The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is working with the Blockchain Pilots program, run by the Dutch government, to explore how distributed ledger technology can be used in a wide range of legal applications within the overall UN System, as well as by outside entities.
Announced today, the partnership will facilitate collaboration between thirteen authors, who will publish their research findings later this summer, followed by a launch event in mid-September held in New York, likely at UN headquarters.
"The aim of this publication is to act as a catalyst to discuss the legal implications that blockchain has," said Yoshiyuki Yamamoto, special advisor on UN Engagement and Blockchain Technology for UNOPS, "not only in humanitarian and development work, which is our prime concern, but also on existing regulatory frameworks, data and identity more broadly." Koen Hartog, program manager for the Dutch government's Blockchain Pilots initiative, added that "for blockchain to reach its full potential a clear understanding of the legal implications involved is required."
As an operational arm of the UN responsible for implementing UN System initiatives, UNOPS works with partners around the globe to help realize the UN's sustainable development goals.
Although UNOPS already has an established track record of exploring distributed ledger technologies like blockchains to solve pressing humanitarian issues, this new partnership with Blockchain Pilots by the Dutch government will look to discover legal use cases for reference by officials working in public administration and international organizations.
Hartog told ETHNews:
"Dutch [legal] blockchain experts who contribute to our book have done great work in this field, examining to which extent smart contracts are or can be legal contracts. The outcome of their research shows that code can be legally binding in some cases, but definitely not in all cases. A good understanding of the legal aspects of blockchain and involvement of legal experts in blockchain projects is crucial for the further development of the ecosystem."