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Blockchain Evidence Technology Recognised, is the Blockchain Court Far Away?

In the discussion on blockchain technology, you may have heard of blockchain evidence technology. What is blockchain evidence technology? Well, it is a kind of electronic evidence, which contains the three characteristics, the same as normal evidence: legality, relevance and objectivity, as well as the third-party notarization, decentralised structure, timestamp record, low cost, high credibility and other advantages. Every time of access, change, etc. will have a record, so each action is very well documented.

On June 28, 2018, the Hangzhou Internet Court heard an ordinary copyright dispute, which has attracted worldwide media attention, as it is the first case in which the blockchain evidence technology has been recognised. The case is about a copyright owner who authorised their work for the plaintiff to use, a media company, but was infringed by a Shenzhen company, so the plaintiff sued for compensation for infringement losses. The amount was only 4,000 yuan, the acceptance fee even less, with the defendant 18 rmb and the plaintiff 7 rmb. However, the evidence submitted by the plaintiff is not a traditional infringement webpage notarization, but rather through a third-party evidence platform, which got the infringement webpage and the page source ID, and then compressed it and calculated as a hash value uploaded to the Factom blockchain and bitcoin blockchain. This was recognised by the court, based on the principle that the blockchain cryptography technology ensures that the existing data can not be tampered with.

Suddenly, blockchain technology has become a hit, and the Internet concept has swept the judicial community! Not only has China established the first internet court, the Hangzhou Internet Court, but also promoted a WeChat court service platform, public security online platform, electronic evidence platform, and even the network arbitration service system. (Note: WeChat is the Chinese app which is a mix of Facebook, WhatsApp, and much more. You can also order food, a taxi or pay for bills, etc via WeChat.) Imagine in the future, when the court enforces the property but the party refuses to tell his private key, it may force and use the “multi-signature” method to transfer his bitcoin. For example, if an address is owned by three parties and any two could open it jointly, then a third party trusted by the other two can be introduced as a neutral party. In the event of a dispute, this third party can make a decision and transfer the asset through its private key together with the winning party. The third party can be a friend, an arbitration institution or other organs.

It can be seen that the decentralisation of blockchain technology is rapidly developing because of its great advantages. It is not only with low cost, high efficiency, good stability, but it’s also open, distributed and irreversible to all people everywhere worldwide. At present, many blockchainplatforms exist in China, not only currency transactions, legal currency transactions, leveraged  transactions, but also blockchain technology in the fields of transportation, media, and automobiles. The legal field is no exception to this. Electronic evidence blockchain provides the clients with multi-party deposit certificate, forensics, judicial appraisal, notarisation, etc and solves blockchain judicial landing problem. Even more exciting, in the Middle East, the International Court in Dubai, dealing with financial, civil and commercial disputes, wishes to launch a blockchain court in the near future to streamline the legal process. The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is working with the government-backed Smart Dubai program to focus on developing a blockchain legal platform. With the Internet court, blockchain evidence technology, is the blockchain court far away?

P.S: And will the Netherlands be the first European country to work with the innovative technology? 

Author: Yaru Ren (LL.M. Heffels Spiegeler Avocaten)


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