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Computational Law and COP26

How computational law as infrastructure for complex adaptive systems can work to create a more ecological approach to the design of socio-economic contexts for our planetary and bio-regional co-existence.

Published onNov 18, 2021
Computational Law and COP26
·'s IdeaFlow Episode 10: openCOP and Computational Law for Climate Action

In this episode of IdeaFlow, we’ll speak with Tony Lai to learn about and discuss openCOP, a co-created virtual conference, assembling activists, legal hackers, organizations & communities during the final days of COP26, and the Forum for Public and Common Goods @ Pre-COP 2021. Which aspects of computational law are most relevant to COP26? How can computational law help to achieve the goals and unleash the vision of openCOP? We’ll tackle these questions and more on this episode of IdeaFlow!


  • Guest: Tony Lai, CodeX Stanford & Forum for Earth

  • Host: Dazza Greenwood,, Executive Director

  • Discussant: Bryan Wilson, MIT Computational Law Report, Editor in Chief

  • Date: November 18th, 12 pm - 1 pm ET (special time due to Thanksgiving)


Climate change and biodiversity loss are existential risks to our ecosystems and achievement of all the SDGs – but industry and government are too slow to act and proposed actions are not inclusive and transparent enough. The issues and impacts we face are far-reaching and diverse – and so are the opportunities.

In this episode, we will reflect on how these gatherings envision computational law as infrastructure for complex adaptive systems that can work to create a more ecological approach to the design of socio-economic contexts for our planetary and bio-regional co-existence.

Our first gathering held alongside Pre-COP in Milan, and online, brought perspectives from academics and project developers, on climate change, biodiversity loss, and the potential role of new technologies and governance frameworks in aligning public administration and social activation around decentralized local and global solutions. In particular, it covered:

  1. Collective Imagining towards New Economic Models of Value

  2. The Rights of Nature

  3. Green New Deals: Climate Data Policy, Deep ESG Finance, and Interoperability for Polycentric Governance,

  4. Citizen Sovereignty, Algorithmic Transparency, and Data Dignity for Equitable Planetary Governance, and

  5. Blockchain Standards and Frameworks for Impact,

Our second gathering held alongside COP in Glasgow, and online via a uniquely social events platform (, allowed for a more decentralized approach to gathering and serendipitous connection. OpenCOP was the first iteration in what we hope will be a series of ongoing collective envisioning spaces that will bridge the work of legal hackers and project developers in ecosystems of blockchain protocols and NFT-standards, to the work of emerging intergenerational solidarity of earth stewards from every discipline and bio-region around the world - artists, activists, NGOs, policy-makers, legal, tech, and financial vocateurs, scientists, and storytellers. Our invitation: Immerse in ideas, step into projects, listen to talks, engage in conversation, ask questions, make connections… for the earth and the next seven generations of humankind.

We’ll talk about the ways computational law is especially relevant to this initiative, including (Data Sovereignty and Data Rights Interoperability Protocols).

About Tony Lai

Tony tunes into resonances of collective potential in small groups, and grows projects and communities around agency, belonging, and purpose. With an academic hat, he is a Fellow at CodeX, the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics, organizes the CodeX Blockchain Group, and is a founding Editor of the Stanford Journal on Blockchain Law and Policy, and of the MIT Computational Law Report. Earlier this year, he was a Visiting Professor at the University of Hawaii Law School, teaching a course on Legal Engineering for the Biosphere.

Tony shares the idea that we could nurture DAOs better as Decentralized Autonomous Organisms, more ecological, less institutional, weaving us, by choice into nurturing environments where we find permission to grow; that NFTs represent a new way of seeing, a method for institutional recognition, and also a way of nurturing and recognizing the intimacy between ourselves and the beings and happenings we hold meaningful; and that intimacy to nature will be foundational to the change our world needs to feel and act on for humanity to survive and thrive.

He’s working through various collectives to build evolving and freely usable technical and legal templates, tools, and infrastructure to enable any artist to collaborate with a nature-serving project, to help institutions recognize the value of nature, and to support relationships, activism, and an extitutional flow of resources and awareness into a commons of value for these projects.

With a creative/founder hat, Tony co-founded a legal-tech venture,, helped build a startup accelerator, StartX, and jammed at the Stanford on reinventing museum experiences as a way to put his art law studies into practice. Before his LL.M. at Stanford, he clocked 10,000 hours’ as a tech, data, and IP lawyer, and read history at Oxford, thinking mostly about belief systems and rituals. Born in England, and now growing rhizomes in California, France, Singapore, and New Zealand, Tony nomads through The Embassy Network, jamming and experimenting with commoning in autonomous communities, spaces, and projects, with his violin in tow.

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