6th – 15th May 2020
Post-Conflict Environments as Regulatory Sandboxes
Stream: BLOCKCHAIN, SMART CONTRACTS AND TECHNOLOGY REGULATION
Description: As the idea of off-shore banking and companies became less attractive the unregulated environment of post-conflict and especially frozen conflicts provides an alternative. Apart from the unlimited access to do business in an unregulated market also modern and innovative approaches appear. The lack of rule of law makes it impossible for foreign investors to invest and have a guaranteed and previously precisely calculated profit, with an official or unofficial guarantee by the government that the business laws and environment is not going to change. Therefore the huge legal loop hole and a demand to invest and make some kind of additional profit is very big on all sides, investors and local governments as well. Accordingly various kinds of sandboxes can appear in post-conflict countries all depending on the needs of the business a counter partner political system and its financial elites deem necessary. With concluding the already present FinTech opportunities in the post-conflict environments we will continue with the ones which are very complex and also comprehensive with the new innovations of today, such as crypto-currencies. The huge success and wide variety of payment possibilities with currencies such as Bitcoin and its present demand on the global market put an additional burden on its financial control and sources it comes from or ends up. As financial markets and countries apart from some notable examples including Switzerland have taken a long way to put under control the streams of local finances, it was a real relief for the actors in the grey zone to be able to pay in crypto currencies. Case studies such as Cyprus will be used as a positive example of how it developed from an off-shore destination to an EU member state. Ultimately we plan to research the future role of the UK financial market after it, leaves/stays, the EU and starts implementing it long awaited new economic and financial changes which would benefit banks, investors and ultimately citizens as final consumers.
Distributing authority – state sovereignty in the age of blockchain
Stream: BLOCKCHAIN, SMART CONTRACTS AND TECHNOLOGY REGULATION
Description: According to the classical understanding of the state sovereignty, a state, as an independent political entity, is sovereign when it has full and sole control over its territory . This term can be also defined using the concept of authority. Sovereign state should therefore have the sole authority within a particular territory (internally), as well as demonstrate actual independence of outside authority (externally) . Those aspects of control and authority will further on manifest itself in the form of, among others, law making and law enforcing . Blockchain technology challenges the concept of state sovereignty thus seen in various dimensions. The most salient feature of this technology is its ability to distribute control and authority over data, transactions and networks. Having potential to improve transactional processes between citizens by eliminating middlemen, render some of the traditional legal institutions redundant or even in the future, abolish governments completely or establish competing governments blockchain carries with itself both great promises and chilling risks . In the new reality of dynamically developing and gaining new use cases blockchain technology, sovereign states respond differently to those promises and risks. While some of them adopt passive approach or “wait and see” one, other try to apply existing legal framework or just issue guidelines and warnings. Other instruments that are being used include regulatory sandboxes, attempts to cooperate internationally or, finally, introduce new technology-specific laws. Furthermore, it is noticeable that some governments around the world situate themselves as outsiders in relation to the technology (regulating and/or funding its development), and some try to embrace it as early adopters . All of the abovementioned approaches to blockchain are relevant for and can have impact on the sovereign status of countries interacting with that technology. The aim of this paper is to present current and foreseeable problems related to the state sovereignty arising from the emergence, development and ever-wider use of blockchain technology. By using a critical analysis of available sources, in particular literature and selected governmental reports, statements, advice and strategic polices, the article will map the current situation and debates in this regard. The result of the analysis will be a summary and description of challenges for the sovereignty of states posed by blockchain technology.
‘Interoperability’ and beyond: Mapping the needs from a regulatory perspective
Stream: RIGHTS AND REGULATION
Description: Interoperability is crucial for running ICT networks and services, serving as a central thread for meeting the ICT-inclusive needs of the society. It is remarkable that all the relevant disciplines i.e. intellectual property legislation, competition law and electronic communications regulatory framework (ECRF) in the EU law have embraced interoperability-based measures, within their respective domains e.g. based on various concerns like protecting competition or consumers. While the ICT-based transformation, which is sometimes echoed in the fourth industrial revolution or Web 4.0 paradigm, has unraveled new challenges e.g. Artificial Intelligence (AI), cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), these have yet to be resolved from a broader interoperability-based perspective. From this point of view, whether or to what extent interoperability needs to be regulated from a holistic perspective poses a compelling question for the policy makers. Given this fact, this study aims to examine the current EU legal framework from a multidisciplinary legal viewpoint to search out the gaps regarding interoperability in view of the current and emerging ICTs, particularly cloud computing and the IoT. Doctrinal analysis of the EU law has denoted a disaggregated body of rules for ‘interoperability’, along with partial and limited solutions against the relevant concerns e.g. lock-in, switching problems, competition constraints. Notwithstanding, based on examination of the cloud and IoT architectures, it is clearly seen that ICT interoperability cuts across the interdependent layers that constitute the cloud and IoT architectures. Not only the internal elements i.e. ‘infrastructure’, ‘platform’ and ‘application’ layers, but also the external elements i.e. content layer examined in the study underpin the interdependencies. Against these findings, this study concludes that a model of a layered design is able to respond the interdependent layers, all-encompassing the regulatory concerns based on the interoperability. It is considered the bottom-up, ex ante and holistic approach proposed under the ‘layered regulatory model’ could deter the gatekeeping activities, including the AI-driven manipulations that affect the consumers’ behaviours and choices. The model-based normative framework suggested here could then be translated into positive rules as demonstrated at the end of this study. As a key proposal, it is suggested that the layered regulatory model replace the core principles of the ECRF with a set of principles i.e. transparency, fairness, accountability and corresponding remedies.