator Bob Ambrogi, in a 2017 article in LawSites, quotes the executive of a blockchain company as describing it this way,  “With a blockchain, every transaction is digitally signed, every transaction is chained together, and it’s replicated on hundreds of computers around the world with digital signatures…”.

The system is what Johnny Lee of Grant Thornton, in his 2017 article Beyond Bitcoin: Leveraging blockchain for forensic applications, refers to as a “ …consensus-based proof of validity [which] replaces the need for a centralized trust authority.”

It reminds me most of the early days of networking with dumb terminals.  Now it is a network of “nodes” which constitute a blockchain, and every node is an administrator of the blockchain. It’s a hacker’s nightmare.

We’ll publish Part 3 – Advantages and Challenges of Blockchain – on Friday.

So, what do you think?  Do you understand blockchain and how it can impact the legal profession?  If not, keep reading!  And, as always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Is Blockchain as Secure as People Think? Maybe Not: Cybersecurity Best Practices

As you may have seen yesterday, Tom O’Connor has written his latest terrific informational overview series for CloudNine about blockchain that we will be covering in a six-part series over the next couple of weeks.  Not to steal any thunder, but Tom’s article will cover things like the advantages of blockchain and its impact on legal technology and eDiscovery.  One advantage that a lot of people have been saying about blockchain is the idea that it’s essentially “unhackable” from a cybersecurity standpoint.  That may not actually be true.

According to the MIT Technology Review (Once hailed as unhackable, blockchains are now getting hacked, written by Mike Orcutt – hat tip to Rob Robinson’s Complex Discovery blog for the link), hackers have stolen nearly $2 billion worth of cryptocurrency since the beginning of 2017, mostly from exchanges, and that’s just what has been revealed publicly.

Last month, the security team at Coinbase noticed something strange going on in Ethereum Classic, one of the cryptocurrencies people can buy and sell using Coinbase’s popular exchange platform.  An attacker had somehow gained control of more than half of the network’s computing power and was using it to rewrite the transaction history. That made it possible to spend the same cryptocurrency more than once—known as “double spends.” The attacker was spotted pulling this off to the tune of $1.1 million (though Coinbase claims that no currency was actually stolen from any of its accounts).  The so-called 51% attack against Ethereum Classic was just the latest in a series of recent attacks on blockchains that have heightened the stakes for the nascent industry as a second popular exchange, Gate.io, has admitted it wasn’t so lucky, losing around $200,000 to the attacker (who, strangely, returned half of it days later).

As the article notes, blockchains are particularly attractive to thieves because fraudulent transactions can’t be reversed as they often can be in the traditional financial system. Besides that, we’ve long known that just as blockchains have unique security features, they have unique vulnerabilities. Marketing slogans and headlines that called the technology “unhackable” were dead wrong.

The article concludes by noting that, while blockchain technology has been long touted for its security, under certain conditions it can be quite vulnerable. Sometimes shoddy execution can be blamed, or unintentional software bugs. Other times it’s more of a gray area—the complicated result of interactions between the code, the economics of the blockchain, and human greed. That’s been known in theory since the technology’s beginning. Now that so many blockchains are out in the world, we are learning what it actually means—often the hard way.

When this article came out last week, Tom and I discussed whether to reference it in his already completed paper – ultimately, we agreed to let me cover it here.  One thing that Tom’s article makes clear is that we’re still learning a lot about blockchain and its capabilities and this article certainly reinforces that notion.  Do your homework!

So, what do you think?  Are you surprised by this indication that blockchain may not be “unhackable” after all?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology

Editor’s Note: Tom O’Connor is a nationally known consultant, speaker, and writer in the field of computerized litigation support systems.  He has also been a great addition to our webinar program, participating with me on several recent webinars.  Tom has also written several terrific informational overview series for CloudNine, including his most recent one, Will Lawyers Ever Embrace Technology?, which we covered as part of a webcast on November 28 of last year.  Now, Tom has written another terrific overview regarding blockchain and legal technology titled Understanding Blockchain and its Impact on Legal Technology that we’re happy to share on the eDiscovery Daily blog.  Enjoy! – Doug

Tom’s overview is split into six parts, so we’ll cover each part separately.  Here’s the first part.

Introduction

I first started paying attention to blockchain at ILTACON17 when I noticed how often it was cited in security sessions.  Like many people, I had associated blockchain only with bitcoin, and thus tended to dismiss it as a one trick pony.

Even thought Don & Alex Tapscott described it in their 2016 book, Blockchain Revolution , as “ … the next generation Internet.”, I also had trouble seeing it as a solution for day to day business problems.  It didn’t seem to me be the practical sort of tool with solid standards that business people would deploy and I was concerned about the security of recording transactions in public ledgers while at the same time being able to protect privacy.

The ILTA session helped me overcome some of those concerns as I learned how blockchain tools were dealing with these issues.  And I’ve continued to monitor the growth of the tool since then. This paper is an attempt to give an overview of where blockchain is at the onset of 2019.

In this paper, we will look at several topics related to blockchain and legal technology:

  1. Understanding Blockchain and Bitcoin
  2. Advantages and Challenges of Blockchain
  3. General Use Cases for Blockchain
  4. Blockchain in Legal Technology and eDiscovery
  5. Conclusions

We’ll publish Part 2 – Understanding Blockchain and Bitcoin – on Wednesday.

So, what do you think?  Do you understand blockchain and how it can impact the legal profession?  If not, keep reading!  And, as always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Sponsor: This blog is sponsored by CloudNine, which is a data and legal discovery technology company with proven expertise in simplifying and automating the discovery of data for audits, investigations, and litigation. Used by legal and business customers worldwide including more than 50 of the top 250 Am Law firms and many of the world’s leading corporations, CloudNine’s eDiscovery automation software and services help customers gain insight and intelligence on electronic data.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine. eDiscovery Daily is made available by CloudNine solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Daily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.