Despite the relatively slower pace observed in the legal industry, blockchain has become attractive for the majority of the biggest law firms in Cyprus, which understood that in order to survive in the digital world, they must learn to see things differently, do things differently and provide services differently. The example of share certificates on Ethereum blockchain, which is a service already provided by Stelios Americanos & Co LLC to every corporate client, is a decent starting point towards this direction. Of course, there are many steps to be taken, but knowing where you are is a prerequisite for knowing where to go; and the competitive edge shall be new technologies with a customer focus.
It is commonly accepted that blockchain is a disruptive technology and the wider recent market trends and developments in Cyprus and abroad have already confirmed the manifold impacts of the technology across all sectors. Perhaps slower than elsewhere, but with the expectations being certainly higher than anywhere else, the legal industry is now embarking on this tech journey. Despite the concerns that naturally arise due to the absence at this time of a regulatory framework and of a supportive broader legislative reform, the groundwork is done, and Cyprus is now prepared to take the next concrete steps ahead.
The recently launched National Strategy on Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies – which is a solid, long-standing governmental strategy on R&D – empowers, stimulates and elevates private investments in innovation. This is even more challenging for the legal sector in Cyprus, which is called now to channel its attention towards two directions. The first is to learn and use the blockchain technology in daily legal practice. Such self-use, through blockchain-based applications for lawyers, can reveal in the most tangible way the benefits that we can derive as service providers when we engage with the technology; to make legal services better for our clients in terms of quality, speed and cost. The second direction is regulation per se. Blockchain technology is already alive and established across many market sectors. Blockchain-based data recording is an ipso facto trend and development, shifting now the attention and the interest on the legislator and the judiciary in Cyprus to shape and shine this new digital era with the right legislative steps and interpretative tools accordingly.