In the second half of October, postgraduate studies about Blockchain at the Lazarski University are to start. On this subject we were able to talk with prof. Krzysztof Piech.
Jacek Walewski: Where did the sudden jump in the popularity of blockchain technology come from? Until relatively recently, hardly anyone heard about it.
Krzysztof Piech: The popularity of blockchain technology is related to the price of bitcoin. Although it may seem surprising, statistics – e.g. Google Trends – confirm this. Official institutions would sometimes prefer not to see cryptos in general and promote an approach that can be closed in the words: “blockchain without cryptocurrencies.” It may, however, be a dead end – as it was in the case of intranets – closed systems, unlike the open one – the Internet.
What are the problems with the blockchain market?
The issues of both blockchain technology and its most common applications – cryptocurrency, is not easy not only from a technical point of view. Every business project starts with legal analyzes. Some projects end at this stage, while others require further legal services for years. Although there are not many official blockchain companies in Poland, there are dozens of startups that are active in this market. Most of them required solving specific legal and tax problems, most often associated with the location of the company and its financing, so-called ICO.
All these issues: technical as well as legal, tax, ICO – require investing work weeks to understand the specificity of this young market, and then be able to be a specialist dealing with the service of entities operating on it. The barrier to entry is large, while specialists are not always interested in passing knowledge to not educate competitors. This is why university initiatives that aim to disseminate knowledge in the field of blockchain may be important.
This is a challenge, but also an opportunity for the educational market …
The pioneer in the global market is the University of Nicosia. Thanks to the early start of specialization in this area, this young university has managed to jump over such giants as MIT. A few years ago, Poland was one of the largest bitcoin markets in the world. Many interesting business initiatives were created, mainly due to the well-educated IT staff in our country. However, one of the first barriers that new initiatives and startups encounter are regulatory regulatory issues. The solution to such problems is expensive – depending on the type and scale of problems, these are expenses from several thousand to over 100,000. zł. There are not many specialists in this field, and the professionalism of their advice varies.
That’s why the first educational initiatives in this area are being created. In May last year Lazarski University held the first conference in Europe dedicated to the legal issues of blockchain technology. Our country was one of the pioneers, eg self-regulation of the cryptocurrency market, a code of good practice was developed, a branch association has been operating for several years, a chamber of commerce has just been established, banks are entering blockchain (PKO bp, Alior). Many lawyers, business representatives and IT specialists were involved in all these initiatives.
This cooperation of several dozen people, unique in the world, conducted under the auspices of the Ministry of Digitization as part of the so-called Stream of “Blockchain / DLT and Digital Currencies”, resulted in the creation of a permanent, regular, organised educational formula. The best lawyers in Poland, business representatives, IT specialists in blockchain technology (and cryptocurrencies as well as ICOs) were invited to cooperate. In July this year at the Lazarski University, the Blockchain Postgraduate Studies in Technology Law project was approved. It is worth mentioning that 2 years ago, at this university, a third center in Europe (after Nicosia and London) was established in the research center dealing with this technology. It is run by one of the largest propagators of blockchain and cryptocurrency in Poland – professor at this university Krzysztof Piech.
Say something more about this field of study.
The studies will cover approximately 180 hours of classes. The thematic scope is very extensive. The level of classes will be guaranteed by the staff, among whom prof. Witold Srokosz (University of Wrocław), prof. Konrad Zacharzewski (UMK in Torun), Dr. Tomasz Braun (former director of HSBC and other banks), Dr. Anton Bubiel (doctoral dissertation on bitoin), Dr. Krzysztof Korus (dLK.Legal), dr Paweł Opitek (National Public Prosecutor’s Office). In addition, lecturers will be led by people very familiar to the Polish cryptocurrency community, eg Zoe Adamowicz (from Berlin’s NeuFund), Jacek Czarnecki (ICO), Daria Gaca (Krypto Jam), Rafał Kiełbus (bitcoin code), Aleksandra Kopeć (author of prawokryptowalut.com), Paweł Kuskowski (CEO of Coinfirm), Beata Marek (CyberLaw), Justyna Matuszak-Leśny (German law firm e | s | bRechtsanwälte), Marcelina Szwed (tax issues).
As you can see, blockchain in Poland is developing – also in the aspect of education.
Thank you for the conversation!
You can read more about the new field of post-graduate studies HERE (polish language)