10 Oct 2019, 17:30 to 10 Oct 2019, 19:00




Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR


To Blockchain or not to Blockchain, this question is the focus of our first ILPC evening seminar series this term. As the distributed-ledger technology at the heart of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Blockchain has been lauded as a disruptive technology with the potential to empower individuals across the globe and transform industries far beyond the financial, including social media, systems of voting, and managing government and public records. 

Leading computer scientists describe the technology as ‘a decentralized, replicated, immutable and tamper-evidence log: data on the blockchain cannot be deleted, and anyone can read from the blockchain and verify its correctness’. A key characteristic of the Blockchain that distinguishes it from traditional distributed databases is the ability to operate in a decentralized setting without relying on a trusted third party. Several major challenges must be addressed, however, before the widespread adoption of Blockchain can be considered feasible. 

Issues to be addressed by the expert panel include these technical questions regarding its efficiency and capacity for large-scale applications. Significant concerns to also be discussed relate to the compatibility of this rapidly-evolving technology with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In particular, who holds responsibility for data processing within the blockchain system across a network that is distributed across many nodes (individuals or organisations holding a copy of the distributed ledger). Moreover, what are the implications for an individual’s rights to delete or correct their personal data within the immutable Blockchain?


Dr John Sheridan (Digital Director, The National Archives)

Professor Christopher Millard (Head of Cloud Legal Project, Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London)


Dr Nóra Ni Loideain, Director and Lecturer in Law, Information Law and Policy Centre,  Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London.