Technology & Web3
We assist businesses in all areas of Technology and Web3 Law
Technology Law (or TechLaw) comprises the legal framework that governs the use, development, and regulation of technology and the digital space.
Included in the Caveat offering to its TechLaw clients, is regulatory compliance, commercial matters such as the requirements when setting up new technology-based businesses or contracting with resellers or partners, as well the drafting and/or review and negotiation of commercial contracts, including:
- Software development, outsourcing and licensing agreements;
- Service level agreements;
- Maintenance and support agreements;
- Website and App terms and conditions;
- Data processing agreements;
- Consulting and professional services agreements;
- Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs);
- hardware and software sale and purchase agreements;
- content acquisition and distribution agreements;
- reseller agreements;
- network access services agreements; and
- E-commerce agreements.
TechLaw Laws and Regulations
Some of the key laws that make up this framework include:
- Electronic Communications and Transactions Act (ECTA), 2002;
- Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA), 2013;
- Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Act, 2020;
- National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications Act (which establishes the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS), which is responsible for the administration of technical regulations, standards, and conformity assessments in South Africa); and
- Intellectual property and consumer protection legislation.
Technology is constantly advancing, and with it, the legal landscape that governs it. I am dedicated to helping my clients steer through this ever-changing terrain and find practical solutions to the legal challenges they face in the digital age.
- Susan Braybrooke, Panel Expert
Web3 refers to the third generation of the internet, which is built on blockchain technology and offers a decentralised infrastructure. Web3 (as a new technology) poses legal challenges and raises important questions about regulation, compliance and liability.
Some of the noteworthy legal issues include:
- The regulatory framework surrounding Web3: Depending on the nature of the Web3 project, it may need to ensure compliance with data protection laws, consumer protection laws, financial regulations or securities laws.
- Intellectual Property: Web3 projects often involve the creation and use of new intellectual property, such as blockchain protocols, smart contracts, and dApps (decentralised apps), which should be protected through the appropriate legal mechanisms.
- Contracting: Web3 projects involve the creation and use of smart contracts – Smart contracts raise issues around accountability, data protection and privacy, to name a few.
- Tokenomics and Token Sales: It is important that tokens (including non-fungible tokens (NFTs)) are properly structured and comply with relevant securities and other applicable laws.
- Jurisdiction and liability: The decentralised nature of Web3 makes it difficult to determine which legal jurisdiction applies to transactions or disputes, and to enforce legal remedies.
- Environmental impact: We expect environmental regulation to be imposed.
- DAOs: The use of decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs) in Web3 presents unique legal challenges. DAOs are decentralised organisations that operate using smart contracts on blockchain technology. They are not subject to traditional corporate law, which raises questions about liability, governance and accountability.
Despite these legal challenges, there are also many opportunities for Web3 technology in South Africa. Web3 technology has the potential to revolutionise the way we do business and to create new opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors.
Caveat is at the forefront of legal services in the emerging Web3 space, which encompasses blockchain, DAOs, decentralised finance (DeFi), NFTs, and other cutting-edge technologies.
Our team of experienced attorneys understands the unique legal challenges that arise in this new digital landscape and provides tailored legal solutions to meet the needs of our clients.
Whether you are an entrepreneur, a developer, or an investor in the Web3 space, we can provide you with the legal guidance and support you need to navigate this exciting and rapidly evolving industry.
More specific services we offer:
CRYPTO AND STARTUP COMPANIES
- Setup, financing and commerce
WHEN LAUNCHING AN NFT, DAPP or PLATFORM
- Setup of company
- Management of Intellectual Property
- Contractor Agreements
- Licence Agreements
- Advise on token, ICO/IDO/STO and securities law aspects
- Assist with SAFE + SAFT agreements, seed-financing and angel or VC investment instruments
- Advise on legal structures to ensure compliance with applicable law, governance and other solutions.
Frequently asked questions on Technology and Web3 Law
Commonly used technology law agreements in South Africa include software licence agreements, service level agreements, website terms and conditions, data processing agreements, non-disclosure agreements and outsourcing agreements.
Legal challenges faced by businesses operating in the technology space include compliance with data protection and cybersecurity regulations, protection of intellectual property rights, managing liability and risk in the event of cyberattacks or data breaches, and ensuring compliance with emerging technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence.
Blockchain technology is a way of storing and sharing information. Blockchain is a decentralised digital record of transactions, stored across a network of computers, which enables secure, transparent, and immutable sharing of information – once a transaction is recorded on the blockchain, it cannot be altered or deleted. Blockchain’s applications are numerous and varied, from cryptocurrency to smart contracts to being the foundation for Web3.
So how does it work? Blockchain stores data in blocks that are chained together. The data on the blocks are continuously updated, encrypted, and stored on several computers so there’s no centralised controller. Blockchain is the key technology that facilitates Web3 and all its components, including, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, DAOs, smart contracts, ICOs/IDOs, SAFTs, and Metaverse.
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are tokens used to represent ownership of unique digital assets created (or “minted”) and existing on a blockchain, that cannot be replicated. NFTs, like traditional cryptocurrencies, can be traded on any NFT market based on the same blockchain, which transactions are governed by smart contracts. In South Africa, NFTs are not yet specifically regulated, but they may be subject to existing laws such as copyright, contract and property laws.
Smart contracts are self-executing transactions that are encoded on a blockchain. They are governed by the code written into the contract, which automatically executes the terms and conditions of the agreement. In South Africa, smart contracts are enforceable as long as they meet the requirements of a valid contract under contract law.
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