The relatively new concept of a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), is often praised as a new type of organizational structure that has no identifiable owner or owners, and whose actions are automated and determined solely by a pre-defined set of rules. Views on DAOs differ widely. On one hand, members of the Bitcoin/blockchain space often portrayal them as AI-like swarm organisms, free from the shackles of nation-states, and that can act at will regardless of laws or regulation. On the other hand, legal experts caution that, like corporations, DAOs and their creators could be held liable in civil lawsuits, and that they may be served a hard dose of reality when they end up in court.
We are joined by Florian Glatz, attorney, researcher and software developer (not to mention the proud owner of the awesome domain name blockchain.lawyer). We discuss some of the basic legal concepts surrounding contracts and in what ways smart contracts may or may not fit within our existing legal framework. We also dive deep into DAOs, and address some of the challenges they may pose in the near and distant future.
Topics covered include:
- The history of innovation in law
- How merchant law (Lex Mercatoria) emerged in the 13th century
- How we can define smart contracts
- The legality of smart contacts
- The need for natural language contracts vs. contracts which are written in code
- Decentralized Autonomous Organizations
- The Slock.it DAO
- What would happen if one tried to sue a DAO
Links mentioned in this episode:
- Florian's Website
- What are Smart Contracts? In search of a consensus
- Smart Contracts, Platforms and Intermediaries
- How to Sue A DAO
- How to Incorporate a DAO
Epicenter Bitcoin is hosted by Brian Fabian Crain, Sébastien Couture & Meher Roy.