Ethereum Munich Meetup January Review: "Is Code Law?"
Last week there was another Ethereum meetup here in Munich, asking the interesting question if code, as written in smart contracts, can be seen as actually legally binding.https://www.meetup.com/Ethereum-Munich/events/235570065/Smart Contracts -- Is Code Law? Programming language as a contractual language
Dr. Markus Kaulartz, former developer and now IT lawyer, was opening with the famous "Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace" from EFF activist John Perry Barlow
Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.
However, maybe naturally, Kaulartz rather holds the more Hobbes-ian position of Lawrence Lessig, that higher institutions of law will always be required in all aspects of society:
Cyberspace, left to itself, will not fulfill the promise of freedom. Left to itself, cyberspace will become a perfect tool of control.
On a more pragmatic note, as we've seen with "The DAO", due to bugs and errors, smart contract code may not always reflect the intention, which is what is looked at in "analog" contracts in jurisdiction hitherto.
Four legal challenges
* Conflicts with law
* Gaps between Digital Terms and Analouge Terms
* Undefined legal terms
* Intent / meaning of words
Three Golden Rules for coding Smart Contracts
* Make Smart Contract subject to arbitration
* Allow for recission of Smart Contract
* See a lawyer.
Developers need lawyers and vice versae.
Certainly no fear of becoming obsoleted middlemen here. ;)
There's a German, more in-depth review here: http://datarella.de/is-code-law-eine-rechtliche-einordnung-von-blockchain-und-smart-contracts-durch-dr-markus-kaulartz/
Next up, Dr. Jutta Steiner, co-founder Parity Technologies Ltd, was demoing the wallet/browser they're developing. It's an alternative, or rather competitor to Ethereum's mist browser.
The "Accounts Overview" of the Parity wallet/browser:
Smart Contracts integration:
It seems to be a great software, written in the Rust language. As a feature they offer email and phone number integration that would be stored on their servers, in order to "motivate" progress in solving the "identity question" in "blockchain technology", probably an approach motivated by their corporate investors. Uh, thanks, no, just no.
(For larger versions, click a picture, or right-click it and choose to open the link(!) in a new tab or window.)
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We're happy to combine technological and legal aspects of the blockchain, and of Ethereum based smart contracts in particular, in this meetup. With Jutta and Markus, we have two veritable experts in t