Blockchain and Smart Contracts

"Blockchain is particularly promising in sectors where trust and secure records of information or transactions are key"

Blockchain and smart contracts are among the most discussed topics in the IT community. Bitcoin, as a cryptocurrency is probably the most famous application relying on blockchain, but it is not the only one. Serving as an incorruptible public repository of data, thanks to distributed ledger technology, asymmetric cryptography and mining, blockchain is also the main technology component of so-called smart contracts. With smart contracts, the purpose is not only to record a transaction (e.g. a transfer of money from A to B, like with the blockchain bitcoin), but also to execute automatically some transactions, when determined requirements are met. The transaction is therefore self-executed, automatically and without any human intervention, for instance: unlocking the door of an accommodation when the fees are paid; granting the insurance indemnity to the consumer when the flight is delayed; bringing a vehicle to a standstill and terminate an agreement when leasing fees remain unpaid during two months; etc.).

Blockchain is particularly promising in sectors where trust and secure records of information or transactions are key, for instance the financial sector, supply-chain, digital rights management, e-government and e-voting. The CRIDS analyses blockchain and smart contracts through a number of legal angles including contract and tort law, data protection, criminal law, financial law, consumer law, competition law, and international private law. In 2019-2020, CRIDS and NADI researchers are involved in a research project coordinated by the University of Namur and the Catholic University of Lille on Blockchain and Law.

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Key publications

H. JACQUEMIN, Consumers contracting with other consumers in the sharing economy: fill in the gaps in the legal framework or switch to the blockchain model ? », Revista de Internet, Derecho y Politica, 2019, n°28, pp. 44-55. (FREE PDF HERE)

Y. POULLET, H. JACQUEMIN, « Blockchain : une révolution pour le droit ? », J.T., 2018, pp. 801-819.