Beyond Regulation: Why Bitcoin’s Pressing Problem is Civil Law

Andrew “Drew” Hinkes is Counsel at Berger Singerman LLP, a business law firm in Florida. Hinkes represents companies and entrepreneurs in state and federal commercial litigation matters, representation of court-appointed fiduciaries, and electronic discovery issues.

Drew is also frequently published and cited for his work on virtual currencies, smart contracts, distributed ledger-based technologies, computer data security and data breaches and technology regulation.

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Most startups and entrepreneurs in the bitcoin or blockchain space have confronted the reality that governments take money crimes seriously.

Dealing with regulators is critical to post-implementation success and survival. But what entrepreneurs may not yet understand is that their new ventures exist interdependently with legacy legal systems.

What happens when bitcoin and blockchain startups stop worrying about regulatory compliance and start intersecting with these existing “real-life” systems? Said differently, how will the constructs and systems created to handle civil litigation adapt to bitcoin and the blockchain?

“Civil litigation” generally includes all non-criminal legal dispute resolution matters. Although many controversies are determined outside of courts (through arbitration, as is common in credit card disputes), the majority of non-criminal disputes in the US are resolved by civil litigation.

The US legal system provides the

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