A Blockchain Consortium for Law

No matter where you turn these days, it seems that nearly every major industry is organizing its own blockchain consortium. The reason that industries are forming consortia is the nature of blockchain technology, which is a radical turn away from centralized intermediaries.

Without major intermediaries (cloud-based software, cloud-based document storage, etc.) to provide convenience and standards, it is necessary for industries themselves to band together to jointly develop standards and governance, thus the typically non-profit, consortium strategy.

The legal industry is finally about to follow in the footsteps of other industries and announce its own broad-based blockchain consortium, aptly named the Global Legal Blockchain Consortium. Set for announcement on August 15th alongside ILTACON, the GLBC will initially be composed of major law firms, major corporations (via their legal departments), legal software companies, and law schools. It is expected that governments and court systems will become members in 2018.

In tandem with the announcement of the Global Legal Blockchain Consortium, the Integra Ledger blockchain is also set for announcement as a permissioned, “utility” blockchain for the global legal industry, under the governance and standards set by the GLBC.

The primary focus of Integra is to provide the global legal ecosystem with a universal blockchain to anchor legal “identities”. These identities, in turn, hold the promise of underpinning a new legal technology ecosystem characterized by much greater privacy, security, data integrity, and interoperability among all stakeholders in law.

The definition of “identity” in blockchain technology is different than most people expect. In conventional use, people tend to think of identity as a driver’s license, with a name, number, date of birth, and similar information.

But in blockchain, identity usually refers to uniqueness and proof of existence. Said another way, a person doesn’t need a driver’s license or a government-granted number to prove that he or she exists. It’s a reality that he or she exists, and the government issuance of an ID is a matter of convenience — we don’t trust people to issue their own IDs, so we appoint trusted intermediaries to create a standard way of representing IDs.

The uniqueness of blockchain is that it can confirm existence of an identity, without the need for a central intermediary, and without having to reveal the associated details and descriptors of that identity.

This is the foundational idea of Integra — the idea that if you can confirm the uniqueness and existence of an individual, a document, a contract, a lawsuit, a transaction, or any number of other unique identities in law, without the need for a central authority, then you can create highly secure systems to transact the business of law without exposing every law firm and client to the type of security breaches that are becoming increasingly common.

The GLBC and Integra believe that their joint announcement will catalyze a new cycle innovation in legal technology that will benefit all of the stakeholders, and that’s why, unlike some other industry consortia, the GLBC will include members from every aspect of the legal industry.

To learn more about the Global Legal Blockchain Consortium and the associated Integra blockchain for law, visit www.legalconsortium.org, where you can register to attend the announcement event at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas, 3 p.m. on Tuesday, August 15.

If you can’t attend the event in person, you can also register to view the announcement event via livestream.