LegalThings upcoming LegalFlings app is designed to allow couples or groups to enter into binding agreements regarding sexual activities.
Blockchain technology could soon be used for something a bit sexier than keeping track of bitcoin transactions or the movement of goods within corporate supply chains.
Dutch startup LegalThings announced Wednesday it plans to release an app designed to allow people to more easily give explicit and formal consent to sex. Through an easy-to-use interface, couples or groups will be able to use the app, dubbed LegalFling, to enter into binding contracts that are recorded on a blockchain, the digital ledger technology that’s designed to save permanent records of transactions in multiple places.
The app is meant to be a “fun” solution for navigating the often ambiguous nuances of sexual consent, said Arnold Daniels, LegalFling’s creator and the co-founder of LegalThings’ co-founder in an email to Business Insider. But Daniels acknowledged it may need more work.
“We want to start a dialogue and get input from those with more expertise on this subject,” Daniels said in an email to Business Insider. “This is a delicate subject that we’d like to get right.”
Unfortunately for Daniels and LegalFling, instead of sparking a dialogue the app is instead drawing sharp criticism, at least from some quarters.
LegalFling represents a “deeply flawed” effort and is a far cry from how sexual consent should actually work, Gizmodo reporter Melanie Ehrenkranz wrote in a piece on her site.
“A blanketed [sic] contract ahead of engaging in sexual contact signals that consent is simply a one-time checklist,” Ehrenkranz wrote. “Consent, however, is something that occurs continually throughout a sexual encounter.”
Ironically, LegalThings, according to its website, decided to develop LegalFling specifically in response to the #MeToo movement that swept across social media last year, in which women made public their stories of being sexually harassed, abused, and raped. That movement has brought to the forefront questions of consent with regards to sexual behavior. LegalThings was hoping to address such questions with LegalFling, which it plans to release in the next few weeks, by providing a way for users to clearly communicate their intentions.