Wednesday 14 March 2018

Blockchain and Online Dispute Resolution

The second of my papers delivered at the APEC workshop is also available here at the APEC website. It is "Blockchain and Online Dispute Resolution" (2018/SOM1/EC/WKSP2/017).

The paper considers the possible impact of the blockchain technology on the ODR rule making. It foresees that the world of online market will gradually flatten. Thus, the domination of big and powerful enterprises in the current hub-and-spoke model may be eroded with the emergence of the sharing economy model where MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) will have a growing profile. This trend may be accelerated in the future, with the blockchain technology facilitating the P2P model where consumer-to-consumer transactions will also increase.

In this process, the characterization of consumers as the weaker parties will become less real or relevant, rendering consumer protection less of legislative priority in the ODR rule-making. This will be particularly significant in view of the great difficulties experienced in the earlier work of UNCITRAL on ODR which had been caused by legislative preoccupation with consumer protection.

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