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Autonomous Law Research

My autonomous law research focuses on the intersection of peer-to-peer decentralization technologies and U.S. corporate, securities and contract law.

Blockchain Tokens as Shares of Network Equity

Blockchain network tokens are not primarily products, software licenses or currencies (though they may secondarily have such functions). They are shares of 'network equity.' Securities laws may apply to them until the ecosystem has become sufficiently decentralized. Sufficient decentralization occurs when the tokens no longer represent investment contracts and no single party or group of affiliated parties controls the network equity or means of block production on the network

Tokens as Securities Certificates

Tokens on public, permissionless blockchain networks function as transferable instruments ('certificates') representing traditional and decentralized securities.

Qualified Code Deference for Legal Agreements

Smart contracts deployed on public blockchain networks should be combined with natural-language legal contracts under a synergistic "qualified code deference" methodology. This will enable parties to agree to abide by the results of smart contracts except in unusual circumstances

Blockchain Governance

Blockchain governance is best understood through the lens of "Szabo's Governance Trilemma". According to Szabo, blockchain governance generally takes one of three forms--'ruthlessly minimized,' 'lord of the flies' or 'lawyers'. Ruthlessly minimized governance, sometimes described as following "Szabo's Law", is the most robust against certain forms of social capture. However, when minimized governance is not desired or possible, legalistic governance is preferable to lord-of-the-flies governance. If a network will be subject to frequent hardforks which adversely affect minorities, due process is required and legalistic governance becomes particularly important.

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