Episode #216: Blockchain and the Law with Primavera De Filippi

Primavera De Filippi is a permanent researcher at the National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris. She is faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, where she is investigating the concept of "governance-by-design" as it relates to online distributed architectures.

Most of her research focuses on the legal challenges raised, and faced by emergent decentralized technologies —such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and other blockchain-based applications —and how these technologies could be used to design new governance models capable of supporting large-scale decentralized collaboration and more participatory decision-making.

Primavera obtained a Master degree in Business & Administration from the Bocconi University of Milan, and a Master degree in Intellectual Property Law at the Queen Mary University of London.

Primavera is involved in several organizations dedicated to promoting the free culture and open data.

She is the co-author of Blockchain and the Law: The Rule of Code, which comes out in April and explores the regulation of cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, ICOs and distributed autonomous organisations.


Except to learn a treasure trove of things in this conversation, including:

  1. Whether the blockchain should be regulated and how
  2. Why we need to rethink organisational structures to create more value for society via the blockchain
  3. what the distributed autonomous organisation might look like...
  4. What the impact of the blockchain might be on traditional professional services firms in the legal and accounting industry

There was so much more I wanted to explore in this conversation with Primavera, but blockchain is one of those rabbit hole topics, and we could only cover so much in the one hour we had.

I would have loved to have explored not only the downsides of ICOs but also the upsides around liquidity, business continuity and the democratisation of early stage startup investment.

With that, I trust you’ll enjoy this conversation with Primavera De Filippi.

Topics discussed:

  • Governance by design, what it is and why it matters
  • Shifting to new organisational structures
  • Distributed autonomous organisations
  • The impact on professional services firms
  • How blockchain supports more efficient operations
  • Security on the blockchain
  • Key legal challenges to blockchain adoption
  • Regulating the blockchain versus regulating its uses
  • How to regulate the blockchain
  • ICOs
  • Last mile human effort and the blockchain


Show notes:

  1. Twitter: @yaoeo
  2. Pre-order the book: https://amzn.to/2NzbjjK 
  3. Primavera at TEDx Cambridge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYOPcHRO3tc


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February 10, 2018




Steve Glaveski

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