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Business Network Breakfast Briefing: The challenge of smart contracts

Thursday, November 29, 2018 - 08:00 to 10:00
Michael Young Building, The Open University, Walton Hall, MK7 6AA
OU Business Network

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The Open University Business Network and Business Perspectives Programme are here to share insights to help your business flourish.

This Breakfast Briefing will be led by Dr Robert Herian, Senior Law Lecturer at The Open University Law School.

The event will be held at The Open University’s campus in Milton Keynes with breakfast served at 08:00. The presentation will start at 08:30 – 09:30 with an opportunity for networking at the end.

Places are limited so please book early.

Book now View the programme

What's in a name? The challenge of smart contracts

When’s a contract not a contract? When it’s a smart contract! I think we can all agree that’s not much of a punchline. But then smart contracts are not really a joke, or rather we shouldn’t treat them as such. Even if we suspend judgement on whether or not smart contracts and the wider blockchain architecture that supports them is “revolutionary” or “disruptive”, the reality is that smart contracts, at least as a concept, are affecting the global contractual landscape by forcing a reappraisal of fundamentals such as: what is a contract, what must a contract do, and who gets to decide?

The aim of this briefing is to explore some of the challenges that smart contracts pose to business as well as law, beginning with what is perhaps the most contentious issue of all: what should we be calling them?


Picture of Rob Herian

Dr Robert Herian

Robert is the author of Regulating Blockchain: Critical Perspectives in Law and Technology, which looks at potential routes to regulation of blockchains, associated blockchain technologies, as well as the conduct the technology fosters. He is a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Blockchain at Westminster, and is presently writing a report for the EU Commission’s Blockchain Observatory on legal recognition of smart contracts and blockchain registries. 


Picture of Professor Mark Fenton O'Creevy

Professor Mark Fenton-O'creevy

Mark is Professor of Organisational Behaviour at The Open University Business School and Associate Dean External Engagement.


The event will be livestreamed and can be accessed here