The Arkansas Law Review is a quarterly journal spearheaded by the Arkansas Bar Association and the University of Arkansas Law School. Its primary goal is to highlight legal issues by publishing scholarly and authoritative articles. Dr. Mary C. Lacity, Director of the Blockchain Center of Excellence, was recently featured in the Arkansas Law Review with a paper entitled “Crypto and Blockchain Fundamentals.”

Dr. Lacity discusses the “Internet of Value” as a new method of transacting value over the Internet facilitated by Blockchain technologies. She emphasizes that prior to blockchain technologies, value was transacted through facilitators such as government-issued currencies, trusted third parties and party-level record keeping. These are traditionally facilitators of the Internet of Information. However, while they have some advantages, blockchain technologies seem to remedy nearly all of their drawbacks. Dr. Lacity describes cryptocurrencies as replacements for government-issued currencies as they are much harder to counterfeit and their policies are not controlled by one entity. She mentions that trusted third parties can be replaced by automation and community-driven counter-party risk mitigation, and that party-level record keeping can be replaced by shared record keeping so as to create a “universal record of truth.”

Lacity also illustrates multiple factors contributing to the Internet of Value enabled by blockchain, namely security, anonymity, immutability, predictability and lower transaction fees, among others. Thus, blockchain can be incredibly disruptive to well-established businesses and institutions. However, with several supporting use-cases and real-world implementations of blockchain technologies, Dr. Lacity stresses on the necessity for legal practitioners to implement strong regulations and policies that allow innovation in technology to thrive while ensuring the protection of the environment, investors, and consumers.

by Odessa Elie