This is the fifth and final in a series of posts that breaks down our article, “Smart After All: Blockchain, Smart Contracts, Parametric Insurance, and Smart Energy Grids,” recently published in the Georgetown Law Technology Review. We have discussed the enforceability of blockchain-based smart contracts under ESIGN and UETA and a few promising smart contract applications. We will now examine the use of blockchain-based smart contracts for microgrids. You can read the full article here.

Within the energy industry, blockchain-based smart contracts can accelerate the development of smart meters, as we discussed earlier. However, they can also help accelerate the development of microgrids. Blockchain-based smart contracts can provide the tool to give both utilities and customers the levels of efficiency and effectiveness that both strive for, while delivering both the consumer protections and individual choice that stakeholders often advocate.

Continue Reading Finding Resiliency in Microgrids

This is the forth in a series of posts that breaks down our article, “Smart After All: Blockchain, Smart Contracts, Parametric Insurance, and Smart Energy Grids,” recently published in the Georgetown Law Technology Review. We previously discussed the enforceability of blockchain-based smart contracts under ESIGN and UETA and the application of blockchain-based smart contracts for simple insurance contracts and parametric insurance. We will now examine the use of blockchain-based smart contracts in the energy industry, specifically for smart meters. You can read the full article here.

The energy industry is actively examining new models and mechanisms for delivering service to customers. Likewise, customers themselves are looking for new ways to purchase energy and to understand the origins of the energy they purchase. Blockchain-based smart contracts can provide a new, more secure basis for smart meters and, in fact, can take advantage of blockchain’s currency foundations to automate payments as well.

Continue Reading Rethinking the Energy Industry with Smart Meters

This is the first in a series of posts that breaks down our article, “Smart After All: Blockchain, Smart Contracts, Parametric Insurance, and Smart Energy Grids,” recently published in the Georgetown Law Technology Review. First, we will discuss the enforceability of blockchain-based smart contracts followed by four use cases: simple insurance contracts, parametric insurance, smart meters, and microgrids. You can read the full article here.

Smart contracts have the potential to impact a range of industries, and some are even calling 2017 “The Year of Smart Contracts.” Smart contracts can be used not only to automate existing processes, but also to create new industries and reach new markets. By providing a digital platform for coding “if-then” statements, providing a secure and resilient environment for value transactions, and preserving a detailed and immutable transaction history, the blockchain provides an ideal platform for smart contracts.

With companies and industries continuing to explore new blockchain-based smart contract applications, it is important to establish their enforceability.

Numerous questions have already been raised as to whether a contract on the blockchain is binding and enforceable. Vermont, for instance, has made multiple attempts to pass a law that would make blockchain evidence self-authenticating, and has finally succeeded in enacting one. Arizona recently passed a law clarifying that signatures obtained through blockchain technology are valid electronic signatures. We believe that the federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) and state laws modeled on the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (UETA) provide sufficient legal foundation for blockchain-based smart contracts to be enforced under current law.

Continue Reading The Enforceability of Smart Contracts