Something really big has started. Something bigger than Bitcoin, something bigger than avoiding fees, taxes and government intervention on the Internet, something bigger even than a completely new currency.

Our entire world legal system is being replaced with computer code.

Let’s back up. For the last 5,000 years, we have lived in tribal groups where the legal system is kept, improved and past along by a set of scribes. There are currently over 1,400,000 such “experts” in the US alone, one for every 300 humans in our country.

The system is basically manual, and it basically no longer works. If you have ever sued or have been sued you know exactly what I mean. Trials that go on for ever, legal fees that escalate above the initial damages, and settlement deals that are made out of exasperation.

The legal “cost of doing business” is now a serious impediment to our growth. And if you think the US is bad, try doing deals across borders. You hired an Indian team to work on your app but they didn’t finish the work as planned — how do you enforce your DocuSigned work agreement? Take the next flight to New Delhi?

The good news is that this has started to change. With payment (and other api keys) being built into multiple blockchain systems, the new law is the smart contracts of the system. The enforcer is no longer the police, but the computer infrastructure itself.

I think we will now rapidly move into a world where systems themselves provide the “legal” arbitration between humans, not a large body of other humans. This is really a complete re-wiring of the entire planet, of all of our economic, financial and incentive structures.

It’s also a world where nation states are going to be a lot less important. Where you won’t expect the nation to take care of you, but you might expect some computer system to. Where there effectively are no walls between countries, only multiple global meshes with their own API tokens, their own currency. A world of smart contracts.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store