Since Bitcoin appeared in 2009, the digital currency has been hailed as an Internet marvel and decried as the preferred transaction vehicle for all manner of criminals. It has left nearly everyone without a computer science degree confused: Just how do you “mine” money from ones and zeros?

Don’t miss this forthcoming book, co-authored by P2P Foundation affiliate Primavera De Filippi. The following is taken from the publisher’s page:

Since Bitcoin appeared in 2009, the digital currency has been hailed as an Internet marvel and decried as the preferred transaction vehicle for all manner of criminals. It has left nearly everyone without a computer science degree confused: Just how do you “mine” money from ones and zeros?

The answer lies in a technology called blockchain, which can be used for much more than Bitcoin. A general-purpose tool for creating secure, decentralized, peer-to-peer applications, blockchain technology has been compared to the Internet itself in both form and impact. Some have said this tool may change society as we know it. Blockchains are being used to create autonomous computer programs known as “smart contracts,” to expedite payments, to create financial instruments, to organize the exchange of data and information, and to facilitate interactions between humans and machines. The technology could affect governance itself, by supporting new organizational structures that promote more democratic and participatory decision making.

Primavera De Filippi and Aaron Wright acknowledge this potential and urge the law to catch up. That is because disintermediation—a blockchain’s greatest asset—subverts critical regulation. By cutting out middlemen, such as large online operators and multinational corporations, blockchains run the risk of undermining the capacity of governmental authorities to supervise activities in banking, commerce, law, and other vital areas. De Filippi and Wright welcome the new possibilities inherent in blockchains. But as Blockchain and the Law makes clear, the technology cannot be harnessed productively without new rules and new approaches to legal thinking.

Reviews

At long last—a deeply researched, thoughtful, and measured analysis of blockchain technology and the policies that could help us harvest its opportunities and avoid its pitfalls. Blockchain and the Law should be required reading for anyone serious about understanding this major emerging element of our technological ecosystem.—Yochai Benkler, author of The Wealth of Networks

A well-written and comprehensive book that cuts through the blockchain hype. It not only highlights the powers and limitations of blockchain technology, but solidly grounds it in a larger social and legal context.—Bruce Schneier, author of Data and Goliath

Blockchain and the Law perfectly links technical understanding with practical and legal implications. Blockchains will matter crucially; this book, beautifully and clearly written for a wide audience, powerfully demonstrates how.—Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law School

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • I. The Technology
    • 1. Blockchains, Bitcoin, and Decentralized Computing Platforms
    • 2. Characteristics of Blockchains
  • II. Blockchains, Finance, and Contracts
    • 3. Digital Currencies and Decentralized Payment Systems
    • 4. Smart Contracts as Legal Contracts
    • 5. Smart Securities and Derivatives
  • III. Blockchains and Information Systems
    • 6. Tamper-Resistant, Certified, and Authenticated Data
    • 7. Resilient and Tamper-Resistant Information Systems
  • IV. Organizations and Automation
    • 8. The Future of Organizations
    • 9. Decentralized Autonomous Organizations
    • 10. Blockchain of Things
  • V. Regulating Decentralized, Blockchain-Based Systems
    • 11. Modes of Regulation
    • 12. Code as Law
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index

 

Photo by Jennifer Stylls

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