Smart contracts eloquently capture the dilemma facing traditional legal systems, whose inefficiency has reached dimensions threatening systemic incoherence and failure to achieve the purposes the law is intended to serve. The system needs urgent reform. But the alternative of replacing the law as we know it with automation and algorithms threatens the loss of the internal profundity of the law and its openness to nuances. This dilemma will be more and more apparent in the years to come. In this context, it is essential to achieve a clear understanding of the hopes and threats integral to smart contracts.
The Polish government is currently working on a completely new tax regime applicable to income from trading in cryptocurrencies (virtual currencies) for personal income tax and corporate income tax purposes. For PIT purposes, this income is to be taxed as income from cash capital at the rate of 19% regardless of whether the turnover is of a private nature or made in the course of business activity. For CIT purposes, the income from trading in cryptocurrencies will be classified as capital gains. These new rules would apply from 1 January 2019.
The latest annual report from The Law Commission (an independent body responsible for reviewing existing laws and proposing legal reforms in England and Wales) included the announcement of a new effort to review the way in which the current English legal framework applies to smart contracts.
In the latest Rzeczpospolita Report on the legal aspects of blockchain and its applications, I briefly discussed the challenges related to applying data protection regulations in this context. It is a complicated issue as it appears that blockchain can potentially challenge the basic assumptions and regulatory approaches provided by the GDPR.
This article discusses further an aspect of Agnieszka Kraińska’s article on legal personality and artificial intelligence. I take a slightly perspective of the subject. Even today new categories of legal entity are needed, unrelated to AI systems.
A proposal presented in May by the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology for amendments to the Commercial Companies Code provides for a new type of capital company – Prosta Spółka Akcyjna (PSA). This legislative proposal has been criticised for an excessive amount of regulation and complexity of the provisions, and also has been welcomed for achieving the principal goal of the initiative, which is making the legal environment suitable for start-ups. This article discusses the section of the amendment that deals directly with new technologies.