Joseph C. Guagliardo, a partner with Pepper Hamilton, a vice-chair of the firm's Technology Group and chair of the Blockchain Technology Group, was quoted in the November 27, 2017 The Lawyer's Daily article, "Smart Contracts Merely an Evolution, Not a Revolution."
Joe Guagliardo, a Philadelphia-based partner at Pepper Hamilton LLP, leader of its technology group and chair of its blockchain practice, and Josh Stark, a lawyer who is also co-founder of L4 Ventures, a Toronto-based company that offers financial support and mentorship to blockchain startups, spoke to lawyers attending Osgoode Hall’s Blockchains, Smart Contracts and the Law seminar, and discussed the many ways in which blockchain technology will extend but not really replace existing legal procedures and entities.
Guagliardo began by reminding the audience that at its core, blockchain is a pretty simple technology that simply stores factual information.
“If you look at fundamentally what blockchain technology is, it’s really a read-only database. So if you look at that from the perspective of it as read-only, the transactions written to this read-only database are verified by some consensus, whether that be public consensus or some semi-private consensus. At the end of the day, we have facts to the extent that they are real when they are written to the database that are trusted and reliable,” he said.
Guagliardo explained that disputes will still arise for one of the primary reasons they do so today: poorly defined terms. He said if the terms are not well defined, that’s what will get coded into the contract and as such, the contract won’t be able to solve issues that arise from the confusion those terms create. In well-written smart contracts, where the terms are well defined, he said smart contracts would likely be helpful in proving questions of fact.
“It seems to me that’s a use case where smart contracts can help because we know what we agreed to, so let’s look to the blockchain to verify what the real facts were and say what something was at a particular time.”