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Digital Economy

The Digital Economy is changing the landscape of business. We work alongside our clients to help them thrive in these fast moving times.

Businesses are embracing the Digital Economy at an ever-increasing pace.

From the rise of the Cloud and the increasing value and use of data through to the application of AI and blockchain to derived new processes and business models, business is changing and this is having transformational effects on all sectors from financial services, property, sports and leisure, retail, manufacturing and media. Central to the digital economy is the automation and digitalisation of processes and reinventing relationships between stakeholders.

These changes are creating opportunities and challenges, whether legal, regulatory, and of course, commercial, causing some businesses to revisit their business models and relationships with customers, parts of their infrastructure which may not have changed for decades whilst other sectors are seeing wholesale revisions to how services and products are manufactured and delivered.

For those responsible for the design and execution of new technologies and of their overall strategy, this can be a significant opportunity, and we are already seeing that trend accelerate the demand for innovative solutions that are being developed by a number of our Entrepreneur clients.

Through our ongoing focus on the Digital Economy we aim to support knowledge exchange on new ways of working and highlight some of the exciting innovative solutions being devised by our clients as well as market trends and best practices. We have provided some more information on some of these areas below, together with a selection of related articles and insights.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is bringing significant advantages to efficiency, where it can be implemented to automate a system, enable better data collection and analysis as well as optimised delivery of products and services to customers. AI is deployed in multiple fields, from mobile phones to disease diagnostics, helping humans work with increased performance, or removing the need for human intervention altogether.

Here we will discuss recent practical applications of AI and the legal implications surrounding them.

Regulating Artificial Intelligence
Ian De Freitas explains the UK Government’s direction of travel in its White Paper, which set out its proposed approach to regulating the development and use of Artificial Intelligence, and he assesses this against other recent developments.

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Retailers embracing the digital economy
Helen Auden looks at how retailers can use technology to drive physical sales.

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Artificial Intelligence: Analysing the EU’s new Regulation
Ian De Freitas and David Fletcher explain the main provisions and answer some of the key questions about the EU Commission's new draft of the Artificial Intelligence Regulation.

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Artificial intelligence in the workplace: helpful or harmful?
In relation to the rise in AI in the workplace, Rachel Lewis and Iman Kouchouk look at the potential for algorithmic discrimination and consider how the law currently stands and is evolving to respond to it.

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Cryptoassets, blockchain and DLT

A cryptocurrency is a digital coin that runs on a blockchain, an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.

The blockchain behind bitcoin is a public ledger of every transaction that has taken place. It cannot be tampered with or changed retrospectively. Advocates of the technology say this makes bitcoin transactions secure and safer than current systems. Blockchain technology can be used to create a permanent, public, transparent ledger system for compiling data on sales, tracking digital use and payments to content creators and the technology is being adopted in different ways in different industries.

In this section we explore how blockchain technology has been adopted, and where crypto currencies and crypto assets stand as legal entities.

Your digital inheritance: understanding cryptocurrency
Despite Bitcoin prices plummeting in 2018, ever higher numbers of individuals are investing in cryptocurrencies. There are now over 2,000 cryptocurrencies listed on the various cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Litecoin, Gemini Dollar, Tron, VeChain and Ethereum. Caroline Vollers looks at how clients and their advisers can hold and manage investments in cryptocurrencies and, significantly, how to incorporate them into their estate planning.

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Inheriting cryptocurrency: estate planning top tips
Leaving any digitally held assets to the next generation can lead to practical difficulties for executors attempting to obtain legal title to online assets after someone has died. The law in the UK has yet to catch up with the latest technological advances, especially in the world of cryptocurrencies. Caroline Vollers provides practical steps for clients and their advisers to help ensure that valuable crypto assets are not lost after death.

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Is blockchain the future of art?
In a world driven by data, blockchain innovations could play a significant role in changing our everyday personal and professional interactions. Blockchain was invented in 2008 to serve as the ledger for Bitcoin but is still in the early stages of adoption beyond cryptocurrency. Caroline Vollers looks at the current and future uses of blockchain in the art world.

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Cryptocurrency disputes on the rise in English Courts
There has been a surge in the popularity of cryptocurrency in recent years. With its growth in use has come a parallel growth in fraud, much of which is enabled by the same elements that are behind its appeal – decentralisation and light regulation. The English Courts have, however, provided some comfort with respect to the claims and relief potentially available to victims of cryptocurrency fraud.

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Smart contracts

A smart contract is a self-executing program which may be a contract, where the terms of the agreement are written as lines of computer code which may automatically monitor, execute and/or enforce performance of the agreed terms or stipulated conditions. Smart contracts allow the performance of credible transactions without third parties and have been applied in sectors ranging from insurance, derivatives, payroll and licensing. These transactions are trackable and irreversible. In this section we look at their legal status and implementation.

Read our latest articles on smart contracts

The legal status of “smart contracts”: a guide to the conclusions of the LawTech Delivery Panel by Kate Allass

Data ownership and GDPR

Data ownership refers to the explicit assignment of owners to every data element in the taxonomy. Data owners are either individuals or teams who make decisions such as who has the right to access and edit data and how it’s used. Owners may not work with their data every day, but are responsible for overseeing and protecting a data domain.

In the context of the GDPR, data owners are accountable for the quality, integrity, and protection of their data space. Here we look at trends, rulings and developments regarding enforcement from regulatory bodies.

GDPR: two years in - What's next?
On 24 June 2020, the EU Commission issued a Report into the first two years of the operation of GDPR (the Report). Though the Report is interesting in relation to its main findings, it is more relevant in indicating the EU Commission’s direction of travel in relation to the continued implementation and enforcement of GRPR. Ian De Freitas and Henry Sainty provide their own reflections on major developments since May 2018.

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The UK’s draft adequacy decision - the wider impacts for data privacy
Ian De Freitas and Alan Baker summarise the key points emerging from the UK's draft adequacy decision and what this means for managing data privacy in the UK.

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Litigating data: class-actions and supply chains to the fore
On 28 and 29 April 2021, the Supreme Court heard Google’s appeal in the representative “opt-out” action of Lloyd v Google. Ian De Freitas and Thomas Rudkin provide an update on recent developments.

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You can find more about the views and experiences of our clients and contacts by listening to our interview with Akshaya Bhargava, the CEO of Bridgeweave, who focus on the application of AI to the financial services sector.

We have extensive expertise on the legal, regulatory and commercial challenges that arise from the Digital Economy and the waves of innovation that it is bringing.

Some of the legal services that are core to the Digital Economy are set out below.

If you want to view our full services please click the following link.

Legal Services

By listening to each client, by treating each matter as unique and by intelligently applying a deep understanding of the law, we enjoy embracing these changes and value the opportunity to work with our business clients on issues that are core to their future.

Through our ongoing focus on the Digital Economy we aim to share new knowledge and new ways of working and highlight some of the exciting innovative solutions being devised by our clients.

You can access a further selection of our latest articles on digital economy here

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