Jur Takes Aim At Smart Contract Market, Offers Arbitration, Sells $2m in Tokens

As smart contract pioneers such as Clause and OpenLaw steadily move into the mainstream of the legal sector, one new player, Jur, is now seeking to join the nascent market segment.

Their offering is heavily focused on leveraging blockchain tech, and includes the use of a ‘JUR’ token to allow customers to engage with the platform. The company has also just sold 100 million JUR tokens worth $2m, a spokesperson for Jur told Artificial Lawyer in a Telegram chat.

And, its aim is to provide not just a smart legal contract platform, but to also offer a range of arbitration facilities that will not depend upon trained lawyers, although they don’t discount the idea lawyers may well choose to take on arbitrator roles to solve Jur-related disputes, they told this site.

The Jur system (note: not to be confused with contracting platform Juro) has four key elements:

  • Jur Editor – which will include a marketplace of template legal docs.
  • Court Layer – which utilises the UNCITRAL arbitration and NY Convention on International Arbitration standards, which are worked into Jur smart contracts and provide a dispute resolution pathway. This relies on what are in effect volunteer arbitrators chosen by the platform to adjudicate a dispute (see more below).
  • Community Layer – where a ‘community’ of individuals using Jur decide on small to medium disputes. Any JUR token holders can create their own community to make such decisions.
  • And, an Open Layer – that solves small disputes, again open to people with JUR tokens, but designed to be more rapid.
Some of the Jur arbitration capabilities in the Court layer.

As you can see, one of the key goals of the platform is to sidestep the need to use the court system. Justice gets meted out by the same people who use the platform, and that in many ways is true to the spirit of the first blockchain pioneers, i.e. that people should be able to create their own social and economic systems without having to resort to centralised, national seats of power.

And before anyone says: well, that just sounds utopian and unrealistic…..think about the current world of private commercial arbitrations, which can take place between consenting parties far away from the courts of any country – if all involved agree to such a methodology. This is not that wildly different, they are just adding in a token and arranging data around a blockchain network – the VeChainThor blockchain, in this case. 

You can download the whitepaper here, if you’d like to get deeper into the system and its philosophy.

Of course, all of the arbitration aspects remain academic if people don’t use the smart contract platform to actually build and use real, live, contracts between commercial parties.

About their system they say: ‘[This provides] an editor that allows users to easily create and compose smart legal contracts either from scratch or using ready-made templates by reputable lawyers.’

Again the JUR token becomes integral to this process and it’s aimed at:

  • ‘DIY professionals who want to avoid the cost of lawyers
  • Lawyers who want to emancipate themselves from developers
  • Small-medium business & enterprises’

Artificial Lawyer has to say the phrase ‘DIY professionals‘ is a great one – albeit likely to create some concern among people who are regulated professionals, e.g. lawyers. However, as the legal market has shown, it’s generally not able to provide services to many people and SMEs, because of its inherent cost structure. So, we can’t blame entrepreneurs, such as those at Jur, which is headed up by CEO and co-founder, Alessandro Palombo, for trying to do something about it.

But, it’s also worth noting that we have been here before.

In 2017 we saw smart contract company Confideal offer a similar arbitration system. The same year we had Jury.Online, that also offered an online justice system and also launched a token. And, perhaps best-known of all, Agrello, which also launched in 2017 a smart contract platform and a token.

It’s fair to say none of these three companies, despite their initial promise – especially Agrello – really have had much of an impact on the legal market. One potential reason for not having the same impact as Clause and OpenLaw is that the teams behind them perhaps spent too much time fussing about their tokens, rather than perfecting the smart contract tech and finding ways for the legal and business community to trust the platform and use it.

But, Jur is just getting started, so let’s wait and see how this goes. One has to admire their aim, which overall is to increase access to justice.