For many people today, a life lived offline can hardly be imagined, but the internet still has many limitations. Access to information and easy communications have become the standard and basis for functioning of the society and the economy—and, it follows, a subject of interest to the law. Nonetheless, we more and more often sense the shortcomings of the current version of the digital world. These include digital exchange of value and universal electronic identification.
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.
Conversation with Monika A. Górska and Lena Marcinoska of the Intellectual Property Practice at Wardyński & Partners about whether the blockchain may be regarded as a new area of use.
Newtech.law: Blockchain based solutions are developing rapidly in various sectors of the economy. Have they also entered the creative sectors?
Monika A. Górska: Definitely. DLT technology may be used successfully to record intellectual property rights and to register transactions involving creative work. Moreover, most computer programs are written today with a blockchain project capability.
Newtech.law: Does the arrival of blockchain-based solutions give rise to any problems with copyright agreements?
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.
The rapid growth of decentralised exchanges poses new challenges for market regulators and raises new legal questions.
One of the key attributes of blockchains is the ability to achieving a consensus in distributed networks. This allows the Bitcoin network transaction record to be maintained by thousands of servers across the world, without any centralised coordination. It also makes it possible for complex smart contract transactions (such as ones on the Ethereum platform) to be entered into and executed directly by network users.
In the beginning, blockchain technology’s sole use was for Bitcoin. This first truly decentralised digital currency launched an accelerating stream of innovations. For several years now, it has been leading the way for alternative means of payment (the summary of our 2014 crypto-currencies report is available here), through to smart contracts and DAO (decentralised autonomous organisation – our report on this is available here), up to, perhaps, a revolution in how the internet operates.