Volume 1, Issue 2 (2017)

Articles

Before 2016, blockchain technology was known, if at all, as the technical underpinnings of virtual currency. However, in the past year, blockchain technology has come into its own. It is now seen as a groundbreaking advance that can both reduce frictional costs in existing transactional systems and enable new, previously-unworkable models of social and commercial […]

A new technology called “smart contracts” has emerged. What makes these legal agreements innovative is that their execution is made automatic through the use of computers. This Article examines smart contracts from a legal perspective. Specifically, this Article explains smart contracts’ operation and place in existing contract law. It introduces a distinction between strong and […]

Notes

Introduction Mobile banking, digital payments, peer-to-peer lending, and e-commerce are no longer ideas drawn from science fiction. The rise of the internet has disrupted our notion of financial payments; we can now shop, invest, and manage our payments online. The emerging industry of financial technology (“fintech”) deepens and broadens the range of financial services that […]

Case Comments

Introduction The patentability of business methods has become a controversial subject in recent years as technological advancements force legal scholars and policymakers to reconsider long-standing doctrines. Historically, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) only granted business method patents on rare occasions because they were deemed to be abstractions beyond the confines of patent law. […]

Introduction Since the release of Bitcoin in 2009, the cryptocurrency has grown in prominence and public acceptance. By seemingly providing a layer of anonymity in transactions, Bitcoin has also become the public face of virtual currencies in illicit online dealings: Bitcoin has been associated with several high-profile criminal cases involving major drug website shutdowns, notably […]

Introduction In 2010, the Wall Street Flash Crash caused the United States to experience a trillion-dollar stock market crash. Within a few minutes, the Dow Jones index lost nearly 9% of its value, which wiped off hundreds of billions of dollars from the share prices of established companies such as Proctor & Gamble and General […]

Technology Explainers

The world is changing fast. At the end of 2015, nearly 44% of the world population had access to the internet. By some reliable estimates, the remaining 56% of the world’s population will be connected to the vast digital network by 2025. In less than nine years, every human will have the potential to be […]

The freedom to contract is one of the oldest and most basic tenets of the American legal system. Subject to limited judicial and statutory exceptions, parties have been and are generally afforded carte blanche in determining the terms of a binding agreement and how those terms are memorialized. The recent emergence of “smart contracts,” that […]

Introduction Machine learning describes the process through which computers can learn without continued human input. In the era of big data, machine learning is particularly promising because it allows for identification of patterns in large data sets. Machine learning has applications in fields as diverse as medicine, e-commerce, and banking. This essay will discuss the […]

Legal News & Developments

The electricity market is undergoing a transformation. The basic tenet of a centralized production, transmission and distribution system where consumers purchase electricity from a single provider is increasingly developing into a decentralized, multiple provider system centered on renewable energy, in which the customer may produce, consume, and then sell excess electricity capacity like a commodity […]

Native American tribes possess something special-tribal sovereignty. “Tribal sovereignty includes tribes’ right to govern themselves, define their own membership, manage tribal property, and regulate tribal business and domestic relations.” Tribal sovereignty also recognizes the existence of a government-to-government relationship between tribes and the U.S. government. This relationship often complicates the intersection of tribal, state, and […]

Introduction The global insurance industry has approximately $15 trillion in assets under management and $5 trillion in annual premium revenues. $1.2 trillion of the annual premium revenues come from the United States alone. Despite the financial appeal to investors, this industry has seen fewer technological improvements than any other financial services sector. Insurance providers have […]

Soon after the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) proposed a comprehensive cybersecurity regulation in September 2016, fear rippled throughout the financial services and technology industries. The proposal imposed unprecedented obligations on banks, insurance companies, and other financial services firms under the jurisdiction of New York’s Department of Financial Services. Two months later, DFS […]

It could happen any time—at work, at home, or on vacation. You receive a text message and glance at your smartphone. Your bank-issued credit card provider just sent you a message asking if you recognize a recent transaction. “Did you authorize a purchase of $5,000 for Super Bowl tickets? Text 1 for YES, 2 for […]

American consumers using peer-to-peer (“P2P”) payment services, such as Venmo and PayPal, could unwittingly violate U.S. foreign policy—at least if their transactions involve parties on the Treasury Department’s foreign sanction list. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), a division of the Treasury Department, enforces economic sanctions based on U.S. national interests, and prohibits Americans […]

President Donald Trump’s first hundred days in office were characterized by a whirlwind of executive actions and attempts to fulfill campaign promises . Yet the technology sector’s primary concern has been Trump’s lack of regulatory action and unknown policies. How this administration will impact emerging technologies like fintech is still relatively uncertain, but an analysis of […]

Introduction Today, the average person spends the majority of time plugged into the internet. A phone has become a pocket assistant that lives in the Cloud, binge streaming TV shows online has become a popular Saturday night affair, and most job searches entail uploading a resume to the Internet. Even children can be exposed to […]