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Blockchain & Smart Contracts

Netherlands

CMS invests in innovative developments that influence our services as well as your enterprise. Even when we do not know what the outcome of the innovation will be. That is inherent in being an early adopter of innovations.

Blockchain
Nowadays it is almost impossible to read a newspaper that doesn’t contain an article on blockchain. Is blockchain a temporary hype, or are we at the dawn of big changes in the way we handle data? Maybe you wonder how blockchain works exactly, what the impact is and whether it can enrich your services. In short, blockchain is a special kind of database in which data can be stored safely and is accessible for everyone. By integrating cryptographic elements, so-called hashes, it is almost impossible to unilaterally make changes to these stored data. In this way a publicly accessible database is created, that everyone can read and in which everyone can write. A database that always guarantees the integrity of the data, without a third party being necessary to verify this, while currently this is often still necessary. This makes blockchain very reliable and transparant, and gives it the potential to support whole new industries and process models. You could visualise the adding of data to already registered data as beads that are being strung on a chain piece by piece.

Smart Contracts
The way in which blockchain registers data makes it possible to lay down agreements digitally and to automatically trigger certain consequences of an agreement or contract. This method of laying down agreements in a blockchain is called smart contracts, even though there is still some discussion on the exact definition of smart contracts. This way of using blockchain is still in its infancy, but can have added value in the future, for example because it can replace certain actions of intermediaries with digital processes. The parties that are developing smart contracts expect that this technique can substantially lower the (transaction) costs of these actions.

Dutch Blockchain Coalition
CMS has become a partner of the Dutch Blockchain Coalition (DBC), an initiative of the Technical University in Delft (TU Delft), TNO and the Ministry of Economic Affairs. This partnership enables us to be at the basis of the developments concerning blockchain in the Netherlands while learning. At the same time we offer DBC our legal knowledge with the aim of fitting blockchain into (new) legislation. Sharing our knowledge with the other partners of DBC and working on blockchain solutions for businesses in all industries bear all the ingredients of an educational journey, a journey of which we are happy to share the results with you.  

Artificial intelligence
CMS was the first law firm in the Netherlands that – together with technology firm ORTEC – experimented with artificial intelligence-tool IBM Watson. The pilot focused on the labor law topic 'transfer of undertakings' with the aim of researching what the added value of artificial intelligence ('AI') is in terms of quality, speed and effectiveness. The pilot led to valuable lessons learned. It provided us with further insight into the technological developments of AI and the application possibilities in the legal industry. We achieved relevant knowledge, which has made us an even better sparring partner for you when it comes to advising on and assisting with technological innovation.

CMS Legal Tech Academy
We want our lawyers to achieve in-depth knowledge of innovative developments that are relevant for our clients and for CMS. Knowledge of blockchain, smart contracts, AI, cyber security and other developments. Therefore we started the CMS Legal Tech Academy, where our lawyers learn everything about these technological subjects. The goal is to learn our lawyers how to work with these new developments, so that they can help improve your business.

More information? 
On this webpage we will keep you updated on what we know about technological developments. Would you like to know more? Please contact us. We would be happy to share our knowledge and experiences. 

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January 2019
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