Media Release | 3 June 2016

Hall & Wilcox explores blockchain technology as part of Westpac BlockHack16

Independent business law firm, Hall & Wilcox, has underlined its innovation smarts by being one of only two legal firms participating in Westpac’s recent BlockHack16, with its submission finishing second in the ‘people’s choice’ category.

The BlockHack16 is an event bringing together innovators to explore potential commercial applications for blockchain technology.

Blockchain technology is a continually growing digital database, which registers records such as transactions to create ledgers. The technology was famously pioneered by cryptocurrency Bitcoin and is regarded as a highly secure way of tracking transactions because once logged they cannot be rewritten.

Some possible scenarios for blockchain use include secure voting in elections, as a platform for buying and selling, for ‘smart contracts’ where the technology can automatically ensure contract terms have been met, as a ledger for various transactions and many other uses.

Westpac’s BlockHack16 was a competition where 14 teams attempted to develop commercial uses for blockchain technology. Hall & Wilcox’s team was led by partner Mark Inston and Chief Operating Officer Sumith Perera, and included representatives from Westpac, a client of the firm.

Mr Inston said the technology offered many possibilities. “There are several gaps in the market where blockchain technology can provide an affordable solution.

“The ability to create secure ledgers has great potential because it can bring certainty and clarity regarding those transactions which have otherwise been a grey area or open to disputes.

“While we are set on winning the competition, our team will also explore the possibilities of commercialising our ideas.”

Sumith Perera commented that participating in BlockHack16 is reflective of what is happening more broadly across the firm. “We are always looking for chances to co-create with our clients, which we are doing with Westpac at BlockHack16.

“As part of smarter law we embrace technology, new ways of approaching legal issues and the BlockHack16 is a good opportunity to create something which has potential for commercial use.”

Contact

Oliver Jankowsky

Partner & Head of International Practice

Ed Paton

Partner & Head of SE Asia Practice

Eugene Chen

Partner & Head of China Practice

Melanie Smith

Director - Business Development, Marketing and Communications

Natalie Bannister

Partner and Commercial National Practice Leader

Rhett Slocombe

Partner and Insurance National Practice Leader

Katie McKenzie

DIRECTOR - PEOPLE & CULTURE

James Bull

Senior Associate and Head of Frank

Melanie James

People & Culture Manager

Peter Campbell

Director - Client Solutions

Jacqui Barrett

Partner & Head of US Practice

Christopher Brown

Partner & Head of UK Practice

Melinda Woledge

Marketing & Communications Manager

Jasmine Koh

Lawyer and Head of Frank

Alison Choy Flannigan

Partner & Leader, Health & Community

Rachel O’Donnell

Special Counsel

Billie Kerkez

Manager – Smarter Recovery Solutions

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