China‘s Supreme Court set an international precedent Friday by adjudicating that blockchain evidence can be seen as legally binding in court, effective immediately.
The decision comes with the minor caveat of courts requiring both parties in each case to provide evidence that blockchain technology was legitimately used in the manner they claim.
The ruling puts an end to any uncertainty surrounding the legality of blockchain-backed evidence provided during proceedings. The Chinese Supreme Court cited this as including ”digital signatures, reliable timestamps, and hash value verification or via a digital deposition platform”.
Companies that offer these services may well expect to see a growth in their number of clients given the added value in being legally recognized, particularly in cases where their intellectual or creative property can be protected by a blockchain platform as it is usually the more economical choice.
Setting a national standard
Since the first internet court was established in Hangzhou, China last year to deal specifically with internet-based disputes usually involving digital data, a number of questions regarding how and where blockchain evidence can be used have emerged.
In June this year, a copyright infringement case saw blockchain accepted as evidence in the deposition as legally viable with the judge commenting, ”We can’t exclude it just because it’s a complex technology. Nor can we lower the standard just because it is tamper-proof and traceable.”
In this specific case, the main question was whether the plaintiff’s blockchain-backed evidence could be seen as proving the authenticity of their work, in a similar way to a traditional notarization service. The judgment approved that it could indeed, due to the fact that the Bitcoin and Factom blockchains used in the case first hash all content uploaded, then store this on a distributed network.
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