Primavera De Filippi

Faculty Associate, Berkman-Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School
Permanent researcher at the National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS)

An authority on Blockchain and the legal challenges and opportunities of decentralised online technologies

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Primavera De Filippi is an internationally recognised authority on the legal challenges and opportunities of decentralised online technologies, including peer-to-peer networks like the now-defunct Napster, mesh networking technologies, and especially, on blockchains like Bitcoin. She specialises in:

  • the legal frameworks in which these platforms operate,
  • how they can be used to support large-scale decentralised collaboration and participatory decision-making,
  • how to regulate decentralised autonomous organisations that blockchains make through “governance-by-design”, and
  • how commons-based peer-production communities can create value.

Blockchains. Blockchains enable completely different organisational structures than we know today. Just as Bitcoin eliminates the banks who act as intermediaries for financial transactions, so blockchains can eliminate intermediaries in a wide range of other human relationships and activities. Primavera De Filippi is a genius on explaining this important and exciting new technology. But blockchains require trust — trust is what the intermediaries (used to) provide.

“Backfeed” — a way to provide trust. Primavera’s mission is to create distributed governance systems that can be deployed as a kind of “operating system” that runs on the blockchain conceived as a kind of distributed computer. She calls the system Backfeed.

Decentralized Autonomous Organisations. These are the future that blockchains will create, organisations that will become independent of their creators. And she’s created one as a demonstration — the Plantoid, which is to a plant what an android is to a human. It’s reproductive process is an astounding new business model that is completely independent of copyright and illustrates the mostly unexplored business potential of these technologies.


  • Permanent researcher at the National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris
  • Faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, where she studies the legal aspects of these technologies
  • Researcher commons-based peer-production for the European Commission (
  • Co-founder of the International Communia Association for the promotion and preservation of the digital public domain
  • Legal expert for the Creative Commons France affiliate group
  • Member of the Global Agenda Council on the Future of Software & IT Services at the World Economic Forum
  • Associate Editor of the Digital Finance Journal, Springer

She is fluent in Italian, French and English


Blockchain and the Law

Primavera De Filippi

After over twenty years of scientific research, there have been dramatic advances in the fields of cryptography and decentralized organizations. The result is a profound new technology — known as the blockchain — that has the potential to fundamentally shift the way in which the world operates. Many compare the emergence of the blockchain to another revolutionary technology, the Internet, and anticipate a corresponding shift in communications, business, and individual freedoms. Blockchain and the Law examines the legal challenges faced, and raised by decentralized blockchain-based applications, along with the emergence of a new form of regulation, refered to as Lex Cryptographia or Cryptolaw — a set of self-enforced rules based on cryptographic algorithms and decentralized network architectures.

Harvard University Press (2017)

Copyright Law in the Digital Environment

Private Ordering and the regulation of digital works

Primavera De Filippi

The book begins with an analysis of copyright law as it applies to the physical and digital world. The challenges that the law has to face in the digital environment are specifically addressed by illustrating how the self-regulating features of the copyright regime have been jeopardized with the advent of Internet and digital technologies. The book subsequently analyses the role of private ordering in the regulation of information and presents the various mechanisms of self-help that have been developed so far to address the challenges of the digital world. The use of end-user licensing agreements and technological measures of protection (DRM) designed to restrict the consumption of digital works beyond the scope of the copyright regime is contrasted against the use of Open Content licenses (e.g. Creative Commons) intended to support a greater dissemination and broader availability of works, amidst other goals. The book finally investigates the corresponding advantages and drawbacks of these two divergent approaches and concludes by addressing the justifications for governmental intervention in regulating or limiting the operations of private ordering.

LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing (14 Mar. 2012)


Primavera tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

Blockchain Technologies

Digital Innovation

Sharing Economy

Future of Work


From Competition to Cooperation | TEDxCambridge

Planetoid: the Advent of Self-Souvereign Lifeforms

Blockchain Technology and the Future of Work | Lift Conference

Decentralized blockchain technologies | OuiShare Fest 2015

Ethereum: Freenet or Skynet? | The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society