The blockchain is, in various areas, a concept widely used in various sectors and is defined as a data base, that is a digital register, whose entries are grouped in blocks each of which contains multiple transactions, chained in chronological order, whose integrity is guaranteed by the use of cryptography.
Each data, and then each block, before being inserted into the “chain”, is submitted to a validation process and the computer systems that downloaded the blockchain are called blockchain nodes. Although its entity is destined to grow over time, it is immutable because, as a rule, its content once written is no longer modifiable or eliminatable, unless it invalidates the entire structure.
Until now, the technology in question has always been associated with the world of bitcoins, but worldwide, there is an expansion of this technology in the most diverse sectors. At international level, there is no doubt that the first sector is the financial sector related to the money transfer sector, making possible a more direct flow of payments between the payee and the payee, Even if the parties to the transaction are very different from each other, without the need for intermediaries, at very favourable rates and at almost instant speed.
One area of use of this technology is cybersecurity, where blockchain uses encrypted keys that allow you to verify and send data inside, ensuring that the information is correct from the source to the recipients without any risk of interception and manipulation during the transmission process, with only the limit that the data entered in the blockchain remains stored indefinitely over time.
Another area of application of this technology is the authentication of titles, academic certificates or electoral votes, and recently also in the transport sector.
Most of the Member States make legislative interventions covering only a few applications, with the exception of Malta, which has recently provided organic regulation for the whole of the blockchain sector, including cryptocurrencies and initial Coin offering (hereinafter ICO);more frequently we find authorities of judicial or administrative nature that provide clarifications or outline guidelines or policies with the risk of overlapping of pronouncements with different content and of a sectoral nature.
In international law, blockchain poses problems both in terms of jurisdiction and of applicable law. The solution currently available involves the application of a principle which, in the EU-style scheme of private international law, is the freedom of the parties, with the possibility for the parties to determine freely both the law regulating their relationship and the court competent to rule on it.
This solution, however, does not appear to be satisfactory where the relationship is made up of parties deemed to be weak contractors, such as for example where blockchain involves or implements employment relationships. In these types of relationships, the concept of autonomy of the parties has different effectiveness compared to the normal discipline in both jurisdictional and law regulating the relationship, since, in accordance with Article 20 of the Brussels I-bis Regulation, the forum conventionally elected by the parties, by way of derogation from the general rule (Art. 25), will not be exclusive.
Also from the point of view of the applicable law, the contractual choice is of reduced effectiveness since it does not allow a derogation from the necessary and public policy implementing rules relating to the law which would be applicable because of the conflicts of law referred to in paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of’art. 8 of the Rome Regulation I. These provisions will therefore apply irrespective of the choice made by the parties.
In the field of the international transports is assisting to a real revolution of the harbour infrastructures and the application of the technology blockchain will represent in a near future a true rupture in the commercial relations of the sea shipment.
The advantage lies in the ability to keep sensitive resources of shipowners and/or companies on a computer inside a room or in another location transmitted via e-mail, offering a method that remains secure from tampering for the exchange of data for the simple fact that they are never in a single place, able to reduce administrative and operational risks for shipowners, charterers and brokers.
Digitising the paper trail of international carriers, (cargo and freight documentation, hundreds of signed and stamped pages to be physically delivered to dozens of different agencies, banks, customs offices and other entities), blockchain could save money flows and make them active, increasing product marketing time, cutting trade barriers and thus creating jobs, as well as allowing considerable savings in costs and money.