Bridging the Governance Gap: Dispute Resolution for Blockchain-Based Transactions

Latham and the World Economic Forum collaborate on white paper exploring the spectrum of dispute resolution options available for governance frameworks that will encourage onboarding of enterprise participants.

December 10, 2020

Latham & Watkins has collaborated with the World Economic Forum to produce Bridging the Governance Gap: Dispute Resolution for Blockchain-Based Transactions, a white paper exploring forward-looking practical options for different dispute resolution mechanisms derived from case studies, various existing solutions and blockchain-based dispute resolution protocols. In particular, the paper focuses on resolution protocols for on-chain transactions to be used by enterprise users. The paper provides key considerations to help market participants — blockchain professionals, businesspeople, and lawyers — not only plan for disputes related to on-chain transactions, but anticipate disputes that may arise in new and unforeseen ways to help mitigate them.

Jenny Cieplak, partner in Latham’s Fintech Industry Group and a lead author of the paper, said: “Thoughtful planning and implementing a generally accepted method of dispute resolution are critical to encouraging network adoption and unleashing blockchain technology’s full potential. We were delighted to collaborate with the World Economic Forum on this resource that provides key considerations for developing an effective network governance framework that will help mitigate risk and encourage the onboarding of enterprise participants.”

“As any good lawyer knows, even the best-laid plans do not always turn out as intended. Having a framework for what to do when disputes arise is critical to the responsible deployment of any new technology, particularly where multiple parties are involved,” said Sheila Warren, Head of Blockchain and Digital Assets and Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum. “Latham brings together the legal, governance, collaborative, and practical considerations required for well-thought-out blockchain dispute-resolution approaches, and we were delighted to partner with them on this paper, which we hope will address critical governance gaps in the blockchain space and encourage adoption.”

“As blockchain networks continue to grow, these communities need to consider what happens when things go wrong. This blockchain governance paper explores forward-looking practical options of different dispute-resolution mechanisms. It will therefore be a valuable resource to those involved in building and scaling blockchain networks and consortia," said Nadia Hewett, Project Lead for Blockchain and Data Policy at the World Economic Forum.

The full white paper is available on the World Economic Forum’s website.

About the World Economic Forum
The World Economic Forum, committed to improving the state of the world, is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

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