2018 Computational Law & Blockchain Festival: Houston Edition Wrap Up


The first annual Computational Law & Blockchain Festival brought together coders, designers, lawyers, policymakers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and students to co-create the future of law, legal practice, and policymaking. In the spirit of decentralization, the entire event was hosted by independent, self-organized nodes around the world.


IBO seeks to achieve justice for all through leveraging technology and global community collaboration and are proud supporters of Legal Hackers and their projects. Join IBO today to receive more opportunities to build the justice layer of the internet.

Through a combination of educational sessions, hackathons, and policy discussions, our event highlighted what Houston has to offer in this space.

With the support of The Accord Project, Legal.io, OpenLaw, Monax, MIT Media Lab (law.mit.edu), Legal Hackers, Station Houston, and many more, we were able to focus on the innovation the blockchain could bring to law and the justice system, not just it’s entrepreneurial advantages.

(Available videos and presentations can be found within this report. Certain speakers have sections allocated to them; the videos start automatically at the appropriate time.)

While Houston did not have a hackathon track, our sister node in New York, with support from IBO, submitted a project for the Dispute Resolution Challenge.

The Copyright Protection for All project background:

PeaceTones® enables musicians to develop and disseminate their art by bringing crucial legal, technology, and business skills to historically unheard musicians. Traditionally, in a developing country, refugee camp, or anywhere in the world (really), to initiate the music creation process, a producer relies on intermediaries for introductions and connections to identify musicians and verify the identity of the artists and the originality of their work. The secure, scalable trust-based RelateID blockchain simplifies and digitally enhances this process.

We held two educational workshops:

“Blockchain 101 Workshop”, which was presented by Jeffrey Aresty, President of IBO, and Jack A. Najarian, business and real estate lawyer.

Tanveer Chaudhary, the founder of the Design Thinking & Innovation (DT&I) community, taught the “Design Thinking Workshop,” which explored the utilization of Human Centered Design concepts to design BlockChain solutions and related best practices.

Download (PPTX, 12.56MB)

Our policy discussion track dominated the event, with a variety of blockchain experts examining identity to the U.S government to the oil and gas industry’s role in the field:

“Identity for All” was presented by Jeffrey Aresty, during which he discussed verifiable identity that is secure and portable and the key to opportunity, which is one component of access to justice.

Download (PPTX, 6MB)

“Can the Analog Blockchain Go Digital? The Potential Impacts of Blockchain Technology on Oil and Gas E&P” was presented by Jack A. Najarian.

Download (PDF, 5.28MB)

Darrell Malone, co-founder of cryptocurrency distributor CoinVault ATM, presented “Blockchain.gov”. (His section starts at 42:26.)


“Cryptocurrency & the Sustainable Development Goals” was co-presented by Ryan Brown, entrepreneur, and radio host, and Azam Zarif, founder of Investofy. (Their section starts at 1:59:10.)

Download (PPTX, 2.11MB)

Download (PPTX, 5.8MB)

“Open Discussion: Crypto, Blockchain, and Opportunity” was presented by Sheldon Weisfeld, CEO of CoinVault ATM. (His section starts at 2:56:32.)

Larry Shi, an Associate Professor of the Computer Science Department at University of Houston, presented “Blockchain for Good: Use Cases, Enabling Technologies, and Challenges”, which examined a wide range of DLT use cases for social good, in particular, usage of blockchain and DLT for financial inclusion, democratic process, fair trade, environment.

Download (PDF, 3.09MB)

During “Blockchain Basics & Legal Issues,” Sharon Yin, cryptocurrency and blockchain lawyer, discussed blockchain basics, smart contracts and how blockchain relates to cryptocurrencies as well as past precedents and current legal issues facing the industry.

Download (PPTX, 1.08MB)

Here is a complete list of our speaker bios.

What’s Next?

For Legal Hackers and IBO Members based in Houston: We’re 500 members strong and counting, and are amazed by the sheer amount of people willing to create the change and innovation they want to see.

Next week, we are organizing an impromptu leadership meeting, open to anyone who wishes to attend. We’ll be discussing:

  • Monthly Speaker Nominations
  • Improvements for next year’s blockchain festival
  • 2018 calendar
  • Potential projects

For our non-Houstonian friends: we invite you to attend remotely and discuss your ideas and projects as well.

Access to justice isn’t just a catchy phrase, it’s a movement, and we invite you to be the change you want to see.

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