“Legal innovation is global,” said Aileen A. Schultz, Director of Network Intelligence at Integra Ledger and Co-Founder of the Global Legal Hackathon (GLH). Speaking at BYU Law’s first Future of Law lecture of the school year, Schultz addressed the role of law in the technology and innovation industry.
Drawing on her experience, Schultz explained that the hackathon provides an opportunity for law students to gain valuable experience creating solutions with technology. “People go to hackathons to find solutions for what they want to accomplish,” she said. “Hack the change you want to see in the world.”
Schultz spoke specifically on the subject of blockchain and its innovating role. “[Blockchain can] ensure accuracy, efficiency, and interoperability,” she said. This advanced technology is seen as a tool that can solve legal issues from estate planning in less developed countries to identity protection.
Organizations and governments in less developed countries are on the forefront of applying technology to develop solutions to issues such as estate planning for individuals whose estate consists of farming rights and livestock. “[Blockchain technology] is providing opportunities for people to access things they otherwise haven’t been able to, such as banking,” Schultz said as she described one of the projects to come out of GLH.
Schultz called the creation of a global sovereign identity the ultimate use case for blockchain development. Schultz explained that sovereign identity is not only important for purposes of protecting people’s assets but also for large groups of people who are part of “invisible populations” whose movement from one jurisdiction to another may make it difficult for them to prove their identities using traditional methods. Sovereign identity could create a universal identity to cross national and cultural boundaries. This would also provide individuals with complete control over their own identity rather than having identity heavily impacted by governmental regulations that vary across countries.
At the conclusion of her lecture, Schultz emphasized that lawyers need to be involved in creating policies that address advances in technology and innovation—they should be at the forefront of new developments. “It shouldn’t be technologists and ‘blockchain fairies’ determining how these technologies are regulated without lawyers, people like you, in the room,” she said.