The discussion about the legal status of tokens and, in particular, whether and when a token is a security or other financial instrument, is still gaining momentum. There are more and more proposals around this discussion that resolve this issue at the outset, recognising that tokens are intended to become securities. These are so-called security tokens, and the issues are sometimes called security token offerings (STOs).
Regulatory sandboxes usually focus on financial regulations. However, these are not the only obstacle holding back innovative fintech start-ups. More extensive sandbox solutions that also cover data protection issues could make Poland a pioneer on the attractive global market supporting fintech.
The legal status of cryptocurrency is particularly important not only for the so-called crypto space, but also for the future of development of blockchain technology. Recent EU legislative proposals classifing “virtual currencies” as financial instruments might significantly reduce blockchain activity in Europe.
Anti-money laundering (AML) is the first area of Polish law where the parliament has adopted regulations directly related to cryptocurrencies and some other types of crypto-assets. We have devoted a lot of articles to this issue on the blog.
The direction of changes in the Polish law concerning AML results from the development of a global approach to this issue. Mostly this is due to the work of the Financial Action Task Force. FATF is an intergovernmental organisation authorised to create and assist in the implementation and monitoring of anti-money laundering standards, financing of terrorism and financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The EU and Polish legislative work on revision of the AML regulations is based on the models presented in FATF publications from 2014 and 2015.
It should come as no surprise to attentive readers of this blog that the European Union may take up the regulation of ICOs as a method of obtaining funds through the public distribution of digital tokens (or coins).
So far, we have only been confronted with market speculation on this issue, and the Commission itself has not signalled a willingness to take any legislative steps in the imminent future (see e.g. FinTech action plan published in March 2018).
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.