Hot off the presses, this week’s #CryptoSmartEsq News-Issue 4 (4/22/2018)

By Professor Tonya M. Evans

Welcome to this week’s CryptoSmartEsq News, my carefully curated list of current legal issues and events in blockchain and crypto. 

If you’re new to this exciting, fast-developing space, check out the introductory video in the first CryptoSmartEsq news post. Follow me on Twitter at @CryptoSmartEsq (my blockchain and crypto-focused feed) and @IPProfEvans (my intellectual property-focused feed) and #EvansontheBlock for daily legal bits & bytes. Affiliate links noted with $.

Tweet me your news items.

Top Story

New York Attorney General sends inquiry to 13 major cryptocurrency exchanges requesting disclosure on their operations, use of bots, conflicts of interest, outages, and more. The list of exchanges includes some of the most popular and notable: Coinbase [$], Gemini [$],  bitFlyer, Bitfinex, Bitstamp [$], Payward, Kraken, Bittrex, Poloniex, Binance and itBit. At least one exchange pushes back, says no.

Intellectual Property

CognateCM is an interesting blockchain-based service that creates a permanent, time-stamped record of common law trademark use. Called “CM Certification”, the record may be used to establish use and priority in federal trademark registration or to assert priority against junior trademark use. Cognate claims to be the world’s first trademark use recordal service powered by blockchain technology.

It is important to note that Cognate certification does not constitute trademark registration as a matter of law with, for example, the United States Patent & Trademark Office. Nor do they claim that it does. The benefit of Cognate certification, however, lies in creating an immutable, verifiable record of use on a public blockchain and in monitoring other use once certified.

Law & Government

The Promise of Blockchain Law (LawPracticeToday.org)

Though speculation about the future of blockchain continues, it is gaining momentum and deserves attention from law firms, courts, and legal technology providers. Large enterprises are gearing up for a blockchain revolution. Corporate clients are actively pursuing it. According to a recent Forbes report, there were nearly 1,500 blockchain-related mentions in SEC filings, transcripts, and company press releases in the first nine months of 2017. This represents an increase of more than 65% over the prior full year. Growth in interest and investment ballooned after investors began shifting their focus from cryptocurrencies to the underlying blockchain technology.

A few law firms with blockchain + crypto specialties (attorneys with expertise in technology):

Your guide to cryptocurrency regulations around the world and where they are headed (CNBC.com)

As demand for cryptocurrency grows, global regulators are divided on how to keep up. Most digital currencies are not backed by any central government, meaning each country has different standards.

Cases

Eurasian Association Of Blockchain To Sue Social Media Giants For Banning Crypto Ads [Cointelegraph.com]

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain associations in Russia, China, and South Korea are planning to file a joint lawsuit in May against Google, Twitter, Facebook, and Yandex for not allowing crypto-related advertising, local news outlet TASS reported yesterday, March 27.

Education

When it comes to the power of the Internet, higher education is seeing just how disruptive of a force it can be. And, leaders are dealing with the weighty impacts — not only in the way digital technologies are altering the nature of teaching, but also in how it’s questioning the value of a bricks-and-mortar classroom setting.

For many blockchain startups, education sectors don’t seem to be a fertile ground for the implementation of their blockchain technology initiatives. Most often, their interests are in finance, security exchanges and many others. However, there is some slow indulgence in education that is emerging. As is common knowledge, universities are a breeding grounds for new innovations hence some blockchains have started collaborating with numerous universities to pioneer in this space.

… as public sector blockchain fever continues to grow – even amid reported instances of vendors trying to sell ‘blockchain solutions’ that aren’t actually blockchain to naive agency IT procurement managers, a need has emerged for a roadmap and how-to manual designed to help practitioners better understand the technology’s potential, cut through hype and jargon and ultimately deliver better value for taxpayers.

Events


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Hot off the presses, this week’s #CryptoSmartEsq News-Issue 3 (4/15/2018)

By Professor Tonya M. Evans

Welcome to this week’s CryptoSmartEsq News, my carefully curated list of current legal issues and events in blockchain and crypto. 

If you’re new to this exciting, fast-developing space, check out the introductory video in the first CryptoSmartEsq news post. Follow me on Twitter at @CryptoSmartEsq (my blockchain and crypto-focused feed) and @IPProfEvans (my intellectual property-focused feed) and #EvansontheBlock for daily legal bits & bytes.

Tweet me your news items.

Top Story

Copyright Rebooted? Blockchain tech poised to disrupt Copyright law by Tonya M. Evans (Darts-IP.com)

Contrary to the national copyright law regime, public blockchains are borderless and censorship resistant. So, for example, someone in the United States could complete a transaction with someone in Switzerland without any centralized private or public intermediary. Given the ability of creators to deal directly with content consumers and licensees in this way, the power and promise of leveraging copyrighted works via blockchains becomes immediately apparent. More […]

Intellectual Property

Blockchain to Enhance Online Copyright Protection in Iran (Financial Tribune)

Iran is set to transform its online copyright protection system by application of blockchain technology, head of digital media department at the Ministry of Culture announced.

‘China’s Google’ Baidu Launches Blockchain-Based Image Rights Protection Platform (Cointelegraph)

Chinese internet search giant Baidu has launched a digital image property rights management platform based on Blockchain, the company announced Wednesday, April 11. The service, called Totem, timestamps each submitted original image with a real-time identity and other user data, storing it on a traceable and immutable Blockchain.

Po.et (POE): A Blockchain Project that’s Actually Useful Already (theUSACommerce.com)

Po.et (POE) is a cryptocurrency that began trading back in August of 2017. This coin is all about creative work, and how publishers and creators online monetize what they craft – so that can reclaim the value of their creations in a transparent way. They do this through blockchain technology. It’s essentially a platform where you can timestamp your creations, then issue content licenses to consumers.

Law & Government

9 Reasons Blockchain Projects Need a General Counsel: Expert Take (Cointelegraph)

Imagine that your ICO raised $50 mln and your cryptocurrency is trading at 100x from where you launched. Everyone loves your project, your friends and family are impressed, and you’re the darling of Blockchain. Congratulations and welcome to the big leagues! You now have a significant enterprise to protect, demanding stakeholders to satisfy, and a challenging product roadmap to deliver on. Besides talented engineers and marketers, you need a in-house lawyer on your team. Here are some reasons why.

Cases

Morrison Cohen LLP, a law firm based in New York, has developed a crypto litigation platform called the “Moco Cryptocurrency Litigation Tracker. The firm’s system provides information about pending crypto cases in United States courts.

Education

Blockchain 101: Law Schools Tackle the New Frontier (Law.com)

New digital academy a first for Hogan Lovells and legal sector (Logan Hovells)

Hogan Lovells pushes into digital training realm for the first time.

20 Real-World Uses for Blockchain Technology (MotleyFool.com)

You’re probably wondering what this potentially game-changing technology can actually do in the real world. Well, wonder no more. Here are 20 potential uses for blockchain technology.

Events

Boston Blockchain Week

Aim Summit (Abu Dhabi May 2-3, 2018 via @CrowdieAdvisors@HustleFundBaby)

 

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Hot off the presses, this week’s #CryptoSmartEsq News-Issue 2 (4/6/2018)

By Professor Tonya M. Evans

Welcome to this week’s CryptoSmartEsq News, a curated list of current legal issues and events in blockchain and crypto. 

If you’re new to this exciting, fast-developing space, check out the introductory video in the first CryptoSmartEsq news post. Follow me on Twitter at @CryptoSmartEsq (my blockchain and crypto-focused feed) and @IPProfEvans (my intellectual property-focused feed) and #EvansontheBlock for daily legal bits & bytes.

Tweet me your news items.

Top Story

Digital Transformation: Managing IP rights through the blockchain (Lexology)

Intellectual Property

Blockchain Technology—Patent Eligible Subject Matter or Just a Business Model? (Legal Intelligencer)

Government, Legislation & Regulation

AZ Governor Signs Latest Blockchain Bill into Law (CoinDesk.com)

‘Lack of Understanding’ Derails Georgia’s Bitcoin Tax Bill (CoinDesk.com)

UK watchdog says license needed to trade cryptocurrencies (Reuters)

What Does the EU’s GDPR Mean for Blockchain? (NewBTC)

ICOs Are ‘Absolutely Not’ All Fraudulent Says the Chairman of the SEC (Fortune)

Cases

 (Bloomberg)

Most Cryptos Aren’t Commodities, Defendants Claim in CFTC Case (CoinDesk)

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This week’s CryptoSmartEsq News-Issue 1 (3/31/18)

Is it just me, or does it feel like news about blockchain  and cryptocurrency seems to travel faster than the speed of light? It is a full-time job keeping up. Literally. So I’ve decided to post a weekly curated list of current legal issues and events in blockchain and crypto.  Continue reading “This week’s CryptoSmartEsq News-Issue 1 (3/31/18)”

Blockchain, Crypto & Smart Contracts: What they are & what they mean for IP

© 2018 Tonya M. Evans

Attribution-NoDerivs
CC BY-ND

Recently, I delivered two presentations in Bangkok, Thailand about the intellectual property implications of blockchain technology. The first was an internal preso for the prominent Southeast Asian law firm of Tilleke & Gibbins, and the second was for the Licensing Executives Society-Thailand Conference.

In each preso, I engaged attendees (live and via video conference) in a macro-level exploration of blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, and smart contracts to clarify what this relatively new disruptive, empowering ecosystem is, what it means for our collective future as attorneys, corporate leaders, startup founders and entrepreneurs, and its implications in intellectual property law.

Recently, Darts-IP.com published an article I wrote titled IP + Blockchain: A Primer based on some of the information I shared in Bangkok.

I could spend all day every day falling down the proverbial rabbit hole of information about blockchain. There is literally breaking blockchain and cryptocurrency news every minute, if Coindesk’s website and twitter feed are any indication. Each bit and byte of information leads to more information (and misinformation), FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt), FOMO (fear of missing out), and speculation about all of the potential pitfalls and opportunities in this new technology frontier. So it’s difficult for most people to figure out where to begin. If this describes you, you’re not alone and you’ve come to the right place! Read on.

You probably have questions (or you wouldn’t be reading this post). Lots of them. The first may very well be where to begin to get a handle on the power and promise of blockchain. Everyone should have some baseline understanding. But lawyers, in particular, must achieve basic technological competence in this space to be well positioned to help clients solve problems. Given my background and expertise, I am particularly interested in the intellectual property issues triggered by blockchain’s rise in mainstream adoption as research & development use cases transition into full implementation and refinement.

In future posts, I will share trends and current events in the blockchain ecosystem that raise copyright, patent, and trademark issues. Follow me on Twitter @IPProfEvans for breaking IP-related blockchain and crypto news. Below are some blockchain basics that I cover more substantively in IP + Blockchain: A Primer and some additional resources about blockchain, crypto, and smart contracts.

So … what is Blockchain? [Updated excerpt from IP + Blockchain: A Primer Continue reading “Blockchain, Crypto & Smart Contracts: What they are & what they mean for IP”

Professor Evans travels to Bangkok to discuss IP implications of Blockchain

blockchain-image

Part of a lawyer’s professional competence includes technological competence. Therefore, every lawyer should have a basic understanding of the business and legal implications of the blockchain and its varied and various use cases.

To that end, I will present an overview of blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, and smart contracts at the law offices of Tilleke & Gibbins (Bangkok, Thailand) on January 31, 2018 and at the Annual Meeting of Licensing Executives Society (LES)-Thailand on February 1, 2018.  This presentation is intended to introduce attorneys of all practice areas to the essential information every lawyer should know about this emerging, global technology.

Ready? Set? Disrupt!

Blockchain technology is poised to disrupt law and business on a global scale in ways neither rivaled nor contemplated since the advent of the Internet. This talk will include definitions of key terminology, an explanation of the two most prominent use cases within this ecosystem (cryptocurrency and smart contracts), as well as intellectual property issues, current events, and likely blockchain trends in 2018.