GTG Advocates’ Partner Dr Ian Gauci recently participated in the seminar entitled ‘My Blockchain – a FinanceMalta series’. The event was aimed at providing a deeper insight into the effects of Blockchain and how this disruptive technology will impact the financial services industry and other business sectors in the not-so-distant future.
Dr Gauci spoke about the Regulatory and Legal Issues related to Blockchain Technology and stressed that regulators face numerous challenges in approaching the Blockchain. The terminology around the whole phenomenon of Blockchain technology is still heavily in flux and it can be difficult to form a clear picture of it and of the phenomenon that surrounds it. He also cautioned the audience that different terminology can boil down to interpretive problems which can be a fork in the road for Blockchain.
He analysed the way Blockchain works as well as the different types of Blockchain. He also focused on whether a Blockchain can be absolutely immutable or if it is difficult to mutate, and also delved into trust boundaries, the use of Oracles and smart contracts. While discussing smart contracts he highlighted issues in treating such contracts and the software code as the Law, and stressed that a more realistic interpretation of smart contracts would position them within the wider legal system.
Furthermore, Dr Gauci discussed the Lex Disturbia and laws which may be affected by Blockchain, including but not limited to Competition Law, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), Privacy and Data Protection and also Lawful Interception.
As a closing topic, Dr Gauci discussed decentralisation and Lex Cryptographia, where one of the key consequences of the Blockchain could be a rapid expansion of what Lawrence Lessig referred to as “architecture” and a redefinition of how laws and regulations are designed, implemented, and enforced where there is not anymore an absolute hierarchical application for laws and regulation, but a more centric and circular one catering for a decentralised digital economy.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to impart advice and readers are asked to seek verification of statements made before acting on them.