Two blockchain applications being unveiled tomorrow could be the first blockchain applications to gain widespread use in the legal industry, their developer says.

One enables automatic, blockchain-based PGP email encryption using a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook. The other is blockchain-based global version control for Microsoft Word documents, also provided via a plugin.

Both applications were developed by Integra Ledger, the company that has built a blockchain ledger for the legal industry, and will be demonstrated Friday evening in New York City at a meeting of the Global Legal Blockchain Consortium.

David Fisher, Integra Ledger CEO, told me that he expects to offer both applications to the legal market for free.

Fisher said that the encryption plugin will solve a problem that bedevils many lawyers – the difficulty of encrypting email. The plugin will allow users to automatically encrypt emails based on email addresses stored in the Integra blockchain.

Blockchain-based version control will enable document versions to be tracked and confirmed without regard to the platform on which it was created or where it is stored. This is in contrast to other version-control tools, which are application or platform specific.

With the Word plugin, users will be able to instantly hash document versions to the Integra blockchain, along with document metadata, and also confirm the version of a document within Word.

David Berger, CTO of Integra Ledger, said that he sees this plugin as an ideal example of how blockchain can be used in the day-to-day practice of law. “Blockchain-based document versioning and authentication is going to become so obvious and automatic that within a year or two it will become ubiquitous.”

Also at Friday’s event, Fisher and Brian Kuhn, global co-leader of IBM Cognitive Legal, will discuss the framework they unveiled earlier this week at the Lexpo conference in Amsterdam – which they are calling the Amsterdam Framework – for the ethical application of AI and blockchain in law.

As they outlined it at Lexpo, the framework has three components:

  • Sovereignty: Ownership of data and intelligence are self-sovereign to the individual.
  • Transparency: Software that uses sovereign data and intelligence is auditable.
  • Governance: Governance of software that uses self-sovereign data and intelligence is transparent and algorithmic.

The meeting at which the applications will be demonstrated is open to the public, but advance registration is required. It takes place 6-8 p.m. at the law firm of Blank Rome, 405 Lexington Avenue. RSVPs should be sent to Pierson Grider, pgrider@integra

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.