Reading and writing the word of the law, but judging according to the spirit of the law – how does this apply to code for legal frameworks? We already have plenty of institutions that allow you flexibility to have your problem adjudicated in front of an impartial judge or a jury of your peers. Law students will leave believing in the spirit of the law and be gradually ground down in the system of prosecution and courts until eventually they don’t believe in anything other than winning the case. We are now looking at building systems where the outcome is known based on the formula of a neutral contract. It will not always work, sometimes it will backfire badly and we will have another DAO-saster. How can law create a safety net? The worst case is that a smart contract fails and then parties in the contract geo-locate each other to sue them in whatever court they choose at the time. New York Convention on Arbitration, an international treaty that allows you to claim independent legal arbitration within a private system of law in 156 countries. Distinguishing between use and abuse of the system with normative judgement. In a system that has no spirit of law, only rule, there is no distinction between use and abuse; if the consensus algorithm allowed it, it is not abuse. The lesson of TheDAO wasn’t “do we fork or not fork?”, it was that you don’t put $150 million in an untested contract, you idiots! That is a lesson that is self-correcting because people got hurt. The caveat of these new systems is that they are free-market, collaborative, voluntary participation: caveat emptor – “buyer beware.”

Is it true that “accounting jobs will be gone in five years because of smart contracts”? The jobs will not be gone, they will be radically transformed. If you don’t embrace this new technology, or you fight it, you will find yourself in a smaller and smaller niche that is less important to the rest of the world. Smart contracts are neither “smart,” nor “contracts.” They are programs which are rather ‘dumb.’ Decentralisation is a powerful force and we are living the century of decentralisation.

The first question is from a talk which took place on October 26th 2016 at the Blockchain Meetup in Zürich, Switzerland:

Watch the full talk here:

The second question is from a keynote talk which took place on October 19th 2016 during the Bitcoin Wednesday Meetup at the Eye Film Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands:

Watch the full talk here:

Learn more about the intersection of cryptocurrencies and law:

The Internet will eat your business –
Why developers are leaving banks –
Programmable Money: Hard Promises, Soft Contracts –
Is Bitcoin a democracy? –
Hard Promises, Soft Promises: Promoting Autonomy instead of Authority –
Irreversibility and consumer protection –
Unstoppable code –
The Lion and the Shark: Divergent Evolution in Cryptocurrency –
The Lightning Network –
Ethereum, ICOs, and Rocket Science –
TheDAO – Why failure is a necessity for learning –

Advanced Bitcoin Scripting — Part 1: Transactions & Multisig –

Advanced Bitcoin Scripting — Part 2: SegWit, Consensus, & Trustware –

Andreas M. Antonopoulos is a technologist and serial entrepreneur who has become one of the most well-known and well-respected figures in bitcoin.

Follow on Twitter: @aantonop

He is the author of two books: “Mastering Bitcoin,” published by O’Reilly Media and considered the best technical guide to bitcoin; “The Internet of Money,” a book about why bitcoin matters.




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Music: “Unbounded” by Orfan (
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Outro Art: Rock Barcellos (