07.06.2021 - 11:00
On 7 June at 11:00 Anne Veerpalu will defend her doctoral thesis “Regulatory challenges to the use of distributed ledger technology: Analysis of the compliance of existing regulation with the principles of technology neutrality and functional equivalence”.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Martin Ebers (University of Tartu)
Dr. Anna-Maria Osula (TalTech)
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Alexander Horst Norta (TalTech)
Prof. Dr. Florian Möslein, LL.M (Philipps-University Marburg)
This dissertation focuses on the treatment of distributed ledger technology (DLT) by existing regulation in Estonia and the EU on the basis of specific use cases. DLT represents “general-purpose technology” with the abundance of possible applications including its most well known examples: blockchain and Bitcoin. As the existing regulatory frameworks in most jurisdictions were built for centralized infrastructures and not for distributed ones, such as DLT, the provisions in existing regulation inhibit the use of DLT due to apparent or non-apparent biases. The problem itself is nothing new as the development of the digital world in comparison to the physical world led to the same problem – the application of the offline rules to the online domain proved to be unfit. Therefore, the problem discussed in the dissertation is not specific to DLT, but linked to the uptake of any new technology. To resolve the inhibition, the principle of technology neutrality and its sub-principle of functional equivalence are utilized to assess the existing regulation applicable in the specific DLT use cases for bias: (i) treatment of bitcoin and bitcoin exchange-service providers under Estonian law; (ii) treatment of DLT-based shareholder ledger under Estonian law; (iii) treatment of the electronic signature on DLT-based hybrid smart contract agreements under EU law. The principles serve as benchmarks for identification of biases and aim to prohibit regulators from favouring some technologies and discriminating against others. The use case analyses show that the existing regulation is not technology-neutral as regulation prefers centralized solutions and effects equivalence is not granted to functionally equivalent DLT-based solutions. Against this background, the dissertation discusses the objectives for these biased requirements and possible regulative strategies and models to resolve these sustainably. The dissertation is especially relevant considering the goal of the proposed EU regulations of the Digital Finance Package introduced in late 2020 to promote the use of DLT in the EU.
The defence will be held in Zoom:
Meeting ID: 996 0170 9629
Meeting ID: 996 0170 9629
via video bridge