Blockchain and The Law: A Reading List


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Last April, I published a Twitter thread exploring some of my favorites articles dealing with blockchain and the law. I have decided to reproduce the list in the present article.

1– Philip E. Agre, “P2P and the Promise of Internet Equality,” Communication of the ACM 46, no. 2 (2003): groundbreaking pre-blockchain article on what decentralization means.

2– Vitalik Buterin, “The Meaning of Decentralization,” Medium, February 6, 2017: your introduction to decentralization in the blockchain context.

3– Gábor Soós, “Smart Decentralization? The Radical Anti-Establishment Worldview of Blockchain Initiatives” (2018): a great overview of what decentralization entails in the blockchain context.

4– Aaron Wright and Primavera De Filippi, “Decentralized Blockchain Technology and the Rise of Lex Cryptographia” (2015): explores the tensions between lex cryptographia and the rule of law.

5– Carla L. Reyes, “If Rockefeller Were a Coder,” George Washington Law Review 87, no. 373 (2019): explores the tensions between blockchain applications and the rule of law.

6– Kevin Werbach, “Trust, But Verify: Why the Blockchain Needs the Law,” Berkeley Technology Law Journal 33 (2018): a call to stop the confrontation between blockchain code and the law.

7– Vitalik Buterin, “Notes on Blockchain Governance,” Vitalik Buterin’s website, December 17, 2017: a great overview of blockchain horizontal governance.

8– Vitalik Buterin, “On Collusion,” Vitalik Buterin’s website, April 3, 2019: game theory applied to blockchain governance.

9– Sinclair Davidson, Primavera de Filippi, and Jason Potts, “Economics of Blockchain” (2016): explains that blockchain is an institution.

10– Kevin Werbach and Nicolas Cornell, “Contracts Ex Machina,” Duke Law Journal 67, no. 2 (2017): explores smart contracts potential and limits.

11– Max Raskin, “The Law and Legality of Smart Contracts,” Georgetown Law Technology Review 1, no. 2 (2017): your introduction to smart contract legality.

12– Lin William Cong and Zhiguo He, “Blockchain Disruption and Smart Contracts” (2017): a technical look at smart contract crypto-economics.

13– Sinclair Davidson, Primavera de Filippi, and Jason Potts, “Blockchains and the Economic Institutions of Capitalism,” Journal of Institutional Economics 14, no. 4 (2018): your introduction to crypto-economics.

14– Angela Walch, “In Code(rs) We Trust: Software Developers as Fiduciaries in Public Blockchains,” in Techno-Social and Legal Challenges eds. Philipp Hacker, et al. (Oxford University Press, 2019): your introduction to crypto-finance.

15– For the rest, I recommend you read Charles Darwin, Friedrich Hayek and Lawrence Lessig. IMHO, one cannot fully understand the implications of blockchain and the law without having these books in mind.

16– And of course, you know where to find “Blockchain + Antitrust: The Decentralization Formula” 🤗 (quotes, combines and explores all the sources listed in this post).

Thibault Schrepel

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