LawTech.Asia

Southeast Asia's foremost Law & Technology Review

Month: April 2018

The Power and Pitfalls of Smart Contracts: A Recap

Written by Chelsea Chan | Edited by Amelia Chew & Irene Ng

LawTech.Asia had the privilege of being a media partner for TechLaw.Fest 2018. The inaugural TechLaw.Fest held from 4 to 6 April 2018 saw the convergence of legal professionals, technologists, entrepreneurs and policy makers, conversant and passionate about Technology Law and Legal Technology, coming together to discuss the future of Singapore’s technology scene. This article summarises one of the panel discussions held on 5 April 2018 titled “The Power and Pitfalls of Smart Contracts”.

The discussion was chaired by Joyce A. Tan (Joyce A. Tan & Partners); and the panel comprised of Ashton Addison (CEO and Founder, Eventchain.io), Sopnendu Mohanty (Chief Fintech Officer, Monetary Authority of Singapore), Hirofumi Aihara (General Manager of Digital Innovation, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group), Tomasz Kurcyzk (Digital Transformation Director, AXA Singapore) and Stella Cramer (APAC Head of Technology & Innovation, Norton Rose Fulbright).

After the introduction by Joyce Tan, Ashton Addison elaborated on the basics of a smart contract and potential technological pitfalls. A Smart Contract is an agreement converted into a small piece of software, which stores the rules and terms of the agreement and when met automatically executes exactly how it was coded. The appeal of a Smart Contract lies in its automation and that it is fully transparent, so the code reflecting contractual terms can be seen by anyone regardless of privity to contract. However, bugs in the code may lead to loss of funds. Further, large transactions are currently not possible since Ethereum can only handle 13 transactions per second, potentially creating a significant backlog if applied to current business transactions.

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UNCITRAL E-Commerce Law 2.0: Blockchain and Smart Contracts

Guest Post by Irene Ng

Irene Ng is a Fellow at the Stanford-Vienna Transatlantic Technology Law Forum and a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Vienna. On March 17, 2018, Irene shared about how UNCITRAL e-commerce texts can interact with blockchain and smart contracts at the Computational Law & Blockchain Festival, Singapore Node. The following post is a summary of her presentation and answer to some queries that were asked.

1. What is UNCITRAL?

UNCITRAL stands for the United Nations Commission for International Trade Law. It is the main body of the United Nations that aims to promote trade amongst states through modernizing and harmonizing rules for international commerce. UNCITRAL has undertaken work in a wide range of commercial law issues, such as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), arbitration and conciliation, investor-state dispute settlement reform, electronic commerce, insolvency law, security interests and international sale of goods.

2. What are UNCITRAL E-Commerce Texts and how are they related to Singapore’s e-commerce laws?

In the field of e-commerce, UNCITRAL has released four texts in the last two decades or so. The first legislative text was the Model Law on Electronic Commerce (1996). Subsequently, UNCITRAL released the Model Law on Electronic Signatures (2001), the Electronic Communications Convention (2005), and, more recently, the Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (2017). These texts intend to facilitate e-commerce transactions by establishing rules to allow the electronic equivalent of paper-based documents to be legally recognised, thereby removing obstacles encountered by the use of electronic means.

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TechLaw.Fest Quick Chats: Serena Lim, Bizibody

Interview by Audrey Koo and Eugene Tham | Edited by Jennifer Lim Wei Zhen

TechLaw.Fest 2018 will take place from 4 to 6 April 2018 in Singapore, bringing together the movers and shakers in the space of Technology Law and Legal Technology. In the lead-up to TechLaw.Fest, the LawTech.Asia team will be bringing to you regular interviews and shout-outs covering prominent speakers and the topics they will be speaking at TechLaw.Fest.

LawTech.Asia sat down for a chat with Serena Lim, Director at Bizibody Technology, Opus 2 International (Singapore) and Litigation Edge. Prior to founding Bizibody, she was the managing director of Khattar Wong & Partner’s Hong Kong Office. She is, inter alia, a specialist in practice management technologies, and is a consultant for discovery, litigation and court technologies.

At TechLaw.Fest 2018, Serena will be a panellist at the “Legal Tech Primer Session” at the Tech of Law Exchange. She will be introducing current legal research, document review and knowledge management tools.

What are some examples of legal secretarial work that are repetitive, and which your company has helped automated?

Two examples are (1) billings and (2) document preparation. These are areas of legal practice in which automation is possible and useful.

Let me illustrate what a law firm has to do without the aid of automation when issuing  bills or doing substantive legal work such as conveyancing, personal injury, debt collection and corporate secretarial work.

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TechLaw.Fest Quick Chats: Hugh Mason, JFDI.Asia

Interview by Amelia Chew

TechLaw.Fest 2018 will bring together leading Technology Law thinkers and Legal Technology vendors from 4 to 6 April 2018 at Suntec Convention Centre, Singapore. Within it, the TechLaw.Fest Hackathon will be an intense, fast-paced 48-hour event challenging legal professionals, software developers and designers to come up with out-of-the-box solutions to problems faced by lawyers, in-house counsels and users of legal services. The event has a particular focus on personal data protection and the challenges faced by data protection officers (DPOs) in Singapore. The top three teams will receive prize vouchers worth up to $12,000 and the opportunity to develop their solutions further under SAL’s Future Law Innovation Programme (FLIP) Accelerator Programme.

Hugh Mason, CEO of JFDI.Asia, is partnering with the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) to operate the FLIP Accelerator and will also serve as a judge in the TechLaw.Fest Hackathon. Here, the LawTech.Asia team asked him how he saw teams from the hackathon following through to make their ideas real.

We understand that you will be running the accelerator programme under SAL’s Future Law Innovation Programme (FLIP). How does this fit into SAL’s Legal Tech Vision?

One way of thinking about innovation is to see it on three ‘Horizons’.

Horizon 1 is the known world of work we see today: the core business of lawyers and their clients as we know it. Here we are looking for efficiency savings by using off-the-shelf productivity tools. The LIFTED programme at SAL addresses this aspect of the SAL Legal Tech Vision, as does the incubator at Collision 8.

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