Kelvin F.K. Low (NUS – Faculty of Law), Edmund Schuster (London School of Economics – Law School), and Wai Yee Wan
(City University of Hong Kong) have posted “The Company and Blockchain Technology” (Elgar Handbook on Corporate Liability, forthcoming).
Blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) has generated much excitement over the past decade, with proclamations that it would disrupt everything from elections to finance. Unsurprisingly, the much-maligned corporate form is also considered ripe for disruption. While certainly imperfect, and currently serviced by creaking legal infrastructure premised upon direct shareholdings, are its problems ones of centralization/intermediation? What exactly are the limits of DLT? In this chapter, we propose to expose the ignorance behind the hype that the venerable corporation will either be revitalized by DLT or replaced by Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs). We will demonstrate that proponents of DLT disruption either overestimate the potential of the technology by taking at face value its claims of security without unpacking what said security entails (and what it does not) or lack awareness of the history of and market demand for intermediation as well as the complexities of modern corporations.