This will not be another article about cryptocurrencies. Instead, I want to focus on a dangerous precedent we may have overlooked in the broader debate over cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency exchanges and other enterprises operating on the cryptocurrency market have been targeted by the highly controversial practice of banks shutting down their accounts. This practice displays the universal threats arising along with the increasing digitalisation of commerce.
The Global Legal Hackathon last weekend (23–25 February 2018) offered an excellent opportunity to grasp the potential that can be released from cooperation between lawyers and IT specialists. Legal Tech solutions are more than just technological novelties. They are solutions that can protect our legal system against a serious crisis.
The Lex Mundi working group for blockchain has prepared a Global Token Sales Guide summarising the different regulatory regimes for ICOs (initial coin offerings) in key jurisdictions around the world. Wardyński & Partners authored the section on Poland.
Several recent meetings and discussions about the blockchain have made me realise the growing antagonism that exists between the law and the blockchain. This conflict is largely the result of misunderstandings, which need prompt clarification.
Many people assume that the approach for regulating the blockchain should be similar to that for many other new technologies. First, it has to be well understood, before adapting traditional regulations to it. This assumption will not work with the blockchain. A whole new approach is required. It is important to realise this, because otherwise it will lead to a number of misunderstandings.
Any new technology that gains universal application changes the existing world. The reconfiguration occurs imperceptibly but thoroughly. But in this new reality, how should the rule of law, values essential to the civil society and human rights be protected?
A new economic reality functioning in cyberspace has arisen before our very eyes. Human activity, both positive and negative, is moving to the virtual arena that functions above and beyond state borders. Consequently we must develop the skill to adapt familiar legal institutions to this new reality.
The interdisciplinary New Technologies practice has functioned at our law firm for several years. The lawyers on the team share a passion for examining technical issues and their influence on the possibility of effectively protecting the rights of citizens and the civil society—and a belief that lawyers must raise their awareness of new technologies.