This article investigates the twofold impact that blockchain technologies and smart contracts have on dispute resolution. On the one hand, these technologies enable private parties to devise arbitral systems that are self-enforcing and, therefore, largely bypass the recognition and enforcement procedures through which State courts traditionally exert a certain control over arbitration. This phenomenon may in the future allow arbitration to become entirely self-sufficient, thus leading to the marginalization of State courts. On the other hand, however, such a marginalization has not taken place yet; to the contrary, the recent blockchain-related phenomenon of initial coin offerings has given rise to some prominent court cases. These cases raise particularly interesting jurisdictional questions, especially in light of the difficulty of reconciling the decentralized nature of the blockchain with the territorial approach whereby jurisdiction is typically allocated among national courts.
Pietro Ortolani, The impact of blockchain technologies and smart contracts on dispute resolution: arbitration and court litigation at the crossroads, Uniform Law Review, https://doi.org/10.1093/ulr/unz017. Published: 16 May 2019.