Legal analysis of the governed blockchain
作者：Adam Sanitt & Ian Grigg
What rights and obligations are in a Constitution?
We have seen that it is not straightforward to determine the extent to which a Constitution is legally binding and who can enforce it. Assume, however, that the User has submitted a transaction that contains a reference to the Constitution and that this constitutes a legally enforceable contract and that the counterparties to this contract include the Counterparty, the Block Producer, other block producers and other users of the blockchain. Even with all these assumptions, it is not clear how certain obligations in the Constitution are to be enforced.
我们已经看到，确定公约在多大程度上具有法律约束力以及谁可以执行公约，这并不是一件简单对事情。 但是，假设用户提交了一份包含对公约的引用的交易，并且这构成了一项法律上可强制执行的合约，并且该合约的交易对手包括合约方、BP、其他BP和区块链的其他用户。 即使有了所有这些假设，也不清楚公约中的某些义务是如何得到执行的。
The Constitution is, from a legal perspective, a private contract enforced by the law of consensual obligations but, from a social or technological perspective, a public statement of general rights and obligations to the community as a whole. Communal obligations based on moral precepts do exist in modern legal systems, but they have generally evolved from being enforced by individuals to being enforced by the state using criminal law principles. We shall see below that enforcement of some obligations of the Constitution is analogous to enforcement of the criminal law in a primitive legal system without a developed role for the state. The closest analogy in developed legal systems is membership of a private club with multiple participants – these are often considered as quasi-public relationships that have some private and some public characteristics.
从法律角度来看，公约是一项由双方同意的义务法强制执行的私人合约，但从社会或技术角度来看，是对整个社区的普遍权利和义务的公开声明。 基于道德规范的共同义务确实存在于现代法律体系中，但它们通常从个体使其强制执行演变为由国家使用刑法原则强制执行。 我们将在下文中看到，执行宪法的某些义务类似于在对国家发展没有作用的原始法律制度中执行刑法。 在发达的法律体系中最接近的类比是拥有多个参与者的私人俱乐部的成员资格——这些通常被认为是具有一些私人和一些公共特征的准公共关系。
We consider several types of obligation in turn to highlight the issues that may arise.
The governed blockchain allows parties to exchange binding promises that will execute automatically without the interference of the courts. So why is there a need to include a governing law clause in any agreement? In fact, somewhat counterintuitively, if parties want to minimise national laws impinging on their agreement, it is essential for them to include a governing law clause. Otherwise, in the event of a dispute over a binding agreement, courts (or arbitrators) will simply decide for themselves what the governing law of the agreement should be and then proceed to apply that law to the agreement.
受治理的区块链允许各方交换有约束力的承诺，这些承诺将自动执行而不受法院的干预。 那么为什么需要在所有协议中都包含一个管辖法律条款呢？ 事实上，有点违反直觉的是，如果当事人希望尽量减少国家法律对其协议的影响，那么他们必须包括一部管辖法律条款。 否则，在对有约束力的协议有争议发生的情况下，法院（或仲裁员）将自行决定协议的管辖法律应该是什么，然后继续将该法律应用于该协议。
Not all governing laws are the same. Some will generally respect the choices of the parties and seek to interpret the agreement in accordance with their intentions. Others will not: they may incorporate additional rules – such as consumer protection – or annul certain obligations – such as payment of interest. Parties that value freedom to create their own agreements must ensure that the law that governs their agreement is one of those that is commercial and aims to ‘get out of the way’ rather than one of those that takes a paternalistic approach.
并非所有的管辖法律都是相同的。 有些通常会尊重当事人的选择，并试图根据他们的意图来解释协议。 其他则不会：他们可能会纳入额外的规则，例如消费者保护或取消某些义务，例如支付利息。 重视自由创建自己协议的各方必须确保管辖其协议的法律是商业性的法律之一，旨在“摆脱困境”，而不是采取家长式的方法。
The distributed, cross-border nature of the blockchain makes it difficult to predict what governing law would be chosen for a particular contract or for the Constitution. Parties would have to consider every rule in every paternalistic system of law that might be applied to their contract. Fortunately, there is a simple solution. Parties can make an express choice of governing law in their contract. In most courts, a choice of governing law in a contract is respected and will be given effect, even when it is the governing law of a country other than that where the court is situated. By expressly choosing a predictable, commercial law to govern their contract, parties can avoid a governing law that interferes with their rights and obligations.
区块链的分布式跨境性质使得很难预测要为特定合约或公约选择什么样的管辖法律。各方必须考虑每一个家长式法律体系中可能适用于他们合约的每一条规则。 幸运的是，有一个简单的解决方案。 各方可以在合约中做出明确的管辖法律选择。 在大多数法院中，合约中管辖法律的选择是受尊重的，并且即使它是法院所在国以外的国家中的管辖法律，它也会生效。 通过明确选择可预测的商业法来管理其合约，当事人各方可以避免一个违反他们权利和义务的管辖法律。
At first, it appears that there is a problem in deciding whether the governing law clause works: what system of law do you apply to determine that question? (In computing terms, this would be characterised as a ‘bootstrapping’ issue.) However, most legal systems – including all those in the EU – have adopted a practical solution to this question. A purported choice of governing law is used to determine whether that choice of governing law is binding. So, for instance, if the Constitution contains an express choice of English law, then English law principles will be used to decide whether it constitutes a binding contract – including the governing law clause. This means that a choice of governing law provides a clear origin for analysis of the Constitution and its effects and, by extension, transactions that take place on the blockchain. Any Constitution should contain at the very least a governing law clause.
首先，似乎在决定管辖法律条款是否有效时存在问题：应用什么法律体系来确定该问题？ （在数学计算中这将是一个“拔靴法”（译者注：自助法，再抽样统计方法）问题）然而，大多数法律体系，包括欧盟的所有法律体系，都采用了一个针对该问题切实可行的解决方案。一个所谓的管辖法的选择用于确定管辖法的选择是否具有约束力。 因此，例如，如果公约中明确地选择了英国法律，那么将使用英国法律原则来决定它是否构成具有约束力的合约——包括管辖法律条款。 这意味着对管辖法律的选择为分析公约及其影响提供了明确的起源，并进而扩展了区块链上的交易。 任何公约都应至少包含一部管辖法律条款。
The Constitution may contain provisions that are deemed to be incorporated into particular contracts made on the blockchain, such as dispute resolution clauses. Assuming that the Constitution is itself a contract then, provided that the Counterparty and the User are both party to it, these bilateral obligations will be incorporated into the separate agreement between the User and the Counterparty and will be enforceable as with any other contractual obligation. This will apply, for instance, to arrangements between dApp Providers and end-users who are employing their distributed applications, insofar as those end-users are also Users – that is, direct participants in the blockchain.
公约可以包含被视为纳入区块链特定合约的条款，例如争议解决条款。 假设公约本身就是一份合约，只要合约方和用户都是其当事人，这些双边义务将被纳入用户与合约方之间的单独协议中，并将与任何其他合约义务一样强制执行。 例如，这将适用于dApp提供者和使用其分布式应用程序的终端用户之间的协议，因为这些终端用户也是用户，即区块链的直接参与者。
Some bilateral obligations are only enforceable if they satisfy particular formal requirements – such as being ‘in writing’ or being signed by the parties. Arbitration clauses and other dispute resolution mechanisms often fall into this category. If these clauses are included in the Constitution and incorporated into individual agreements by reference, the Constitution itself may have to satisfy these formal requirements.
一些双边义务只有在满足特定的正式要求时才能强制执行 - 例如“以书面形式”或由当事方签字。 仲裁条款和其他争议解决机制通常属于这一范畴。 如果这些条款包含在公约中并通过引用纳入个人协议，则公约本身可能必须满足这些正式要求。
Smart contracts will often be used to document bilateral obligations between a User and a Counterparty. Smart contracts inherently deal with issues of evidence and intention that are behind some formality requirements – but, until legal systems add rules dealing specifically with smart contract, these formalities will still need to be satisfied.
Civil and criminal
The Constitution may contain obligations that are not simple bilateral promises. It may contain, for instance, promises to do or to refrain from certain behaviour or undertakings to act in accordance with certain general norms or values. An example of the former is a promise not to carry out a distributed denial of service attack (DDOS) on the blockchain; an example of the latter is a promise to treat other users of the blockchain with respect and consideration.
公约可能包含不仅仅是简单的双边承诺的义务。 例如，它可能包含承诺做或不做某些行为或承诺按照某些一般规范或价值观行事。 前者的一个例子是承诺不对区块链进行分布式拒绝服务攻击（DDOS）; 后者的一个例子是承诺尊重考虑区块链的其他用户。
Some of these promises may be too vague to constitute legally binding obligations. This does not mean that they are useless: their efficacy will be in establishing moral or cultural norms. Others will be specific enough to be enforceable – but they are not promises made to particular individuals and it is unclear who will enforce them and what enforcement would consist of. Mechanisms to allow individuals to enforce them on behalf of the community may be needed, such as those used in enforcement of open source licences.
其中一些承诺可能过于含糊，不足以构成具有法律约束力的义务。 这并不意味着它们毫无用处：它们的功效将在于建立道德或文化规范。 其他的将具体到可以强制执行，但它们不是对特定个人做出的承诺，并且不清楚谁将强制执行它们以及这些强制执行包含哪些内容。 可能需要允许个人代表社区强制执行这些承诺的机制，例如用于强制执行开源许可证的机制。
Take the promise not to carry out a DDOS. Assume that a User carries out a DDOS attack some time after posting a transaction with a hashed reference to a Constitution containing a promise not to carry out a DDOS. The Counterparty is able to enforce the private contract embodied in the Constitution against the User. In principle, this means the Counterparty could sue the User for damages. But the Counterparty might not have suffered any damage. Even if other users are also party to the contract, they may also have suffered minimal damage. Each person could only sue for the damage that they had suffered. In the case of the Block Producer, this might be significant. In most cases, there would probably be little practical incentive for any person to sue for breach of this obligation. It seems unsatisfactory to leave enforcement subject to the vagaries of individual loss or to those motivated by community spirit.
承诺不执行DDOS攻击。 假设用户在发布带有公约的哈希引用的交易后的某个时间执行了DDOS攻击，该公约包含不执行DDOS的承诺。 合约方能够强制执行公约中体现的针对用户的私人合约。 原则上，这意味着合约方可以起诉用户赔偿损失。 但是，合约方可能没有受到任何损害。 即使其他用户也是合约的一方，他们也可能受到小的损害。每个人只能对自己遭受的损失提起诉讼。 对于超级节点，这可能很重要。 在大多数情况下，任何人对违反这项义务而起诉的动机很小。 让执法屈从于各种个人损失或受社区精神驱动的那些损失似乎不能令人满意。
The problem here is that a private consensual agreement is being used to impose obligations that are more usually found within criminal law, in that they relate to norms of behaviour that affect the community as a whole as well as individuals. Provisions in the Constitution that fall within this definition will be referred to as quasi-criminal obligations. Private and criminal liability often go together – an individual may suffer damage from a crime for which he is entitled to be compensated. By a quasi-criminal obligation, we are referring to the obligation owed to the community, over and above the damage caused to any one individual. In many legal systems, there has been a gradual development of collective enforcement of criminal obligations by centralised authorities, replacing ad hoc individual enforcement. It may be that communities centred around blockchain Constitutions will need to go through a similar process for quasi-criminal obligations.
这里的问题是，私人的共识协议被用来强加那些在刑法中更常见的义务，因为它们涉及到影响整个社区和个人的行为准则。 属于该定义的公约条款将被称为准刑事义务。 私人责任和刑事责任通常密切相关，个人可能会在他有权获得赔偿的犯罪中受到损害。 准刑事义务，我们指的是对社区承担的义务，高于对个人造成的损害。 在许多法律制度中，通过中央政府集体的执行刑事义务得到逐步发展，取代临时的个人执法。 围绕区块链公约的社区可能需要经历类似的程序来处理准刑事义务。
Apart from quasi-criminal obligations, the Constitution may also contain quasi-regulatory obligations. These are obligations relating to areas such as data privacy, initial coin offerings and mode of payments. Unlike quasi-criminal obligations, quasi-regulatory obligations do not apply to all users all the time. A dApp Provider might choose, for instance, to fall within the data privacy regime of the Constitution. If it does, Users will have the assurance that their data is being protected according to the regime and this will presumably bring benefits to the dApp Provider. But if the dApp Provider opts into the regime and then contravenes any of its obligations, this will be a breach of the Constitution with similar consequences to breach of a quasi-criminal obligation.
除了准刑事义务外，公约还可能包含准监管义务。 这些是与数据隐私、原始代币发行融资和支付方式等领域相关的义务。 与准刑事义务不同，准监管义务并非始终适用于所有用户。 例如，dApp提供者可能会选择在公约的数据隐私制度之内。 如果是这样，用户将能确保他们的数据受到保护，这可能会给dApp提供者带来好处。 但是，如果dApp提供者选择加入该制度，然后违反其任何义务，这将违反公约，和违反准刑事义务有类似的后果。
Effective sanctions do exist within the private consensual realm, particularly if enforcement is delegated to an institution internal to the community. Apart from monetary claims, which might include penalties in some circumstances, the community as a whole has an additional powerful tool: expulsion. Preventing a malefactor from future engagement with the blockchain is an effective sanction and could be the ultimate deterrent in enforcing quasi-criminal and quasi-regulatory obligations in the governed blockchain.
有效的制裁确实存在于私人协商一致的领域内，特别是如果执法被委托给社区内部的机构。 除了货币索赔（可能包括在某些情况下的处罚）之外，整个社区还有一个额外的强大方法：驱逐。 防止犯罪分子在未来还与区块链接触是一种有效的制裁措施，也是在受治理的区块链中执行准刑事和准监管义务的最终威慑。
The creation of quasi-criminal and quasi-regulatory obligations suggests that governed blockchains may be able to address some of the worst examples of anti-social behaviour seen in permissionless blockchains. Traditional regulators might even be inserted into the dispute resolution mechanisms – whether as participants in arbitration or with some special status. While still fully decentralised, the governed blockchain may be able to filter out some universally unacceptable criminal behaviours.
准刑事和准监管义务的产生表明，受治理的区块链可能能够解决一些在未被许可的区块链中看到的最恶劣的反社会行为的例子。 传统监管机构甚至可能被纳入争议解决机制，无论是作为仲裁参与者还是具有某种特殊地位的参与者。 虽然仍然是完全去中心化的，但受治理的区块链可能能够过滤掉一些普遍不可接受的犯罪行为。
Note that even where quasi-criminal and quasi-regulatory obligations are clearly set out in the Constitution and coupled with effective powers of enforcement, it is possible that a court may override them, for reasons of public policy. A court may decide that some obligations are inherently public and should not form part of private contract law. As courts have the power to confiscate property and imprison individuals within their jurisdiction, they cannot ultimately be ignored. So the scope for the Constitution to form a complete and self-contained regime may be limited.
请注意，即使公约中明确规定了准刑事和准监管义务，并加上有效的执法权力，出于公共政策的原因，法院也可能会推翻这些义务。 法院可能会裁定某些义务本身就是公共的，不应构成私人合约法的一部分。 由于法院有权没收财产并在其管辖范围内监禁个人，因此最终不能忽视它们。 因此，公约形成一个完整而独立的制度范围的可能是有限的。
JAC: the JAC amendable constitution
JAC stands for JAC Amendable Constitution. It refers to a Constitution that can amend itself. In other words, the Constitution includes a mechanism for changing all or certain terms of the Constitution, including a method by which assent to a change is measured and recorded. This might be a voting mechanism, for instance, or conditions on the Block Producer including a transaction that has a hashed reference to an amended Constitution.
JAC代表“JAC可修改公约”。 它指的是一部可以自我修正的公约。 换言之，公约包括一种改变公约的所有或某些条款的机制，包括一种衡量和记录同意变更的方法。例如，这可能是一种投票机制或者超级节点的条件，包括有对修订宪法的哈希引用的交易。
The JAC is not inconsistent with contract formation in most governing laws. It is not uncommon for contracts to contain provisions limiting how they may be amended. So, in principle, the JAC can include a wide variety of different amendment mechanisms. It may even be flexible enough to regularise blockchain forks, making them a Constitutional activity, rather than something occurring outside the normal parameters of the blockchain community.
JAC与大多数管辖法律中形成的合约并不矛盾。 合约中包含限制如何修改的条款的情况并不少见。 因此，原则上，JAC可以包括多种不同的修正机制。 它甚至有足够的灵活性来规范区块链分叉，使其成为公约活动，而不是发生在区块链社区的正常参数之外的事情。
The difficulty with the JAC is not in enabling variation of the Constitution but in reconciling different versions. We have seen that there may be multiple instantiations of a single Constitution, involving different sets of parties. Where there are, in addition, multiple different versions of the Constitution, it may be problematic to determine which version of the Constitution governs the relationship between two Users who have entered into different versions at different times. The JAC should itself contain provisions to resolve these questions.
JAC的困难不在于能否修改公约，而在于协调不同的版本。 我们已经看到，单一公约可能有多个实例，涉及不同代表方。 此外，如果存在多种不同版本的公约，则确定哪种版本的公约来管辖在不同时间进入不同版本的两个用户之间的关系可能会有问题。 JAC本身应包含解决这些问题的条款。
Dispute resolution mechanisms
One of the key benefits of a Constitution is the ability to insert dispute resolution mechanisms. These may encompass disputes about enforcement of the Constitution itself or they may be incorporated by reference into individual arrangements between the User and the Counterparty. In this way, a single consistent method of dispute resolution could apply to a large proportion of activity on the blockchain.
公约的一个关键好处是能够插入争端解决机制。 可能包括对公约本身执行的争议，或者纳入通过引用用户与合约方之间的个人协议。 通过这种方式，一个单一的一致的争议解决方法就可以适用于区块链上的大部分活动。
A bespoke dispute resolution mechanism automatically minimises many of the perceived limitations of the blockchain. Questions as to governing law and jurisdiction are, by definition, resolved. Issues as to reconciling code with natural language in smart contracts, dealing with bugs and coping with external information provider failure can be determined fairly. For more on types of dispute resolution mechanisms and, in particular, the advantages of arbitration, see the forthcoming chapter Blockchain Disputes: Risks and Resolutions in Unlocking the Blockchain, which will be available here.
定制的争议解决机制自动地最大限度地减少了区块链的许多感知局限性。 从定义上讲，有关管辖法律和管辖权的问题已得到解决。智能合约中协调代码与自然语言、处理错误和应对外部信息提供者失败的问题所在可以被公平地确定。 有关争议解决机制类型的更多信息，特别是仲裁的优势，请参阅即将出版的章节《区块链争议：解锁区块链中的风险和解决方案》，这些内容将在此网站（http://www.nortonrosefulbright.com/knowledge/technical-resources/blockchain/publications/ ）提供。
A particular concern for arbitration clauses is that there may be formalities needed to make them binding. For instance, an arbitration clause may have to be in writing or be written in a particular language or signed by the parties. This may limit how arbitration clauses are included in the Constitution and whether they can be incorporated by reference.
仲裁条款的一个特别之处是可能需要手续才能使它们具有约束力。 例如，仲裁条款可能必须采用书面形式或以特定语言书写或由双方签字。 这可能会限制仲裁条款是如何纳入公约的，以及它们是否可以通过引用纳入。
Another concern for arbitration clauses is multilateral enforcement. Arbitration, as a private method of dispute resolution, has to be adapted where it is necessary for it to bind a larger group of people. For obligations in the Constitution that are inherently multilateral – such as promises to the community as a whole – drafting an effective arbitration clause will need careful thought.
仲裁条款的另一个问题是多边执法。 仲裁作为一种私人的争议解决方法，必须在必要时进行调整，以便对更多的人进行约束。 对于本质上多边的公约义务，例如对整个社会的承诺，需要仔细考虑起草有效的仲裁条款。
The governed blockchain and the legal profession
A successful governed blockchain will facilitate seamless trade with businesses and individuals across national boundaries. Automatic execution should minimise disputes and arbitrators should dispose of those that do arise on the basis of facts clearly recorded on the blockchain. Apart from the initial activity in creating the blockchain and the Constitution, this suggests a future for commerce that has far less need for legal services.
成功的受治理的区块链将促进跨国界的企业和个人之间进行的无缝贸易。 自动执行应尽量减少争议，仲裁员应根据区块链上明确记录的事实经验来处理那些产生的纠纷。 除了创建区块链和公约的最初活动外，这表明在商业方面未来对法律服务的需求要少得多。
It is possible that the governed blockchain will lead to an overall reduction in the demand for lawyers. But there are two factors that suggest otherwise. First, the governed blockchain will include small businesses and individuals that would not otherwise have resources to obtain legal advice. In this way, the governed blockchain may spread the benefits of legal certainty and enforceability beyond those who already have access to it. As this part of the economy currently functions without legal advice, its use of the governed blockchain would not reduce the demand for legal services. Second, technological innovations in the past have allowed legal services to become more efficient but this has not been matched by a decline in demand – rather, the reverse seems to happen. Appetite grows for more complex legal structures and for an increased number of transactions. New arrangements solve old problems but raise new questions. Of course, whether this will apply following creation of the governed blockchain remains to be seen.
The governed blockchain incorporating a Constitution and allied to a customised forum for dispute resolution is potentially a major advance that could substantially reduce legal uncertainty and promote adoption of the blockchain by businesses and individuals. However, there are a number of legal subtleties in making a Constitution effective and practically enforceable. A Constitution is a private consensual agreement that is also trying to do the job of a public statement of beliefs and obligations. It is a series of individual arrangements with different subsets of the community that is meant simultaneously to incorporate specific terms into a single contract between two users and to take effect as a unitary arrangement binding on the community as a whole. Some legal systems will impose a supervisory jurisdiction on ostensibly private obligations that are in fact quasi-public, especially if they involve exercises of discretion. Resolving these tensions will need a wise choice of governing law and careful drafting.
Ian Grigg, 2017, “EOS: an Introduction,” http://iang.org/papers/EOS_An_Introduction.pdf
block.one, 2017; “The Governed Blockchain,” working paperhttps://docs.google.com/document/d/1TKegYdH5ASqGlEWiVDYFMubE7651hsZIuZb8FKO8KNk/edit
Satoshi Nakamoto, 2008; “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-peer electronic cash system” https://bitcoin.com/bitcoin.pdf
Dan Larimer & EOS.IO team, “EOS.IO Technical White Paper,” live document,
Norton Rose Fulbright, Blockchain disputes?, working paperhttp://www.nortonrosefulbright.com/knowledge/technical-resources/blockchain/publications/ on page 1
R3 & Norton Rose Fulbright, “Can smart contracts be legally binding contracts?”http://www.nortonrosefulbright.com/files/r3-and-norton-rose-fulbright-white-paper-full-report-144581.pdf
Tim Swanson, 2015; “Consensus-as-a-Service” http://www.ofnumbers.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Permissioned-distributed-ledgers.pdf
About Ian Grigg
Ian Grigg has been working in financial cryptography since 1995, and is best known for creating the Ricardian Contract, a method of securely preserving legal prose in a digital framework such as blockchain. He co-invented triple entry accounting which uses cryptography to share accountable information into strong, immutable form: "I know that what you see is what I see." He has consulted for R3, Intuit and Block.one's EOS project for the governed blockchain. Ian is currently working on bringing all of these techniques to Kenyan social savings groups known as chamas, and is an advisor to Knabu, Akropolis and Mattereum.
Ian Grigg自1995年以来一直从事金融密码学工作，最着名的是创建李嘉图合约，这是一种在数字框架（如区块链）中安全保存法律条文的方法。 他与他人共同发明三式记账法，它使用密码学将可问责的信息共享成强有力的，不可改变的形式：“我知道你看到的就是我所看到的。” 他为R3，Intuit和Block.one的受治理区块链的EOS项目提供咨询。 Ian目前正在努力将所有这些技术带到肯尼亚社会储蓄组织chamas中，并且他也是Knabu，Akropolis和Mattereum的顾问。