Funded with a $300,000 grant, it’s the first of its kind in an American law school.
The BL4SG Center was created to change the legal landscape around blockchain technology and amplify examples of those who are harnessing this technology for the power of good. The center aims to shift the narrative that blockchain technology is used only for financial investing and to influence law and regulation that impedes the development of socially good blockchain projects.
BL4SG Founding Director Professor Michele Neitz launched the Center in February 2022 with an initial grant of $300,000 from the Algorand Foundation. Through the three pillars of education, community, and research & policy, the center’s mission is to offer the first cohesive approach to training lawyers, lawmakers, and other communities about the many socially beneficial use cases of blockchain technology.
A pioneer in blockchain law, Professor Neitz first learned about the technology from her brother, a database architect, over Christmas dinner in 2017. Drawing on a napkin, he illustrated how the new technology works.
“I wondered, what is the law around this?” recollects Neitz. “There was not much at all back then. This is brand new, and we could write laws that could prevent problems from developing in this new industry. It got me excited that GGU could be at the forefront of teaching students about law and this technology.”
After researching and writing about ethics in blockchain technology, Neitz was appointed to advise the California legislature as a member of the California Blockchain Working Group in 2019. Neitz taught the first class in San Francisco on blockchain technology at GGU Law in 2020 and has continued to teach, research, and lecture on blockchain technology with a focus on ethical, regulatory, and social impact issues.
“The Blockchain Law for Social Good Center is an excellent example of the multidisciplinary application possibilities for blockchain technology while also promoting social-impact projects,” said Hugo Krawczyk, Principal Researcher and Head of the Algorand Centres of Excellence Programme. “The project will become a hub for blockchain law and a valuable resource not only for lawmakers and lawyers, but also for government agencies and start-ups.”
Since the Center’s launch, Neitz has initiated several ambitious projects and efforts. She’s provided training to California’s Office of Financial Technology Innovation as well as the Executive Staff of California’s State Controller’s Office. She also met with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) to discuss blockchain and crypto regulation and is meeting with the California Department of Motor Vehicles about a joint project.
Stay tuned for more exciting news from the Center this summer! The Center will host the first national conference on Blockchain Law for Social Good at GGU Law on October 20–21, and welcomes alumni who want to learn more. Visit the BL4SG’s blog to learn how companies as small as a local coffeeshop and as large as Levi Strauss are using blockchain for social good. You can find the BL4SG Center on Twitter (@BchainLaw4SG), on LinkedIn, and at their website.