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.”


Emma Woolley

Partner & Head of Family Office Advisory

Karl Rozenbergs

Partner & Co-Lead, Health & Community

Ben Hamilton

Partner & Technology and Digital Economy Co-Lead

James Deady

Partner & Technology and Digital Economy Co-Lead

Eugene Chen

Partner & Head of China Practice

Oliver Jankowsky

Partner & Head of International Desks

John Bassilios

Partner & Fintech and Blockchain Lead

Matthew Curll

Partner & Insurance National Practice Leader

Melanie Smith

Director – Business Development, Marketing and Communications

Natalie Bannister

Partner & Commercial National Practice Leader

Nathan Kennedy

Partner, Head of Pro Bono & Community and ESG Co-Lead

Mark Dessi

Partner & Energy Co-Lead

Katie McKenzie

Director – People & Culture

James Bull

Special Counsel & Frank Lab Co-Lead

Melanie James

People & Culture Manager

Jacqui Barrett

Partner & Head of US Desk

Lauren Parrant

Senior People & Culture Advisor

Melinda Woledge

Marketing & Communications Manager

Jasmine Koh

Senior Associate & Frank Lab Co-Lead

Alison Choy Flannigan

Partner & Co-Lead, Health & Community

Jordon Lee


Geoff Benson


Meg Lee

Partner & ESG Co-Lead

John Gray

Partner, Technology & Digital Economy Co-Lead and NSW Government Co-Lead

Harvey Duckett


Luke Denham


Billie Kerkez

Manager – Smarter Recovery Solutions

Jemima Whiteman


Bradley White


Sarah Khan


Audrey Leahy

Special Counsel & Head of Irish Desk

Marie Mitilineos


Gloria Tam


Peter Jones

Senior Commercial Counsel

Eden Winokur

Partner & Head of Cyber

Sheldon Fu


Tamara Charlwood


James Pavlidis


Claire Bourke


Chloe Taylor


Silvana Brcina


Daphne Schilizzi


Andrew Banks


Isabella Urso


Jessica Liu


Amelia Spratt


Lisa Ziegert

Director – Client Solutions

David Cooper

Partner & Energy Co-Lead

Luke Raams


Emma McDonald


Carl Ayers


Maddison Reznik

Senior Associate & Trade Marks Attorney

Rebecca Dodd


Gretel Burns