Blockchain and the Law (Tosato)
TR 3:00PM - 4:20PM
Silverman Hall 240B
I. Subject Matter Overview Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), Blockchain networks, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), and Stablecoins have taken the world by storm. Enthusiasts have passionately argued that these new technologies have the potential to disrupt and reshape almost all facets of society and the economy, including currencies, payment systems, voting systems, intellectual property rights management, artwork tracking, financial markets, property rights, access to credit, supply chain management, trade finance, and personal identification systems.
This course aims to provide students with a sophisticated understanding of the legal and regulatory challenges presented by DLT, Blockchain networks, and crypto assets. For all these novel technologies, we will study how they operate, consider their current and prospective use cases, and analyze the private, public, and administrative law issues that they engender.
II. Classroom Approach, Class Participation, and Attendance Classes will involve a combination of lecturing and dialogical interactions. Students are required to read through assigned material before class. This course relies on technical terminology, explores a vast array of categories and concepts, and emphasizes the art and science of mastering a significant amount of material. Thus, regular attendance is warmly recommended. A seating chart will be prepared during the third week of class.
III. Course Materials Books, Articles and Reports The following textbook will be used:
- DANIEL T. STABILE, KIMBERLEY A. PRIOR, ANDREW M. HINKES, DIGITAL ASSETS AND BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY: U.S. LAW AND REGULATION (Edward Elgar Pub Jul. 2020)
It is widely distributed and available both in electronic and paper formats. It can also be purchased used at a significant discount.
We will also be relying extensively on journal articles and reports issued by both governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations. These sources will be made available through Canvas.
Statutory Instruments We will explore multiple statutory sources. All of them are freely accessible on the Internet and will be made available through Canvas.
IV. Content This course will be divided into three units. A) The first will focus on understanding how DLT systems and crypto assets operate from a technical perspective and considering holistically how these new technologies interface with the law. B) In the second unit, we will concentrate on the financial regulation challenges posed by crypto assets, with a particular focus on initial coin offerings, stablecoins, and NFTs. C) In the third unit, we will delve into the private law dimension of DLT systems, crypto assets and smart contracts.
V. Assessment. This course will be assessed through a take-home, open-book exam. This examination is intended to evaluate your knowledge and understanding of the material covered. Citations to applicable primary and secondary sources will be desirable. Your ability to apply and question the policies and rationale underlying “rules” of law, especially where available authorities are not determinative, will be welcome. I will provide more precise information and guidance as the time draws nearer.
Business and Corporate Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of business and corporate law; Perform legal analysis in the context of business and corporate law; Communicate effectively on topics related to business and corporate law; Demonstrate an understanding of the interconnection between the world of business and finance and that of business and corporate law, and how they affect other areas of law and society.
International and Comparative Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of international and comparative law, both substantively and procedurally; Perform legal analysis in the context of international and comparative law; Communicate effectively on topics related to international and comparative law; Demonstrate an understanding of the role of international and comparative law, and their interconnection with domestic law.
International Corporate and Trade Law
Intellectual Property and Technology Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of intellectual property law; Perform legal analysis in the context of intellectual property law; Communicate effectively on topics related to intellectual property; Demonstrate an understanding of the interconnection between technology and intellectual property, and how they affect other areas of law and society.
"Digital Assets and Blockchain Technology: U.S. Law and Regulation" by Daniel T. Stabile, Kimberly A. Prior, Andrew M. Hinkes