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.
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.
We have been writing about the legal issues surrounding tokens and ICOs/token sales for quite some time now. However, there’s still a lack of clarity regarding many legal and tax issues regarding the sale and exchange of tokens. The subject is not directly regulated by either EU or Polish laws. While the European Securities and Markets Authority and numerous national regulators (including the Polish Financial Supervision Authority) have issued statements on the subject, numerous issues remain unresolved creating uncertainty for blockchain entrepreneurs and their lawyers.