Blockchain, business supply chains, sustainability, and law: the future of governance, legal frameworks, and lawyers?


Blockchain technology has been hailed as the next disruptive leap forward in data sciences. Most legal scholarship related to the topic has focused on its relevance to finance, but it could revolutionize business supply chains. Specifically, blockchain-enabled solutions are expected to improve the reliability of data related to supply chains and to help businesses eliminate fraud, inefficiencies, waste, and harms to people and the environment. Despite the surrounding hype, this paper will explain why the promise of distributed electronic ledgers will only be realized in the context of effective governance and legal frameworks.

This paper draws upon scholarly articles and the opinions of entrepreneurs actively engaged in bringing blockchain-enabled technologies to market to arrive at two sets of related conclusions. First, that the benefits of the technology — including its potential to help businesses prosper while eliminating societal and environmental harms — will only be realized in the context of enabling frameworks of law. Second, the author articulates how the role of the legal profession vis-à-vis business clients will evolve in the era of blockchain-enabled business supply chain optimization.

Adam J. Sulkowski, Babson College

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