Posted on Categories artificial intelligence, blockchain

European vision of the data-based economy

Key strategic documents from the European Commission on data and AI—the European data strategy and Excellence and trust in artificial intelligence—were recently released for public consultation. They present a European vision for a new model of the economy.

According to these documents, the new model of the economy is to be founded on principles vital for European values, particularly human dignity and trust. This aspect should be stressed, as the European Union clearly is becoming the global leader in thinking about new technologies in light of humanistic values. This is a unique approach, but also entails several dilemmas. In adopting this approach, the EU risks eroding its competitive advantages, at least in the short-term perspective. Most likely, AI technologies will develop faster in places where their growth is not restrained by ethical doubts. The Commission thus proposes an ambitious but also risky approach.

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Posted on Categories blockchain

A single shareholder register maintained by multiple entities?

Due to provisions implementing the simple stock company into Polish law, and provisions on “dematerialisation of private joint-stock companies”, the Commercial Companies Code contains cryptic wording on the option of maintaining a shareholder register for these two types of companies, “in electronic form, as a dispersed and decentralised database”.

We have addressed the question of this option repeatedly because it is potentially an opening for “tokenisation” of shares. This means that in a simple stock company or joint-stock company, shares can be issued as blockchain tokens. Simple rewording of two identical provisions in the Commercial Companies Code could therefore connect the world of decentralised registers and shareholdings, the latter being a concept recognised in law, in both of these types of joint-stock companies.

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Posted on Categories blockchain, changes in law

Can PSA shares be tokenised?

On 1 March 2020, the regulations on the simple stock company (PSA) will come into force. They will make it possible to keep a register of shareholders of such companies using blockchain technology. For some, this is a minor technical regulation, while for others it is a truly revolutionary breakthrough in the legal system, enabling tokenisation of shares in Polish companies. How will it really be?

In the summer of 2018, we had the opportunity to participate in the analysis of the draft PSA regulations by the Coalition for Polish Innovation. The provision on the possibility of maintaining a PSA’s register of shareholders using a dispersed and decentralised database was unexpectedly included in the draft and immediately met with considerable interest. It was a complete novelty in the Polish legal system. The surprise was all the greater as, at the same time, we observed the first activities of regulators aimed at limiting uncontrolled development of blockchain technology.

The provision allowing a register of PSA shareholders to be maintained on blockchain is not as revolutionary as it seems. We are a long way from full tokenisation and decentralisation of PSAs. This is determined by other PSA provisions showing much more attachment to traditional legal institutions. Nevertheless, this provision opens up a lot of new possibilities and creates space for interesting legal experimentation with blockchain technology. It is worth taking advantage of this opportunity to create solutions that in the future will encourage regulators and lawmakers to open up the legal system more courageously to the technology of decentralised registers.

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Posted on Categories blockchain, fintech

The legal status of tokens on blockchain: A few thoughts on new findings by UKNF

At the end of September 2019, Rahim Blak published the response issued to him by the Office of the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (UKNF) to questions concerning the possible application of financial regulations to his planned and realised activity involving raising capital through distribution on the market of personal tokens. Although the response was issued in a specific case submitted to the Innovation Hub, given the lack of a public general position of KNF on the legal status of tokens, the document is also relevant to the broader market.

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Posted on Categories blockchain, changes in law

Clear path for trusted technologies in Liechtenstein

The Principality of Liechtenstein will become one of the first countries with its own act on trusted technologies, approved by the Liechtenstein parliament at the first reading on 6 June 2019.

As reported by local newspapers Volksblatt and Liechtensteiner Vaterland, the parliament of this small Alpine state approved a new act on trusted technologies, and Prime Minister Adrian Hasler and his team thus achieved their aim. For nearly two years the government of Liechtenstein has been working on ensuring that the country becomes a global pioneer in blockchain technologies.

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Posted on Categories blockchain

“On-chain” and “off-chain” arbitration: Using smart contracts to amicably resolve disputes

Recently counsel, arbitrators and potential parties to proceedings have been examining with interest attempts to streamline arbitration using blockchain technology. We mentioned this in our 2018 report for Rzeczpospolita (in Polish), but in the industry so much is happening around “blockchain arbitration” that the issue deserves more attention.

Currently there are at least ten projects around the world, at various phases of realisation, using blockchain to automate alternative dispute resolution at least to some degree. There isn’t room here to describe them all in detail, but Kleros, CodeLegit (discussed also in our earlier publication), Juris and Oath seem particularly noteworthy. We examined what problems they may entail from a legal perspective. All of the comments below are based on publicly accessible materials (such as project websites and whitepapers), but are limited as these projects have not yet been thoroughly tested by end users (tests of beta versions are underway for some of them).

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