First Page


Last Page


Document Type



Can blockchain technology and smart contracts be used in the context of alternative dispute resolution, particularly arbitration, turning traditional procedures on their head? This article discusses various possible applications of blockchain technology and smart contracts in ADR. In particular, it addresses the possibility of fully automated execution of arbitral awards using a smart contract through so-called escrow mechanisms. Subsequently, it presents two promising approaches of so-called Decentralized Dispute Resolution (DDR), including Expert-Pooling and Crowdarbitration. DDR generally involves decisions made jointly by multiple or even all participants in a network (usually a blockchain network), rather than by just one or two intermediaries, and is managed by a smart contract. In the first approach, jurors join together to form so-called "expert pools" and offer their services without the parties knowing the pool members. Crowdarbitration is based on game-theoretic approaches, namely the “Schelling Point Principle” and crowdjustice. In both approaches, arbitral awards are typically enforced by an escrow mechanism. The final section comments on and evaluates each of these approaches, in particular their advantages and disadvantages, as well as their potential scope and limitations.