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Blockchain

This article first appeared in the print edition of Legaltech News, featured in the February’s Corporate Counsel and The American Lawyer magazines, as “Blockchain 101: Class Now in Session.”

The end of 2017 signals a full explosion of blockchain into the public eye, most notably its use within cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, the open-source distributed ledger payment system through which the technology first made headlines in 2009, saw a massive value spike this fall as bitcoin futures prepped for a December 2017 launch. And while cryptocurrencies have long been exciting for the niche communities that develop and trade in them, public appreciation for the digital assets seems to have surged, too. “Bitcoin” was the second most searched global news topic on Google in 2017; “how to buy Bitcoin” was the third most searched question.

This interest in blockchain and cryptocurrency is quickly working its way into the legal sector. Increasingly, legal practitioners are considering uses of blockchain beyond finance, piloting distributed ledger technology in sectors such as health care, cybersecurity and entertainment. Legal technology blogger Bob Ambrogi even declared it his “2017 Word of the Year,” beating out major buzz topics such as artificial intelligence and chatbots.

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Gabrielle Orum Hernández

Gabrielle Orum Hernández is a reporter with Legaltech News and the Daily Report covering legal technology startups and vendors. She can be reached by email at [email protected], or on Twitter at @GMOrumHernandez.

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