Currently, terms like “block chain,” “artificial intelligence,” and “cryptocurrencies” are all major buzzwords. These terms are being utilized at a maximum capacity and are integrated in a wide array of domains from articles to niche degrees. Clearly technology is evolving at an exponential rate and although this is an exciting time for the economy, a certain degree of diligence is required. It is on that note that this article will explore the impact of the emergence of Smart Contracts on the legal industry.
Smart contracts are beginning to disturb the traditional legal domain. Before delving into the impact of these innovative agreements, it is important to understand their fundamental elements. A smart contract has little to do with the intelligence or contents of the agreement; rather, it simplifies the execution of the transaction, the root of the agreement. It utilizes block chain technology to cut out the middleman, essentially creating a self-executing contract. This type of contract can assist in the exchange of money, property, shares, or anything of value.
An easy way to think of a smart contract and the technology associated with it is by comparing it to a self-serve cashier. Rather than ordinarily waiting for a lawyer or notary and paying them until you obtain your document, the smart contract requests certain information and delivers, executes and automatically enforces a tailored contract. Concretely, this translates into less stress and less fear of going through the process of litigation, given that the penalties are seamlessly imposed. This innovative process empowers consumers due to the trust, autonomy, speed, and savings. It seems like a win-win situation for all except the legal industry.
So, what is the catch? The vital ingredient that this technology will continuously lack is the fundamental element that differentiates Homo Sapiens and technology—human judgment. Given the indispensability of this critical component, the need for corporate lawyers will continue to exist. As a corporate lawyer, we are always available to provide our professional judgment on your future transactions.
Christina J. Greenfield, Attorney-at-Law
Alepin Gauthier Avocats inc.