TECHNOLOGY, OUTSOURCING, AND COMMERCIAL TRANSACTIONS
NEWS FOR LAWYERS AND SOURCING PROFESSIONALS

Morgan Lewis partner Peter Watt-Morse (Pittsburgh) and associate Eric Pennesi (Pittsburgh) will be participating in the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s 2019 Cyberlaw Update, which will address trending topics, including blockchain and cryptocurrency and security and privacy concerns related to social media, in addition to GDPR.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Social Media Ethics – Its Use and Impact on the Practice of Law
  • IP in the Age of Cloud Computing and Artificial Intelligence
  • Responding to Data Breaches – Legal Update and Practical Counsel

The event will be hosted at the PBI Professional Development Center (Heinz 57 Center, 339 Sixth Avenue, 7th Floor, Pittsburgh PA, 15222) on Tuesday, April 30 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Register for Event

When polling fellow tech lawyers about blockchain, most of them seemed to be waiting out getting up to speed on the technology to see if the hype would stick and whether clients would actually implement blockchain solutions at an enterprise level. Would blockchain for business applications, such as supply chain and data transfer, explode like the “cloud” and “automation” or fall by the wayside as other technologies outpaced it?

While the staying power of public cryptocurrency platforms is still in question, the use of blockchain technology to enable business solutions seems to be increasing, with blockchain use cases moving from the innovation lab into implementation.

The first edition of Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Regulation 2019, published by Global Legal Insights, provides in-depth analysis of the developing arena of the regulation of blockchain and cryptocurrency, and country-by-country analysis of issues including government attitudes and definition, cryptocurrency regulation, sales regulation, taxation, money transmission laws and anti-money laundering requirements, promotion and testing, ownership and licensing requirements, mining, and border restrictions.

Continuing the firm’s thought leadership in this emerging field, Morgan Lewis lawyers Vasilisa Strizh, Anastasia Kiseleva, and Dmitry Dmitriev have written the chapter providing insight on the approach in Russia.

The World Bank announced on August 10 that 70 years after its first bond transaction, it will be issuing the first bond to use entirely blockchain technology, in part to help the bank gain experience in the use of blockchain. The World Bank’s innovation lab partnered with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBAUF) and Microsoft on this endeavor almost a year in the making.

Blockchain is a growing list of records, or “blocks” linked using cryptography and resistant to modification since it is essentially an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and verifiable in a permanent way. This means that once data is recorded, the data in a block cannot be altered without altering all later blocks, which requires majority consensus of the network. Just imagine all the people around the world agreeing to verify a single block and all subsequent blocks!

The Pittsburgh session of the annual Cyberlaw Update for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI) will take place on Tuesday, July 17. Moderated by Morgan Lewis partner Peter Watt-Morse, the update enters its 21st year and this year’s seminar will focus on current hot-button issues including blockchain and cryptocurrency and security and privacy concerns related to social media, IOT, GDPR, and the Dark Web.

Speakers at the all-day event include Mr. Watt-Morse and of counsel Emily Lowe, who will be speaking on privacy and security concerns regarding social media from both a policy and regulatory standpoint in the wake of the disclosures related to Cambridge Analytics; and associate Ben Klaber who will be reviewing such concerns as they apply to the burgeoning market of Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Just when we finally figured out how to contract for “cloud” services and SaaS, here comes blockchain—the next disruptor for IT, businesses and, yes, us lawyers.

So what is blockchain? This is one of the best definitions that we have found from the Wall Street Journal, CIO Explainer: What Is Blockchain?

A blockchain is a data structure that makes it possible to create a digital ledger of transactions and share it among a distributed network of computers. It uses cryptography to allow each participant on the network to manipulate the ledger in a secure way without the need for a central authority. Once a block of data is recorded on the blockchain ledger, it’s extremely difficult to change or remove. When someone wants to add to it, participants in the network—all of which have copies of the existing blockchain—run algorithms to evaluate and verify the proposed transaction. If a majority of nodes agree that the transaction looks valid…then the new transaction will be approved and a new block added to the chain.