A Dutch company has created a blockchain-based sexual consent app called “LegalFling” that allows men and women the ability to legally agree to sexual acts without having to physically sign a piece of paper. After the parties involved “swipe right” on the contract on the app, their electronic signature is stored on a blockchain.
“Asking someone to sign a contract before having sex is a little uncomfortable,” LegalThings CEO Rick Schmitz said in a press release. “With LegalFling, a simple swipe to sexual consent is enough to legally justify the fling.”
The website notes: “Sex should be fun and safe, but nowadays a lot of things can go wrong. Think of unwanted videos, withholding information about STDs and offensive porn reenactment. While you’re protected by law, litigating any offences in court is nearly impossible in reality. LegalFling creates a legally binding agreement, which means any offence is a breach of contract.”
What if someone changes their mind during a sexual act? The website explicitly points out that “‘no’ means ‘no.’” An individual can withdraw consent at any time through the app “with a single click.” However, wouldn’t it be a little awkward for someone to open an app rather than just talk to their partner about the situation?
The LegalFling sexual consent app is not available yet. But others such as SaSie and We-Consent have been created to establish consent in advance of a sexual encounter. There is a fear, however, that these types of apps will be used by people to cover their tracks if they act inappropriately during a sex act.
On their FAQs page one of the questions is: Are you promoting rape culture? The company’s answer: “No, on the contrary. Getting explicit consent and expressing your do’s and don’ts before sex should be the norm, but it typically doesn’t happen. LegalFling is a fun but clear way to set the rules before play.” (keep in mind that sexual acts can be defined as much more than penetration).
According to LegalThings, the app is just the first step in developing commercial legal contracts that can be signed in a similar manner. Co-founders Rick Schmitz and Arnold Daniels told Artificial Lawyer that they want to promote what they think is the future of commercial contracts. Schmitz, a former tax attorney, explained that a blockchain can store information in a “trustless” manner with a “live contract” connected to it. The system would log key data relating to the contract on a blockchain.
For example, an employer could use this type of contract to record the number of times an employee arrives late to work. The live contract would record information on a blockchain, which would serve as proof instead of obtaining evidence from coworkers. After a certain number of reprimands, the employee would be fired through the live contract. This would speed up the process and possibly prevent the need for attorneys to be involved.
“A paper contract gets signed and put into a drawer only to be forgotten. A Live Contract is something that you continue to interact with. Each event related to the contract is logged in an immutable way, using decentralized storage and the blockchain,” Schmitz said.