Per Aragon’s official website, the company developed a community governed decentralized organization, with the objective of operating as a digital jurisdiction and an online decentralized court. By rolling out Aragon Court, the team behind the project aims to eliminate “traditional artificial barriers such as national jurisdictions or the borders of a single country” when it comes to adjudicating disputes.
As of Jan. 7, Aragon Court began letting members convert the network’s native token ANT into the ANJ token, which they can stake to earn rewards following the court’s launch. The company claimed that any person around the world can become a juror, upon condition that they possess at least 10,000 staked and activated ANJ tokens.
Once a dispute is raised, the system singles out jurors to adjudicate it. Per the site, the chance of being called to jury duty is proportional to the number of ANJ tokens a community member has activated.
A network self-regulated by smart contracts
To elaborate further on the matter, Cointelegraph reached out to Luis Cuende, executive director at Aragon Association. Cuende asserted that there is no need for Aragon Court to come into agreement with relevant authorities, which would authorize it to deliver official judgments like traditional courts within certain jurisdictions, since the project is “special precisely because it’s entirely decentralized and borderless.”
Cuende continued saying: “Aragon Court is self-regulated by smart contracts. However different jurisdictions may treat smart contracts in different ways corresponding to their local regulations, so I recommend getting legal advice in case of doubt.”
But how can the project execute rulings by jurors?
According to the company, every single aspect of the decentralized network is geared to be governed by people participating in its operation, with randomly selected jurors being able to solve disputes between two parties. When asked how rulings by jurors within the project are set to be executed, Cuende explained:
“They are automatically executed by smart contracts — juries provide their decisions, and then the smart contract rewards or penalizes the winning and losing parties respectively. There is no trust involved or centralized parties who can tamper with the system.”
According to Cuende, Aragon Court had recruited 60 jurors as of press time.
Bond-based arbitration mechanism
Also, Aragon Court implements a bond system, wherein an individual has to post a bond upon opening a case, which serves as a guarantee for the period of the arbitration process and returned to the individual if the case is settled in favor of the applicant.
Cointelegraph asked Cuende what would the incentive be for someone filing a case with Aragon Court to submit a bond, as it seems like their best-case scenario is to get exactly that much money back, on which he said:
“Let’s say you hire a website freelancer to make you a website. In this case, both parties want the following assurances:
You want to make sure that the website designer won’t make you lose your time and don’t deliver anything. So as the one who hires the designer, you want the designer to put up a bond that can be taken away if the Court rules that the designer misbehaves.
The website designer wants certainty that you cannot take away her work without paying her. So she wants you to put up a bond that can be taken away by the Court if you misbehave.”
Cuende added, “At the end of the day, it’s all about having certain guarantees while interacting in low-trust environments.”
Legal systems explore blockchain
While Aragon Court claims to be the world’s first digital jurisdiction in the making, legal systems around the world have also been experimenting with blockchain and smart contracts. Last year, law professor Giesela Rühl argued that smart contracts do not necessarily conflict with traditional contract law, and that international law — specifically the European Union’s Rome I Regulation — applies to them.
As of mid-December of last year, China’s smart courts were applying a variety of innovative technologies including blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) to decide on millions of legal cases. According to local sources, more than 3.1 million Chinese litigation activities from March to October of last year had been settled through the blockchain and AI-powered smart internet courts.