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Add Your Two Cents: The Ethics Of Serving Clients Who Use Coins and Digital Assets

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An ethics inquiry regarding Digital Assets and Blockchain Businesses is currently being circulated for comment. Click here to read the inquiry: Coins and Digital Assets Ethics Request to NC Bar (June 2018). If you would like to provide a comment, please follow up directly with the State Bar as indicated below. The Ethics Committee is tentatively scheduled to consider this inquiry at its next quarterly meeting in July 2018.

Inquiry:
How can law firms ethically service clients who are using Coins and other Digital Assets?

Deadline:
July 12, 2018.  Items received after this date will still be included in the materials that go in front of the Ethics Committee, but I urge you to meet the deadline to increase the chances that the committee members will have a chance to review it in advance of their meeting.

Comments/Responses:
Should be directed in writing to Alice Neece Mine at the N.C. State Bar and may be submitted via email (amine@ncbar.gov or ethicsadvice@ncbar.gov), facsimile (919-821-9168), or regular mail (P.O. Box 25908, Raleigh, NC 27611-5908).

Blockchain and Its Implications For IP

By Steve Snyder

As I continue to stay abreast of the latest technical developments involving computer related technology, the IP implications are becoming less clear.  Being heavily involved in cybersecurity, I have been making the case that the cybersecurity field needs IP attorneys to bridge gaps that we are used to bridging—such as being a liaison between the highly technical engineers and the rest of society.  Aside from cybersecurity, the technology I hear being discussed most is blockchain.   As you may know, blockchain is a fundamental aspect of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. However, blockchain has much broader implications that will, in my opinion, pervade the practice of IP attorneys.

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Smart Contracts: What Are They and What Do They Mean for International Trade?

Editor’s Note: The below article is the last in a three-part series about blockchain and its implications on international trade. Read the first and second articles here.

By Sammy Naji

Of all the blockchain-based innovations, smart contracts running off blockchain may be the most transformative for international trade.  Smart contracts will go beyond eliminating the reliance on physical paper in international transactions by potentially removing the need for financial intermediaries altogether.  Smart contracts can be described as self-executing contracts that run off code, which initiate performance and automatically impose penalties when predefined conditions are met.[1]  They essentially serve as automated escrow robots.[2]

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Blockchain Technology: Its Impact on Bill of Lading and Trade Finance Systems

Editor’s Note: The below article is the second in a three-part series about blockchain and its implications on international trade. Read the first article here.

By Sammy Naji

Applying blockchain technology to international trade allows stake holders to take advantage of a a much more efficient and transparent technological infrastructure than the current outmoded paper-based system. Prior to blockchain’s emergence, digitizing negotiable trade documents, without creating the potential for fraud, could only be accomplished through expensive and closed members-only systems.[1]  With blockchain, however, an accurate record of possession and title can be maintained without the need for paper processing or a centralized intermediary.

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Blockchain Technology: Its Implications for International Trade

Editor’s Note: The below article is the first in a three-part series about blockchain and its implications on international trade.

By Sammy Naji

International trade is undergoing a tremendous transformation thanks to the emergence of a groundbreaking technology called blockchain. Blockchain is essentially a ledger that is distributed on a network of independent computers, which allows for unalterable records of asset ownership. The ledger’s immutability comes from the fact that any attempt to alter a ledger stored on one computer in the network would be exposed by the ledgers stored on the rest of the computers in the network. Thus, blockchain technology provides international trade a more a reliable alternative to the current paper based systems of trade while simultaneously reducing the fraud, shipment time, and costs.

Blockchain gained its prominence as the technological infrastructure for virtual currencies such as bitcoin.[1] Since blockchain can keep accurate records of asset ownership and ensure that asset transfers stem from their legitimate owners, blockchain technology has solved the problem that previously plagued past attempts to establish reliable virtual currencies: the potential for fraud.[2]

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