The Emerging Blockchain and the Law

Contrary to popular representation in the media, blockchain technology is suitable for a great many applications unrelated to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.  The decentralized, tamper-resistant nature of the technology has the potential to ensure the integrity of transactions among parties that do not know, and have no basis to trust each other, and removes the need for any central authority to mediate interactions.  Enthusiasts have proposed a seemingly endless set of uses for blockchain technology: creating self-executing contracts, managing the supply chain, maintaining digital identities, trading in energy markets, decentralizing democracy, managing healthcare, delivering financial services, recording corporate filings, among much more.

The adoption of blockchain technology, like that of the internet and other digital technologies that preceded it, is creating a host of new legal issues. This symposium will explore the following three issues. First, “smart contracting.” What issues are created when contracts are enforced automatically by technology rather than by a contracting party’s invocation of the coercive power of courts? Second: use of blockchain technology by local governments. Third: use by business organizations in applications such as controlling the supply chain and decentralizing management of the corporation itself

Opening remarks will be at 8:45 a.m. by Madeline Leamon, Editor-in-Chief of Wayne Law Review.

At 8:55 a.m. Nathan Dragun, founder of VectorRock, will tee-up the numerous topics related Technology of Blockchain.

Gordon Peery, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP, will moderate an panel discussion related to blockchain and smart contracts at 9:15 a.m. Panelists will be:

  • Tonya M. Evans, Professor of Law and Chair of IP and Technology Online Programs, University of New Hampshire School of Law
  • Carla L. Reyes, Assistant Professor of Law and Director of Legal RnD, Michigan State University College of Law
  • Aaron Wright, Associate Clinical Professor of Law and Founder/Director of Tech Startup Clinic, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

John Rothchild, Associate Professor of Law, Wayne State University Law School, will moderate a panel discussion showcasing how blockchain will impact local government and what eventual blockchain regulation might look like at 10:45 a.m. Panelists will be:

The afternoon session will start with a 12:30 p.m. welcome back from Wayne State University Law School Dean Richard A. Bierschbach

At 12:35, John Rothchild, Associate Professor of Law, Wayne State University Law School, will introduce the event’s Key Note Speaker; Sarah Jane Hughes, University Scholar and Fellow in Commercial Law, Indiana University Bloomington Maurer School of Law

Anne Choike, Assistant Professor of Law (Clinical) and Director of Business and Community Law Clinic, Wayne State University Law School, will moderate a Organizational Law panel discussion at 1:30 p.m. Panelists will be:

Closing remarks will be given by Symposium Editor, Lauren Madison, at 2:45 p.m.

The day will include a continental breakfast, lunch and an evening cocktail and networking reception. Lunch will be provided to those who RSVP. Register at by February 15.

The event is made possible through the support of the Cohn Family Endowed Fund.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email Lauren Madison, Symposium Editor, at

We look forward to seeing you on February 22!