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Grant assists new lawyers with navigating blockchain law

A United States-based cryptocurrency exchange platform has awarded two students and an entrepreneurial fellow “significant” funding to develop legal technology.

user iconNaomi Neilson 21 March 2022 NewLaw
blockchain law
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Following their involvement in Australian National University’s (ANU) blockchain and legal innovation courses, fellow Scott Chamberlain and his student Mark Laugeson were awarded grants by Ripple. Another student, Simon Moore, received funding from independently sourced overseas funders for his own legal tech project.

ANU student ambassador Aidan Hookey wrote that Mr Chamberlain received US$1 million from Ripple in 2019 to set up the courses with ANU, “with the hopes that students could learn how the law can provide more equitable and efficient outcomes”.


Mr Chamberlain said it is his hope that this technology mix of blockchain, smart contracts and digital assets “can be a new institution for social scaling” and a way for strangers to “collaborate without the traditional intermediaries”.

He added that within the legal sphere, “this would mean better matching legal rights to real-world outcomes, improving access to justice by scaling how people meet their obligations and safeguard their rights”. Learning alongside Mr Chamberlain has been a “defining experience” in their ideas, Mr Laugeson and Mr Moore said.

“It’s exciting because it’s radically new and presents the opportunity to reinvent old world systems from the ground up. Developing ideas within a sound legal framework creates differentiation and makes ideas stand apart from malström of bedroom anarchist crypto innovators,” Mr Moore commented.

Mr Laugeson added: “Prior to studying at ANU, I thought that blockchain was a technology problem. The two blockchain courses taught me that blockchain is at least 50 per cent a legal problem. That was a big surprise to me as a technologist!”