Having the word blockchain on your product or marketing in 2017/2018 is quickly becoming like "cloud" was in 2011, or adding a lowercase i or e to the front of a product or company name in the late 90's. What once was a useful technical term is now just another corporate tech buzzword, at most bolted on purely to attract interest. And in the midst of the recent #MeToo developments, Legal Fling has jumped in with its own blockchain-based app for securing contractually-enforceable sexual consent. Sounds hot.
(Fair disclosure: I'm invested in blockchain-powered systems including token systems and cryptocurrencies, though none of them are being used by this product.)
Legal Fling doesn't actually exist just yet, the app is apparently still in development (given the errors in grammar, so is the company's site), but it should be available for both Android and iOS in the future. The token-based blockchain solution powering the app is something called LegalThings One, which uses "Live Contracts," which sounds like a less powerful, more user-friendly version of Ethereum's Smart Contracts if you're familiar with that.
Details on how the app works are probably subject to change, but the (fairly unromantic) workflow seems to be: open the app, create a new "Fling request," choose a recipient, fill out a form detailing what you're willing to do, and fire it off to your partner(s?). They then approve or deny it (ouch), and you get to it.
Some of the stuff which the contract covers, like revenge porn, is already legally protected in many places. The whole process also might be a bit involved when you're already in the moment. But, if you require precise documentation for the specifics governing your every sexual encounter, the app can provide—though it does appear to be a bit lacking when it comes to more niche interests.
There have been a couple of spoofs on the subject of sexual contracts over the years. The Chappelle Show has a pretty good skit about the idea just below, and the profoundly underappreciated 80's flick Cherry 2000 (an accurate assessment of 2017 if I've ever seen one) has a bar scene that shows off just how ridiculous the concept could get.
Pretty much what I expect it to be like.
I think we can all appreciate the sentiment behind wanting to ensure legitimate consent while we're all knee deep in #MeToo shock. I'm just not sure that the pendulum has swung so far that we need legal documentation to validate it. Perhaps it's just me, but if you don't trust someone enough to have sex without a contract, maybe you just shouldn't have sex with them.
- Legal Fling
- Sam Griffin