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Legal Issues Related to Blockchain Technology—Examples from Korea

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Blockchains are used to record all transactions into online ledgers, which are subsequently saved onto many blocks across the Internet. The popularity of cryptocurrencies, which make use of blockchain technology, has made the public interested in blockchain technology. Blockchain technology, however, is used in many fields, including cryptocurrencies. This chapter deals with two issues raised by the Korean legal community in terms of blockchain technology. One is intellectual property-related issues of open source software on which blockchain technology is based. The other issue concerns how to guarantee the authenticity of e-Appostilles by using blockchain technology. The lack of authenticity of e-Appostilles is a big legal hurdle which prevents e-Appostilles from gaining popularity in many countries. Blockchain computing is a good solution for guaranteeing the authenticity of e-Appostilles. In this regard, the chapter illustrates an inherent legal issue of blockchain technology and blockchain technology as a method to solve a current legal problem. At the outset, this chapter indicates that blockchain technology based on open source software can be subject to intellectual property-related issues. Also, this chapter ensures that blockchain technology can enhance the world-wide application of e-Appostilles. However, it is necessary for each country to employ the technology which complies with its domestic law on digital signatures, on electronic documents, and on public notaries prior to application of the new technology. In cases where the underlying public document is paper, compared to a digital file and overseas Koreans request issuance of e-Apostilles, the issuing authority’s legal system needs to be adopted to issue English electronic public documents as its underlying public document. Otherwise, overseas Koreans should have to notarize the translated version of paper-typed public documents. It is an inefficient and cumbersome process. Also, this paper illustrates that blockchain technology can establish a decentralized and secure system of e-Register for e-Apostilles by preventing each Contracting Party to the Apostille Convention from joining unified e-Register system advised by an international organization.




Lee, G. (2020). Legal Issues Related to Blockchain Technology—Examples from Korea. In Perspectives in Law, Business and Innovation (pp. 149–166). Springer.

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