Reduce the possibility of disputes and litigation, will the blockchain replace lawyers in the future?

Article source: Guangming Daily
Original title: "Can blockchain replace lawyers?"
Author: Wang Xiong, Capital Normal University Political Science Lecturer

As a diners, you want to know the "previous life and life" of frozen chickens in front of you; as an international student, you want to transfer tuition fees abroad at low cost and efficiently; as a lawyer, you want to quickly verify the authenticity of real estate ownership certificates. In the future, you can download the block book and view it on your own computer. Don't worry about privacy leaks, because your identity is hidden in the blockchain, and only you have the private key to unlock the identity black box. Wills, marriage contracts, contracts, title certificates, degree certificates, financial accounts, birth certificates, and food traceability… The blockchain can record almost everything you want to record, and it will dramatically change people's lives.

Blockchain is a non-tamperable distributed è book

From the earliest single-entry bookkeeping method to the late double-entry bookkeeping method, humans have used different accounting methods, and their book carrier forms have evolved from early knots and book titles to current electronic storage. The biggest advantage of electronic storage is that it is easy to copy the books , infinitely accumulate information and increase the book block, but it cannot guarantee the consistency of the copy and the original.

Until the emergence of the blockchain, this trust problem was solved. Because the blockchain absorbs the advantages of Internet big data, anyone can participate in the accounting of accounts in different time and space and different nodes. The new account information will be packaged into a block and encrypted, and the time stamp will be stamped. The timestamp order, starting from the initiating block and linking to the current block, forms the general ledger, which is the blockchain.

Since the blockchain is written and maintained by users within the network , as long as more than 51% of the participants in the network pass the account book, the new block is established. To tamper with or falsify, more than 51% of the participants need to agree, which is impossible in practice. Therefore, when the number of participants in the blockchain reaches a sufficient number, a trust mechanism is created, and the true reliability of the books can be guaranteed without any "center", and there is no need to worry about the hacker destroying the books by attacking a central database.

Blockchain will reduce the possibility of disputes and litigation

The blockchain's tamper resistance, high transparency and traceability make it widely used in financial credit, asset disclosure, legal deposit, copyright management and trading. Once it is widely used, it will form a credit platform in the whole society and even the whole world. Before the official identification and guarantee of property rights, health, origin, signature and other information, the blockchain can be used to ensure its authenticity. The original disputes caused by fraud, concealment, misunderstanding or even intentional tampering with information will be greatly reduced, and the litigation faced by judges and lawyers will also drop sharply.

The use of smart contracts makes it almost impossible to default . “Drip Tipping” automatically dispatches the order and executes it. After clicking “Getting to the destination”, it will be automatically debited. This is a typical smart contract that eliminates the previously unacceptable refusal, and does not cause disputes because of differences in the understanding of the terms of the contract. This is because the smart contract uses the blockchain as the underlying technology, the machine language has stability, and there is no understanding deviation. Once the set conditions are met, it runs according to the established rules until the task is completed. Smart contracts have been widely used in P2P accommodation, equity crowdfunding, and housing leasing, and have controlled the risk of default.

Infringement of intellectual property rights will be greatly reduced . First, the blockchain can reduce disputes over the ownership of rights. The current patent applications in various countries are time-consuming and inefficient, especially on the criteria of “novelty”. The distributed ledger of the blockchain has high transparency and can quickly search for patent applications on the whole network for novelty. Once the patent application is approved, the time stamp technology can guarantee the uniqueness of the ownership of intellectual property, avoiding the dispute of ownership and improving the efficiency of the confirmation mechanism.

Second, blockchain technology can also reduce disputes over rights transfer and licensing. The right party encrypts the patent or copyright content through the blockchain technology, issues a license or transfers the offer within the whole network, and the condition is automatically executed once triggered, and the problem of license distribution and profit distribution is automatically solved without the intervention of the intermediary. At the same time, the copyright service platform built on the blockchain technology can also provide efficient, simple and easy-to-use copyright registration services for digital works.

Blockchain will greatly facilitate lawyers to conduct business

Blockchain will also greatly improve efficiency in non-litigation areas such as property registration, probate notary, and securities issuance . In terms of real estate registration, countries such as Greece have gradually introduced blockchain technology, eliminating the trouble of lawyers waiting in line for investigation and evidence collection. The blockchain also solves the problem of the authenticity of the appearance of the movable mortgage guarantee, ownership retention, movable property transfer and security system, and saves the transaction costs of the parties and lawyers.

In the field of securities finance , blockchain technology can transform various financial instruments and their protocols into algorithms, automating the complex operational processes and improving the efficiency of lawyers in the issuance and transfer of auxiliary securities. Moreover, the blockchain can solve the problem of information disclosure in one fell swoop, and its high transparency makes it impossible to hide insider trading, curve and wealth. It is also possible to publish relevant information in the IPO business throughout the network, so that all parties can query, compare and verify the reliability of the data. Similarly, in the case of securities clearing and settlement, automatic matching of buyers and sellers through smart contracts, automatic clearing, can eliminate the intermediary link, shorten the entire settlement process to a few minutes.

In the field of litigation , the judicial deposit function of the blockchain has facilitated the lawyers to conduct trial proceedings. According to the White Paper on the Application of Judicial Deposits in Blockchain issued in June 2019, electronic evidence is widely used in 43 different types of scenarios such as divorce property, securities disputes, internet finance, and electronic medical records.

However, in the trial evidence, it is difficult to prove that the electronic evidence is the original. The unique timestamp function of the blockchain not only prevents data from being tampered with, but also traces the traces of data operations and presents the original appearance of the evidence. Moreover, in the way of demonstration, the blockchain browser can be used directly to prove the lawyer's evidence. With the maturity of various Internet courts and third-party depository platforms, the evidence of insurance securities, e-commerce online shopping, credit card disputes and other cases can be secured by the chain, witnessing the whole node, credibility of the entire link, and improving the efficiency of lawyer services.

Blockchain technology is quietly bringing a revolution to the legal services industry . However, it cannot fundamentally replace a lawyer.

Because value judgment is the core content of lawyer service supply, blockchain technology can be used as an auxiliary tool to liberate lawyers from verification, evidence collection and factual judgment, but it cannot replace lawyers for value judgment, especially in difficult cases. From which angle to obtain evidence, how to arrange evidence materials requires lawyers to judge based on their own experience and understanding of legal values. So far, the blockchain can't do this.