Blockchain Legal Engineering

Smart contracts add to the legal engineer’s toolbox the novel element of *data certainty*

Legal engineering ensures that information gets to the right place at the right time. Technology accelerates the speed of legal engineering by providing ever more reliable and complex models for managing legally significant information and events. Legal technology puts pressure on lawyers to innovate. In The End of Law, Richard Susskind gives his formula for winning the legal technology contest:

  • Set the bar of difficulty on your work so high that others are dissuaded from competing.

  • Avoid bespoke work by creating packages that have value and that may be customized for specialized needs.

  • Once innovative packages get integrated into the marketplace, they become a commodity, a fungible item for which marketing is necessary to extract value.

  • To succeed, legal innovators must continually create new, top-notch packages that lead the industry.

There’s no resting on one’s laurels in legal engineering. Successful legal tech needs a team with energy, drive, vision, creativity and smarts to keep ahead of imitators who will inevitably create a commodity out of one’s innovative product.

Enter the Monax marmots.

At Monax, we believe that the mechanism to allow smart contract technology to blossom into a thriving multichain environment is legal engineering, providing a system for distribution of verifiable knowledge when and where it is needed. Legal engineers use knowledge of human systems to build new models for people and their relationships with the world.

  • Tools: Data Certainty and Legal Models

Smart contracts add to the legal engineer’s toolbox the novel element of data certainty, the ability to trust the authenticity and provenance of a document stored in decentralized, cryptographic architecture. This seemingly small event, proving data certainty of documentary conditions, consumes a large amount of lawyer and compliance team time. Authentication of documentary conditions is the “low hanging fruit” of smart contract development and a necessary step to managing more complex relationships.

To perfect the blockchain data certainty model, it is critical to start with the simplest legally effective documents: commercial paper. Commercial paper is a complex system based on promises and documentary conditions. Commercial paper law provides the elements of settlement finality, fungibility and protection against adverse claims, all of which blockchain engineers work hard to achieve. Settlement finality means that once a financial transaction occurs, it cannot be undone because of problems with the underlying transaction. Fungibility means one unit of value is the same as another and can be traded, apples-to-apples, like money. Adverse claims protection means that abiding by commercial paper best practices protects against multiple promises to pay secured by the same collateral, analogous to the bitcoin double-spend.

These pre-baked commercial paper elements are the rails that will allow chains to interact and are the the focus of our early endeavors. To build a new ecosystem, we have to get the “paper” right, empowering synergistic growth on top of a stable foundation. With reliable financial models in place, participants will be free to begin building new relationships based on shared participation in blockchain commerce, creating a proliferation of chains and business models.

Monax’s legal engineers will be right there, leading the way.

For information on putting Monax Industries’ smart contracts libraries to work for you, please contact us at [email protected].

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