In the wake of Web3, there's no technology that's singularly more significant than blockchain.

And it's not like anyone's denying that. Almost everyone knows that. Every tech guy has started working on his/her blockchain skills; every finance and management guy has started taking certifications in blockchain technology. Even medical professionals have started exploring the use of blockchain in healthcare management.

The only ones left behind are the lawyers and law students.

It's not like we don't see the future in blockchain. We did it long back. Much earlier than other disciplines, probably. We started working on it, also. Groups of law students and lawyers started crafting their careers in the field of blockchain and law even before it became mainstream.

But we did it wrong.

We learnt the basics of blockchain technology, and applied regulatory insights thereunto. But we forgot to take our jurisprudential tools with us. And a lawyer without jurisprudence is like a rainbow in a BnW photograph: hardly noticeable.

It's unfortunate that the whole field of 'blockchain and law' for most lawyers include only a few mechanical understandings like taxation of crypto assets, copyright claims in NFT, the legality of crypto, and the utility of blockchain as a public ledger/registry. That's what happens when the law gets detached from legal philosophy: all we are left with are the black letters of the law.

Here's a reading list that will help the young minds combine the rigour of jurisprudential and economic thinking with the ever-expanding horizons of blockchain technology.

1. The starting point

Blockchain and the Law: The Rule of Code by Primavera De Filippi and Aaron Wright (2018). (see here)

A beginner-friendly book. Consider starting from this book even if you are a complete beginner. The book touches upon almost all the relevant intersections between blockchain and law. Starting from technology to its implications for rule of law, there's an introduction to almost all the important areas.

2. The political philosophy behind blockchain

A foundational read to understand the political philosophy behind blockchain architecture is here. The political story of P2P technology, in other words! While you are on it, you may as well take a small detour to go through the crypto-anarchist manifesto (available here) to get a further look into the cyber libertarianism that promoted the P2P architecture.

On a related note, this 2021 piece explores the role of state in the given circumstances, and delves into concepts like autonomy and sovereignty. This 2019 article explores in detail the nature of decentralised exchanges. This 2018 work takes further the concepts you learnt in reading 2, and applies and explains it in contemporary settings.

3. All about DAOs

How good are DAOs? Are they practical? What challenges do they present? Interestingly, how would Rockefeller perceive DAOs? Also, while you are on it exploring DAOs, go through this recent insightful piece on the same here. Also, if you have time, take a detour for this excellent piece.

4. Blockchain Economics

Leaving behind the political and legal notions of decentralisation, here we turn our focus to the economic thinking associated with blockchain technology. What about blockchain as an institution?! Start with this 2016 article.

Taking forward the discussion, this 2018 book delves deeper into blockchain economics, and explores blockchain in relation to the economic institutions of capitalism! Pretty cool, right?

5. Smart Contracts

Solidifying the notion of an economic institution of blockchain, here we turn to one of the building blocks of economic institutions: contracts. While you are on smart contracts, give this also a read. This 2017 article explores the legality of smart contracts.

While the above readings give you a basic understanding of smart contracts and law, this 2019 paper pushes beyond these understandings and explores advanced concepts like information asymmetry, market equilibria, and antitrust policy.

6. Responsibility of Software Developers

With great powers, come great responsibilities. This book chapter explores the responsibility of developers in public blockchains. The author argues that public blockchains are not exactly governed in a decentralised manner, and it is the developers upon whom the governance depends significantly. What should be the responsibilities of those developers, then?

Almost all of the papers/books/articles mentioned in the above reading list are available for public access. In case you are unable to access any, contact me and I'll try to get a copy for you.

Happy reading!


1. This list drew inspiration from a similar list compiled by Prof. Schrepel available here.

2. This list (available here) by Anshuman Singh is one of the most comprehensive lists on Blockchain jurisprudence. Please refer to it if you want to go deeper into this.