Security deposit withholding is a gigantic problem.

More U.S. households are renting now than at any point in the last 50 years. There are 43.3 million American households currently renting their apartment or house.1

Pretty much every landlord renting out an apartment or house requires each tenant to give them a security deposit. So let’s say there are 40 million American households that have given hundreds or thousands of dollars to their landlord as a deposit. 

This deposit is supposed to be used by the landlord for very specific purposes. The most common purposes are to cover unpaid rent, to fix excessive damage to the rental caused by the tenant, and to cover violations of the rental agreement.

The problem arises when the tenant moves out. And lots of people are moving out, which means this problem is happening to lots of people. In 2018, more than 21.4 million Americans moved out of their rented apartment or house.2

When a renter moves out, their landlord has to decide how much of the deposit they’ll keep. The basis of this decision is subjective. As an example, some think a one inch hole in the wall is “ordinary” damage, which means the landlord should pay the cost of fixing it. Others might think a hole of that size is “excessive” damage, which means the tenant’s deposit should pay the cost of fixing it. The final piece to call out is that landlords are running businesses, and they want to make money. To summarize the situation:

  • The landlord is running a business and wants to make money.
  • The landlord is holding a big pile of the tenant’s money.
  • The landlord gets to decide how much of this money to keep.
  • The criteria the landlord uses to make this decision are subjective.

You can see how the elements of this situation tend to create an unfair outcome for the tenant. Landlords frequently withhold tenants’ security deposits without good reason.

So here are some key takeaways to understand.

  1. If your landlord is giving you a hard time about your security deposit, you are not alone. Millions of Americans deal with this problem every year.
  2. Landlords often try to keep an unfair amount of their tenants’ security deposits. When they say you can’t get it back, they might be wrong. You need to get back the money to which you are legally entitled.
  3. You have powerful legal rights designed to protect you from being taken advantage of. State lawmakers know about this problem and have passed laws to help tenants. Juris has made enforcing these rights pretty simple. We would love to help.

Next Steps After a DepositLetter

Blog Header - Debt Collector Rights

If your old landlord has received your DepositLetter and refuses to return your money, you have a few different options. We’ve laid them out here so you can think them through and choose your best course of action. We’re happy to answer any questions regarding these steps but do not provide direct assistance with them.

  1. Send a follow up email. It’s possible that the landlord thought hard about returning your money but is still hoping you’ll go away. If you send an email, the landlord may decide you aren’t giving up anytime soon and give in to your demand. We recommend attaching a copy of your DepositLetter to this email so they see it again.
  2. Send another letter. Again, it’s possible that your landlord is just hoping you’ll go away. If you send another letter, they may decide you aren’t giving up and give in to your demand. Currently, Juris does not offer a service for second letters, so you’ll have to draft and mail the letter yourself. We recommend sending it by certified mail so you can prove in court, if necessary, that you sent it and it was delivered.
  3. Get help from a legal aid organization. These organizations provide free help to people in need of legal services. The Legal Services Corporation is a non-profit that connects people to free legal aid in their local area. Click here to go to their website, then look for the “Find Legal Aid” button in the top right.
  4. Hire a lawyer to help you sue the landlord. This might be difficult since most lawyers charge hundreds of dollars an hour, which will eventually outweigh the value of your security deposit. You can start looking using Google.
  5. Sue the landlord without a lawyer. This is not as hard as it may sound. Google your state along with the term “small claims court”. Most states have websites with helpful guides instructing you on how to sue someone in small claims court.

We hope this information is helpful and we wish you the best of luck!

Juris: Year One

We haven’t talked much, because we’ve been learning, and building things: the team, the roadmap, tools. In a whirlwind year, it was time to put our heads down.

If you gave us your email address, I promised not to spam you. — I hope an update once a year isn’t too much to bear 😎 But, shortly we will have more regular updates (and a podcast) as we move into beta testing. (Bring on the feedback! Reach us through the on-site chat.)

A lot has happened in the year since our whitepaper release, but of greatest importance at this stage in a project, we put together a killer team.

Our Team:

I have known, and worked with, our CTO, Konstantin Brazhnik for fifteen years. We learned “how to digital” together through the lens of video and interactive production. First, in a pack of nerds without a film department in undergrad, and then doing more of the same for five years, but for money, at my first company. He is a coder and a physics major with an MFA in interactive media. He is a founder in his own right, having run his own businesses in software design/development, and real estate. As we have moved through our education and careers, he has consistently been on my “If I could just get them to drop whatever cooler project they’re hacking on” speed-dial.

The release of the whitepaper was followed by the release of our e-book: “How a Blockchain Works and What it Can Do (in plain english)” written by our General Counsel, Ethan Mackay. Ethan, came onboard in the spring after completing his JD/MBA at Columbia University, where he spent a lot of time writing about blockchain. (Hence the ebook.) He decided to dedicate his work to legal tech after realizing its potential to raise the standard of living for millions of people around the world. During graduate school he summered at Fenwick & West and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Before graduate school he worked at the U.S. Department of Justice and City Year.

Saul Kerpelman, a career civil rights attorney, came onboard as chairman, making Juris the focus of his fellowship at Harvard through their Advanced Leadership Initiative. Saul founded his own law firm in 1986 and, over 35 years, grew it into the nation’s leading firm in the representation of children suffering from lead poisoning. Over that time, he secured over $300 million for more than 4,000 families. He also drove many policy initiatives to eradicate lead paint and close loopholes for repeat offenders.

Our work at Harvard provided focus for the Juris Project Mission, connected us with an invaluable network of advisors, and guided us in the creation of our first tool: Juris.Legal, launching in beta soon, and our second tool which we can’t talk about yet 😉

Finally, in early 2019, at the completion of the ALI fellowship, we brought Randy Cohen onboard as an official Senior Advisor. Randy is a widely published professor at Harvard Business School with a PhD in Finance. Through the ALI program we were able to take part in a semester of his renowned Field X course. The course is, in essence, a Harvard Business School run startup incubator. We spent a lot of time talking to Randy, and we wanted an excuse to keep it up. He brings an invaluable network and experience to the team.

Our Progress:

We spent this year building the backbone technologies and methodologies for the kind of problems we intend to take on. The law is important and the impact it has on everyone’s lives is undeniable. As we introduce increasingly advanced technology into the legal world it serves to take our time. To do our research. To build with intention.

We spent the year deep in the un-sexy part of the code, learning the new things, and testing the old. As we learned the limits and the possibilities, and explored the potential markets, our roadmap has taken shape. But first, blockchain.

It is undeniable that Juris started life as a blockchain project. And it remains a blockchain project at its core. The year since the release of our whitepaper has only increased our belief in the merits of blockchain technology. Blockchain is here, it has a purpose, and we will use it because its fundamental strengths bear significant overlap with our fundamental mission.

It has become clear, as the roadmap takes shape, that the first steps of our journey with Juris do not yet look like the smart contracts and token eco-systems of which our whitepaper dreamed. As other teams “#buidl” the landscape is taking shape. The backbone structures of our system take the possibilities into account. Functionally, our beta is Ethereum ready. And we are watching the eco-system carefully.

In coming weeks, in California and New York, we will begin beta testing our first legal tool: Juris.Legal. For the average citizen of these states, it will be a place to seek legal advice from verified, state bar licensed, lawyers. For the lawyers, this is a window into our vision of the future of legal practice. Here we have started building a system able to solve for the most good done, instead of the most hours billed.

There are, of course, many other balls rolling as we speak. In the coming year we will have new tools to launch, to test, and to develop, and we hope to announce a number of exciting partnerships on both business and social impact fronts. If you’re still here, and still excited, please reach out. The Intercom chat on Juris is a good place to start, or you can email as us here: team@jurisproject.io.

Thank you for being part of our work so far, and we hope you’ll jump in as beta testing gets underway very soon.

Adam Kerpelman

Co-Founder, CEO, Juris

There’s a Gold Rush of Legal Work Coming. Be Ready.

Where’s the Rush?

The law is notoriously slow. Sometimes that’s okay–no one wants a hasty murder trial. Because its business is the law, the legal profession is also notoriously slow, both in operation and adaptation. But, software is eating the world and this means that the law and lawyers must adapt. Not because “disruption” is popular, but because law and order are critical to society.

There is a reason that we have “the right to speak to an attorney” upon arrest in the United States: laws are complicated. We, quite literally, do not expect the average citizen to understand them fully. And so we have lawyers, “officers of the court,” meant to counsel anyone dealing with that system which maintains order. And for cases important enough to life and liberty, you have a right to a lawyer.

Yet, as software keeps on eating, lawyers are falling further behind. This is a problem, because people aren’t getting help, and because lawyers don’t have the time to help if they wanted to. And this is not the kind of problem that can be solved by “going paperless.” Incremental improvements won’t do. We need a full perspective shift, because this isn’t a problem of old dogs and new tricks. This is a problem of scale.

To meet the scale of the coming need for legal help, we need to think about legal work more like the prospectors of old thought of mining. An apt analogy if we consider that the coming gold rush of legal work is born at the frontier of technology. But lawyers are here to help clients, not dig for gold. So, let’s help more people.

But first, let’s talk about “scale,” because we’ll need it to understand “where’s the rush?”

Will it Scale?

There is a reason that people in tech circles are obsessed with the notion of “scale.” The question “will it scale?” is asking this: will a way of doing things hold together as numbers increase? Can an idea, a service, tool, whatever, still function when a thousand people are using it every day? What about a million? What about a billion? Facebook and Amazon deal with problems in the Billions. (And governments deal in trillions!) You don’t have to do things to that scale, but scale does exist. Especially in digital.

The reason for this obsession with scale goes beyond the fact that more users = money. The obsession has to do with what it means to be eaten by software. When a service is digitized it is suddenly, at least technologically, possible to deliver that service to billions. Think about how many people you used to know personally who worked as taxi drivers. Now think if you’ve ever wondered to yourself “should I sign up for Uber to make an extra buck?”

Digital tools are built to let people do more stuff. Doing more stuff means more interaction, and collaboration, and buying, and selling. The power to do all of this stuff is instantly available to anyone with a smartphone, and doing it is still guided by laws. You have rights. But they are not always easy to enforce. There are also things you’re not supposed to do. Sometimes the things you are not supposed to do are outlined by a government, sometimes they are outlined in a “terms of service” contract. Which is actually a contract whether anyone in their right mind reads the whole thing before signing up, or not.

Regardless of how this makes you feel, more people are doing more stuff, and human stuff results in conflicts, and confusion. In court, this is why you get a lawyer. This is why people worry about “access to justice.” Talking to lawyers matters, and there are already millions of people who don’t get to do this because the system is broken.

And thus the need for full blown perspective shift. The problem is not that the legal profession needs to “go paperless” or get on Slack. The problem is the growing explosion of people who need their help, and the fact that there are only so many “billable hours” in a day and only so many lawyers. Current models simply cannot scale up to meet the need. Where there is such a mismatch, there is gold. When there is a coming explosion, there is a rush.

Mining for Good

The term “mining” has taken on a slightly different meaning in tech circles in the last few years thanks largely to Bitcoin, but that’s not what I mean here. I’m talking about pulling gold out of the ground kind of mining. The thing that drew so many dreamers west in the early days of the United States. And here’s where it lines up with the needed perspective shift for lawyers… none of the prospectors staking claim to a patch of land, hoping to strike gold, were thinking of the world in terms of billable hours. These prospectors, breaking ground in the frontier, were thinking of the world in terms of how much gold can we get out of the ground in any given hour. Not how many hours will it take to get “the usual” amount of gold out of the ground. No one even knew what the usual amount of gold was. But they knew that when they found it they held value in their hand.

The value in our hand is now abstracted into the notion of money, filtered through layers of paychecks and banks. In this system: we do work, we get paid. Lawyers get paid, a lot. Because the service they provide is important. But, a vast majority of the time, that service boils down to this: giving advice. In giving advice, there is gold.

As it happens, the same tools that let us build the Internet are really useful for allowing people to give other people advice. In some cases it looks like Twitter, in some cases it looks like Stack Overflow, or GitHub, which are both examples of places where programmers have found ways to work together and help one another with remarkable effectiveness.

At Juris, we’re learning from the tools programmers use, and building tools for lawyers to help more people, and help one another. (Picks and shovels anyone?) And we want lawyers to feel more like miners. These tools do not require that we charge by the hour. They do not require that we double bill. They do not require that we rent an office with a fancy conference room. And by breaking this dynamic we are able to incentivize a system to solve for the most help provided, and not the most time spent on a problem. And this is where we hold gold in our hands. This is mining. But we’re digging for the amount of help we can provide, not gold.

Make sense? Join us. Get digging.

~ Adam

AwesomeCoin Crowdfunding Massacre — Juris Platform User Examples

Welcome to the Juris Project. We’re building a mediation and arbitration protocol for blockchain smart contracts. Start here if you want to know more about the project, and check out post one (“Juris Protocol Use Case — Ziggy Stardust”) or post two (“100,000 Twitter Bots, Bought on the Blockchain”) in the series t to start smaller. Continue on for an example from our whitepaper of how it will work.

Crowdfunding The World

By now, the general public is aware of the idea of crowdfunding. US law has caught up to the extent that regulations have been rolled out allowing a restricted version of crowdfunding in exchange for equity. And in this world, nearly all securities contracts use an arbitration clause, or agreement. We already looked at how things worked with Ziggy, described above. It isn’t difficult to extrapolate the implications for a Kickstarter- like platform, built via blockchain to maximize efficiency. But because ICOs are all the rage, lets take a look at that type of crowdfunding, in which the crowd isn’t quite as large. Just remember, because of how blockchains work, this could happen for one hundred or a thousand people as easily as ten we talk about.

The Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT) has quickly become a popular funding mechanism for pre-sale Token Generation Events. Sometimes they’re also called Initial Coin Offerings, or ICOs. They are a tool for the early sale of the tokens that will be generated and used by technology protocols for which funding is needed. They require a certain degree of interpersonal trust between founders and investors, as they are essentially a promise to produce and deliver something at a future date. But what if you want to fund a Cambodian team with a promising idea, and you can’t do a background check? What about an anonymous, distributed team? Because of this trust component, the SAFT is a less effective device for unproven teams or inexperienced (or crowd) investors.

The SCAFT?

Luckily the system is already primed for a trust-less solution, a SAFT built via smart contract, a SCAFT: Smart Contract for Future Tokens. But, like we’ve already covered, even smart contracts can’t always be perfect. Let’s take a look:

Ten investors would each like to pre-purchase 10,000 ETH of AwesomeCoin. Each puts their ETH in to a smart contract which has the following expected behavior: it will release .5% of its contents every day until it receives [the correct number of tokens] from [specific wallet address] at which point it will dump all of the remaining funds into the company’s account.

Oops…

Due to a technical problem while preparing for the token generation, the AwesomeCoin developers lose access to [specific wallet address]. This means the smart contracts will never trigger as specified in the SCAFT code. Without intervention, AwesomeCoin will never receive the full balance of their funds, and the investors will never receive their tokens. AwesomeCoin does not want to disrupt their timeline, so they push ahead, issue the tokens and distribute tokens manually from their new address, as promised, to the investors. Using the Juris self mediation tools, the developers propose that the money be transferred to their account even through the technical terms of the smart contract were not satisfied. Using the same tools, seven of the investor’s signal their assent; the developers signal their assent, and the transfer executes. Two of the investors invoke the SCAFT’s cancellation terms. Those contracts are frozen, and all of the money left in those accounts is moved into a Juris CDK generated holding account. The parties are unable to talk it out, and they trigger a SNAP Judgement, after which point one of the investors signals their willingness to release funds. Both parties sign off, and the funds are released.

The remaining investors choose to escalate the case further. This signals Juris to begin formation of a panel. The smart contract doesn’t detail what kind of mediation they would like, so default settings are used. The system guides the parties through the process to select a panel of three High Jurists. This panel hears arguments and examines evidence. At the end of that period, the judges find 2-to-1 for the entrepreneurs. Using their dispute mediation tools, without the consent of the investors, they transfer the remaining funds to the entrepreneurs’ account. The panel members split the mediation fee, and rate each other’s performance (those ratings are used to update their reputation scores).

100,000 Twitter Bots, Bought on the Blockchain – Juris Platform User Examples

In which there is a disagreement regarding “followers” and “bots.”

Welcome to the Juris Project. We’re building a mediation and arbitration protocol for blockchain smart contracts. Start here if you want to know more about the project, and check out the first post in this series “Juris Protocol Use Case — Ziggy Stardust”. Continue on for an example from our whitepaper of how it will work.

100,000 Twitter Bots

Alfred, an aspiring London comedian, is looking to drastically grow his small presence on Twitter to reach new audiences. He currently has around 20k followers and dreams of hitting the low six figures. On CoinLancer, a popular Ethereum-based freelancing marketplace, he finds Barbara: a self-proclaimed social media guru in Chicago. Barbara advertises that for 4 ETH she can grow anyone’s Twitter follower count by 100k followers within 30 days. Alfred’s sold: the price per follower sounds much better than any other offer he’s seen. CoinLancer’s system helps Alfred enter into a smart contract with Barbara, set to programmatically test Alfred’s follower count in 30 days.

30 days later, Alfred’s follower count is at 125k — and rising. The test clause of the smart contract becomes active, and confirms that his follower count has surpassed the success criteria to pay out to Barbara.

To Alfred’s horror, 3 days later, he receives an email from Twitter notifying him that 80k of Alfred’s 125k Followers were deactivated. His Follower count now falls drastically short of Barbara’s promise. As far as he’s concerned, this isn’t what he paid for. He contacts Barbara. As far as she’s concerned, she’s fulfilled the contract as it was written and has rendered her services as agreed: she got him his 100k followers.

Relieved that CoinLancer suggested he include Juris CDK in the smart contract, Alfred activates the adjudication function in his Juris dashboard. All the Ether in the contract is temporarily frozen, and a request is sent to Juris to begin arbitration. He and Barbara have already talked about their disagreement, and they’re getting nowhere, so Alfred decides to escalate to a SNAP Judgement.

Worldwide, holders of JRS receive notification of a new contract in need of arbitration. As they enter their online Juris dashboard and examine the ticket, they’re presented with case details provided by Alfred and Barbara, as well as a copy of the smart contract in question and any associated logs. Deng, a JRS holder in Singapore, reviews the initial case brief. He’s unfamiliar with bot protocols and Twitter, and he’s not confident that he will be able to contribute to the discussion. He decides this case isn’t for him. But Juan, a social media manager in Acapulco, has dealt with this before — personally. He, and thousands of other token holders, accept the ticket. He reviews the case and contract, and swiftly casts his first vote. Within a few days, thousands of votes have been cast worldwide, discussions have taken place, and short opinions have been written and submitted.

Alfred awakes the next day and, to his delight, the SNAP has already rendered a judgement. His dashboard reports back that 64% of the High Jurists sided with him, 73% of the Good Standing Jurists. As a token holder — and occasional Jurist himself — he knows that’s a very positive outcome for him. He is also able to see a record of discussion, and the opinions submitted along with rounds of voting. He knows Barbara will also see the same.

He submits to assent to the favorable opinion cast by the SNAP Jurists. If Barbara assents also, the case will be marked resolved and he’ll be refunded his Ether. He and Barbara can part ways. He knows that if she doesn’t, a second round of arbitration, this time binding, may happen. Seeing thousands of votes rendered in Alfred’s favor, Barbara concedes and assents to the decision. The Ether tied up in the contract is returned to Alfred, and the JRS used to power the arbitration function in the contract is divided equally amongst all the arbiters who took part in the SNAP.

Ziggy Stardust, Blockchain Rockstar – Juris Platform User Examples

In which an artist, a platform, and a whole lot of fans are saved a headache.

Welcome to the Juris Project. We’re building a mediation and arbitration protocol for blockchain smart contracts. Start here if you want to know more about the project, and you can check out “Juris Protocol Use Case — 100k Twitter Bots” for a slightly more advanced scenario. Continue on for an example from our whitepaper of how it will work.

Ziggy plays guitar.

He’s an independent singer and songwriter who puts out music with his band The Spiders from Mars. He wants to sell his tunes, but he’s sick of dealing with iTunes and the streaming options. He only makes 30% of the purchase price there. He thought about selling his music direct, and taking payments through PayPal, but those transaction fees are pretty high as well. To compete he needs to offer his tracks at $.99, $1.50 max, and he’s losing $.30-.50 of that on each transaction. But Ziggy has been watching the evolution of blockchain tech, so he thinks he can do even better. He finds a service built on Ethereum called Ujo that helps him set up a store with Ethereum smart contracts. The contract sends an attached Mp3 file directly to anyone that sends in $1 worth of Ether. Easy, and he gets to keep way more of that dollar than he would have with any alternative.

Ziggy drops his first single using his new smart contract system. He teases the track on Twitter and his fans are excited. David, a huge fan, immediately sends in his ETH, and he gets the mp3 he expected. But when he listens, he finds out the file is nothing but static. This also happened to a thousand other fans. It seems the file Ziggy uploaded was corrupted on export or delivery. Luckily Ujo had incorporated the Juris CDK. The company hasn’t collected any money yet, as it’s in a Juris CDK created holding wallet for the contracted two days clearance before they pass it to Ziggy. On David’s receipt he has a button that says “Request Refund or Report Problem.” He hits it, and fills out the details on the problem with his Mp3 file.

The platform operators and Ziggy get a notification right away that the smart contract outcome has been flagged, and the contract (and funds) are frozen. On their Juris Dashboard they can see that 800 other flags have come in for this issue. Ziggy immediately checks the file and sees what happened, realizes this is an obvious screw up, and they’ll need to make good. Ziggy exported the wrong track in his recording session, and Ujo didn’t catch it.

Ziggy outputs the right track and lets the service know. They send the fixed Mp3 file to David and all of the other fans who have placed an order so far. David gets a ping that Ujo and Ziggy have marked the dispute as resolved. He agrees, so he marks the conflict as resolved via the Juris Dashboard as well. The funds are unlocked, and the contract is able to run. In two days Ziggy’s ETH is delivered. In that time, the service has fixed the smart contract for Ziggy’s track so this won’t happen to the next buyer. As buzz grows, 50,000 more tracks are sold in the next day, all smooth transactions. The CDK just saved Ziggy, Ujo, and thousands of fans a headache, if not worse.

Justice is Coming to The Blockchain

Introducing the Juris Protocol: Human-Powered Dispute Resolution for Blockchain Smart Contracts.

For all the promise that self-executing smart contracts hold, mistakes, misunderstandings, disputes, and hacks will still happen. Juris is building a human-powered, blockchain-native, open source dispute resolution protocol because we believe that smart contract technology will never reach large scale adoption without a fair dispute resolution system, built to mesh with real world legal structures.

New contracts, old problems.

In the wake of costly cases like the DAO or Parity Wallet hacks, in which hundreds of millions of dollars were lost or stolen, our team began work on the Juris Protocol. Smart contracts have the potential to facilitate secure transactions and enforceable agreements with remarkable efficiency. Moreover, these tools can be made available globally and among a class of citizen to which such contractual means of enforcement have never previously been available. But, smart contracts will never truly take hold if they do not present themselves to the average person backed by an equally evolved and fair system of dispute resolution and judgement.

In recent decades we have witnessed the rapid digitization, decentralization, and distribution of myriad services and tools which used to exist solely in the “real world.” These technologies have fundamentally altered the way humans communicate. With this transition we have seen the rise of new problems, new solutions… and new problems again. Among those solutions we find blockchain technology, which gives us a simple but fundamentally different way of recording transactions between parties. And blockchain technology has given rise to the self-executing, “smart” contract: a simple but fundamentally revolutionary way to make and execute agreements about those transactions.

For all the promise this solution presents, it does not mean that these smart contracts are free of the complexity and nuance which has given rise to contract law and modern judicial systems. As all lawyers know well, there is no perfect contract, smart or otherwise. Like traditional contracts before them, smart contracts and their self-executed transactions will result in disputes, mistakes, chargeback requests, and hacks.

Our solution.

Including the Juris Protocol code will make any smart contract legally enforceable before disputes, errors, or hacks happen. By using the Juris Contract Development Kit, any smart contract user will have access to a subset of best practice boilerplate legal protections in the event of a dispute. With Juris Token (JRS) attached, the smart contract is backed by the ability to freeze contract operations and use Juris Protocol tools to resolve the disputed transactions.

When a dispute is triggered, users will be directed to the Juris SELF mediation tools, which provide disputing parties with a forum to come to mutual resolution on their own. If an agreement is reached, they can use Juris tools to execute a modified smart contract.

If SELF mediation is ineffective, users can escalate to the Juris SNAP mediation system to crowdsource an opinion from our decentralized force of qualified Jurists. If settlement negotiations are still stalled, users can escalate to a binding Juris PANEL which provides a decentralized, United Nations compliant arbitration tribunal judicially enforceable in 157 countries, (if preferred, escalation will also be possible to the external dispute resolution company of the smart contract user’s choice.)

If the contract runs without dispute, or a dispute is resolved via SELF mediation, all JRS is returned. If SNAP mediation or PANEL arbitration is needed, attached JRS is earned by Jurists for their time and judgement.

Human systems.

For blockchain-based technologies and smart contracts to work, we must acknowledge this fact of any tool working in service of human cooperation: humans will disagree and humans will misunderstand, often through no fault of their own. Disputes will happen. Even if we _could_ perfect smart contract automation, humans need to feel like their grievances have been heard in order to trust a system of resolution.

It is our intent at Juris not to disrupt the legal system, but to build a bridge: a decentralized mediation and arbitration layer as accessible as the Internet. Built with empathy and usability, Juris will conform to modern alternative dispute resolution science and law. It will be powered by a force of qualified legal professionals, including certified mediators and arbitrators, earning JRS Token for their services, provided from anywhere in the world.

The Juris Protocol will be able to incorporate with _any_ blockchain smart contract via open source plug-in, and _any_ traditional contract via standard arbitration clause.

Building a bridge.

In the realm of “Silicon Valley,” and tech innovation, there is a popular notion of “disruption” typified by the idea of tearing down and replacing previous institutions. This ethos has been instrumental to the growth and development of blockchain based technologies.

But, there are some systems of such great importance to society that every successive “disruption” has merely refined their application. In law and governance, destruction of the old is deliberately difficult. Passing a law is difficult and slow because we want — we _need —_ to get it right. We presume innocence until proof of guilt because keeping innocent people out of prison is fundamentally important. Human rights are held sacred, vigorously debated, and defended because they are critical to a citizenry’s contract with their government, and with one another. And above all, human beings are wired to expect and pursue the “fairness” of transactions.

From monarchies, to oligarchies, to the republic and democracy. Through centuries of decentralization in systems of government. From English common law to modern systems of judicial resolution and arbitration, the idea articulated in the Magna Carta that “lawful judgement” by other humans is the only way to fairly and peacefully resolve a dispute is not a notion to be “disrupted,” but a notion to be refined and incorporated anew in any system of governance which proposes to facilitate human cooperation.

It is with these convictions, and belief in smart contracts as the future of legally binding agreement, that our team — comprised of lawyers, engineers, economists and scientists — began work on the Juris Protocol: an open source, human-powered, blockchain-native, dispute arbitration and mediation system.

Today I am proud to announce the public launch of our whitepaper, available through our website: (http://jurisproject.io).

Take a look. Get involved. Help us build a judicial system for the blockchain.

Sincerely,

Adam J. Kerpelman, Founder & CEO, Juris