Blockchains, Smart Contracts, Decentralised Autonomous Organisations and the Law
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Blockchains, Smart Contracts, Decentralised Autonomous Organisations and the Law

Edited by Daniel Kraus, Thierry Obrist and Olivier Hari

The growth of Blockchain technology presents a number of legal questions for lawyers, regulators and industry participants alike. Primarily, regulators must allow Blockchain technology to develop whilst also ensuring it is not being abused. This book addresses the challenges posed by various applications of Blockchain technology, such as cryptocurrencies, smart contracts and initial coin offerings, across different fields of law. Contributors explore whether the problems posed by Blockchain and its applications can be addressed within the present legal system or whether significant rethinking is required.
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Chapter 10: Blockchain and data protection

Adrien Alberini and Vincent Pfammatter

Abstract

Blockchains all have at their core certain key-characteristics, such as the fact that the system is decentralized and distributed, immutable, and transparent. The consequences of such features are twofold with regard to data protection and privacy. On the one hand, some of these features are at odds with the way we understand privacy in Europe and the fundamental legal principles governing data protection law in this legal order. Indeed, the key features of blockchain systems may be in quite a stark contrast with some fundamental privacy rights under the GDPR, such as for instance the rights of access, rectification or erasure. On the other hand, blockchains may also constitute an opportunity for the protection of personal data, in limiting or even vanishing ‘single point of failure’ issues, alteration of data or data thefts, and increasing security and transparency. In this chapter, the authors analyze the intersection between blockchains and data protection regulations (in particular the GDPR), the good and the bad that emanate from this necessary relationship, and they explore possible solutions which can be implemented.

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