At the end of September the French personal data state processing regulator, the Commission Nationale Informatique & Liberté (CNIL), published a preliminary analysis of the issue of what kind of systems suitable for blockchain might apply to personal data processing. The CNIL has also been looking at the issues that are fundamental from the point of view of the GDPR, for example who the controllers and processors are on a blockchain. The CNIL has proposed a number of specific solutions but realises that it does not have extensive knowledge of this technology. It has said that it is open to proposals from experts and says they are welcome to propose their own solutions.
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.
Smart contracts eloquently capture the dilemma facing traditional legal systems, whose inefficiency has reached dimensions threatening systemic incoherence and failure to achieve the purposes the law is intended to serve. The system needs urgent reform. But the alternative of replacing the law as we know it with automation and algorithms threatens the loss of the internal profundity of the law and its openness to nuances. This dilemma will be more and more apparent in the years to come. In this context, it is essential to achieve a clear understanding of the hopes and threats integral to smart contracts.
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 Polish government is currently working on a completely new tax regime applicable to income from trading in cryptocurrencies (virtual currencies) for personal income tax and corporate income tax purposes. For PIT purposes, this income is to be taxed as income from cash capital at the rate of 19% regardless of whether the turnover is of a private nature or made in the course of business activity. For CIT purposes, the income from trading in cryptocurrencies will be classified as capital gains. These new rules would apply from 1 January 2019.