Why Blockchain Firms Shouldn't Ignore New EU Cybersecurity Laws

Why Blockchain Firms Shouldn't Ignore New EU Cybersecurity Laws

Jacek Czarnecki is an attorney at Warsaw-based law firm Wardynski & Partners, where he specializes in areas including FinTech, digital currencies and blockchain. In this opinion piece, Czarnecki discusses European regulatory developments beyond blockchain, arguing that some laws under review outside the industry’s oversight could prove impactful to its practices. We know that ‘virtual currencies’ (the term to be hardwired into European Union law) will be covered by new anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations. But, while the details on this industry-specific regulation will follow shortly, there are also other pieces of the EU legislation that deserve attention in the meantime. Going forward, it is quite clear that...

Arizona’s Proposed Blockchain Gun Tracking Ban Pushes Ahead

An effort by Arizona lawmakers to prohibit the tracking of guns using blockchain technology has now progressed to the Senate. As CoinDesk reported earlier this month, a proposed new bill would prevent the use distributed ledgers in firearm tracking, with the exception of law-enforcement applications. The concept, put forward by technologists in the blockchain space, is that such a system could create an immutable history of transactions that records every time a gun is fired, for example. The proposed bill, HB 2216, has now cleared the Arizona House of Representatives by a 34-25 vote, with one no-vote and no abstentions, and has since moved to the Senate, where it awaits further consideration. While the Senate is a separate legislative entity, its makeup – with a...

To Catch a Bitcoin Ransomer: How the FBI Chases Crime on the Blockchain

To Catch a Bitcoin Ransomer: How the FBI Chases Crime on the Blockchain

FBI special agent Joseph Battaglia sits at a desk between a New York police detective and an employee of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Charged with helping oversee investigations at the New York field office of the FBI’s cyber division, Battaglia and his colleagues have developed methods for identifying a wide range of online criminal activities, ranging from the use of child porn to espionage. But during a recent keynote address at Fordham University’s law school in New York City, Battaglia peeled back the curtain of a different kind of investigation. Addressing a group of about 150 law students and others attending the inaugural blockchain initiative hosted by IBM and the university, Battaglia gave a step-by-step account of how he identifies the...

Washington Lawmakers Are Trying to Keep Bitcoin Out of Pot Shops

Washington Lawmakers Are Trying to Keep Bitcoin Out of Pot Shops

A new bill filed in the Washington State Senate is seeking to prohibit local marijuana businesses from using bitcoin. Sponsored by Senators Steve Conway and Ann Rivers, SB 5264 seeks to amend some of the state’s rules governing the sale and distribution of marijuana products. The move comes more than four years after Washington voters passed a ballot measure legalizing marijuana in November 2012. Under the proposed rule, businesses that work in the local marijuana industry would not be allowed to either pay for goods with digital currency or accept those kinds of payments from customers. The bill also includes a definition of “virtual currency” that explicitly targets “digital representation[s] of value used as a medium of exchange, a unit of...

The Two Topics in Law and Blockchain

The Two Topics in Law and Blockchain

Josh Stark is a lawyer and head of operations and legal at Ledger Labs, a blockchain consultancy based in Toronto. In this CoinDesk Op-Ed, Stark argues that the field of “law and blockchain” encompasses two distinct topics: the application of law to the technology, and separately, the potential for that technology to transform legal systems and services. It’s rare for any issue in the blockchain industry to escape conversation about legal implications. This past summer, The DAO hack prompted discussion of the legal responsibilities of blockchain developers, and the differences between code and law. The popularity of token crowd-sales has led many to wonder about the application of securities laws to blockchain technology. Virtually every...