Posted on Categories blockchain

First draft legislation regulating initial coin offerings

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).

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Posted on Categories blockchain

Is it time for a smart contracts codification commission?

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.

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Posted on Categories blockchain, privacy/personal data protection

Who is the data controller in a blockchain?

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.

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Posted on Categories blockchain

Legal aspects of Airdrops

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.

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Posted on Categories blockchain

Legal implications of various consensus mechanisms in public blockchains

Each legal analysis requires a prior determination of the underlying facts. The more precise the factual description of the subject to be analysed, the better the likelihood that the legal conclusions reached will be comprehensive and correct. This is one of the reasons why lawyers’ work in the field of new technologies is challenging and fascinating. Within the rapidly changing realities of new technologies, a lawyer’s ability to identify and understand the most legally relevant facts is a critically important skill. Of course, this skill must be supplemented with the knowledge that the facts are subject to dynamic changes.

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Posted on Categories fintech

Cryptocurrencies and sanctions

New applications for blockchain, such as decentralised exchanges and unique tokens, bring new legal challenges. But sometimes even well-known uses of this technology present interesting legal issues never raised before or for some reason overlooked in the legal debate.

Undoubtedly cryptocurrencies and other crypto assets will not remain outside the legal system for long. Although they cannot be directly tied to many existing regulatory regimes, as we discussed in 2014 in our virtual currencies report, this does not mean that activity involving crypto assets will never be regulated. This is evident from the example of blockchain tokens, which in certain situations may be regarded as financial instruments.

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