The first Arbitration Court for Blockchain matters in Europe was created in Poland by the Polish Blockchain and New Technology Chamber of Commerce.
The blockchain is changing the world as we watch. As a technology, a transaction platform, it was recognised by many industries, including the finance, energy and trade and it keeps developing. As a consequence, more and more processes can take place without the participation of public trust institutions, directly between the parties of transactions and the world is closer than ever to becoming a cashless community.
As blockchain develops, transactions made with the use of the technology, with digital currencies or smart-contacts, are slipping between the fingers of current legislation. The idea is so new, that few countries in the world, such as malta or the USA, have made attempts to create any legal frameworks to govern it.
In August 2018, in response to this growing need, the Polish Blockchain and New Technology Chamber of Commerce was initiated in order to represent the interest of the entire blockchain and new technology industry in Poland. On November 8, 2018, it initiated the Arbitration Court for Blockchain matters. It is the first such organization in Europe and the second one (after the first one in Japan) in the world.
Today, the Chamber gathers more than 150 members – our main goal is to influence legislation in Poland, particularly in the field of taxation. Education, cooperation with educational institutions and the government, creating regulations and good practices, supporting the economic development of Poland, settlement of disputes with public authorities, these are just some of the fields in which we are engaged – says Robert Wojciechowski, Chairman of the Board of the Chamber. The list of arbiters of the arbitration court includes not only lawyers experienced in the field of the blockchain but also individuals who professionally deal in trading with the use of new technologies. Chairman of the Arbitration Court will be appointed on December 10, 2018, during a meeting of the Management Board of the Chamber.
Arbitration courts have been one of the most popular forms of settling commercial disputes for many years, and in many cases, it is an alternative for public courts. It is worth mentioning the qualities of arbitration proceedings: they are voluntary (requires a provision within the contract between the parties stating that any disputes shall be settled by an arbitration court), deformalized (in comparison to any proceedings before a public court) and usually works much quicker (there is no second instance). The parties may select any arbitration court according to their own needs (there are thousands of them worldwide). As to the settlement – upon request of the parties and if the regulations of the given institutions provide such solution – the arbitration court may act based on the laws of any jurisdiction on which the parties agree, and in fact it doesn’t have to relate to any particular laws (in such case it makes decisions based on the equity principle). Arbitration courts act on the basis of regulations which they draw up for themselves, but what’s important; any rulings made by arbiters, after they have been recognised by national courts or a declaration of enforceability, have the same legal power as any rulings of public courts (if they can be enforced they become enforcement orders, on which the entitled party may base execution). Those rulings are recognised by public courts nearly worldwide.
The role of the Arbitration Court for Blockchain matters is most of all to ensure a way of settling disputes which will be efficient, quick and suitable to the requirements of the industry. Flexibility and focus on the professional approach to the dispute will be the identification of the new court. It is also undoubtedly another form of promotion for the Chamber itself, as the cost of any arbitration proceedings for entities being members of the Chamber will be lower.