Blockchain Technologies and Digital Currencies

Overview

We help clients navigate the broad array of legal issues presented by transformative blockchain technology and the rise of digital currencies. BakerHostetler is a leader in advising clients who are deploying blockchain-enabled solutions or developing or using virtual currencies – whether they are integrating the technologies into established operations, re-engineering business practices, or creating new and disruptive applications.

Our clients include businesses and not-for-profit organizations from startups to Fortune 100 companies in local, national and international arenas. Our attorneys collaborate across practice groups to provide practical advice on how to maximize the opportunities presented by the technologies while steering clear of pitfalls in a rapidly evolving legal landscape. We help clients understand how current laws and regulations apply to these technologies, plan or advocate for changes in the regulatory environment, and provide thoughtful insight to companies integrating these technologies into existing and prospective product and service offerings.

Our team understands how and when a cryptocurrency may be a currency, a security, a network utility or a commodity, and the legal and regulatory implications of such designations. We help clients design smart contracts and work with them through the myriad legal issues that arise in initial coin offerings (ICOs) or token generating events (TGEs), including corporate and securities matters, tax issues, and other regulatory hurdles. We also advise clients on privacy and security issues specific to blockchain technologies and digital currencies, including cyber incident response, and represent industry clients in federal and state enforcement actions.

BakerHostetler is also a national leader in the drive to adopt blockchain technology and standardize its use in the legal industry and beyond. The firm is a founding steward of the Sovrin Network, the only global identity infrastructure that supports self-sovereign identity using a purpose-built distributed ledger at its core. We are also active members of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance Legal Working Group and the Accord project, both of which exist to develop standards and protocols to facilitate the legally defensible adoption of blockchain related technologies such as smart (computational) contracts. 

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We collaborate with clients to identify areas in which blockchain technologies will drive changes in existing laws and regulations to accommodate their use in corporate governance, privacy and digital identity, and regulatory oversight, as well as in execution of contractual agreements and maintenance of healthcare and employment records.

Our attorneys provide blockchain and digital currency-related guidance in the following areas:
  • Anti-money laundering and “Know Your Customer” compliance
  • Corporate structures
  • Cryptocurrencies and tokens
  • Cybersecurity
  • Digital identity
  • Government relations
  • Hedge funds
  • Initial coin offerings (ICOs)
  • Intellectual property
  • Litigation, including class action defense
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Not-for-profits/foundations/charitable organizations
  • Privacy issues
  • Securities regulation and enforcement
  • “Smart contracts”
  • Startup companies
  • State money transmitter licensing
  • Supply chain and “provenance”
  • Tax strategies – U.S. and international
  • Technology transactions
  • Venture capital
  • White collar defense and investigations
The industries we serve include:
  • Advertising
  • Energy
  • Financial services
  • Healthcare
  • Hospitality
  • Manufacturing
  • Real estate
  • Technology

Select Experience

  • Provided government relations guidance to leading blockchain-enabled global payments company on federal and state legislative, regulatory, and policy issues relating to digital currencies.
  • Advised prominent digital identity solution company regarding privacy, cybersecurity and other legal issues.
  • Counsel companies with respect to crypto currency transactions and token-generation events, such as “initial coin offerings” or “ICOs."
  • Counseled early-stage creator of advanced distributed ledger platform and an associated crypto-token considering an ICO/TGE regarding securities, tax and corporate structure, compliance with NY-DFS Virtual Currency Regulation, and intellectual property issues.
  • Advised a digital currency platform services provider in response to a multimillion-dollar cybertheft of bitcoin from a digital currency exchange. Issues included:
    • Incident response
    • Crisis communications
    • Interactions with compromised exchange
    • Client cybersecurity practices and personnel
    • Pre-litigation counseling and preparation
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Professionals

Name Title Office Email
Associate Cincinnati
Partner Washington, D.C.
Associate Columbus
Partner New York
Partner New York
Chief Information Officer
Chief Information Officer Cleveland
Senior Advisor Washington, D.C.
Associate Washington, D.C.
Counsel New York
Partner Cleveland
Partner New York
Partner Cleveland
Partner Cincinnati
Partner Washington, D.C.
Senior Advisor Washington, D.C.
Partner Seattle
Partner Washington, D.C.
Partner New York
Associate Washington, D.C.
Partner New York
Partner New York
Partner New York
Senior Advisor Washington, D.C.
Partner New York
Partner Atlanta
Partner Philadelphia
Partner Washington, D.C.
Partner New York
Partner New York
Partner Cleveland
Partner Cleveland
Partner New York
Associate Los Angeles

Experience

  • Provided government relations guidance to leading blockchain-enabled global payments company on federal and state legislative, regulatory, and policy issues relating to digital currencies.
  • Advised prominent digital identity solution company regarding privacy, cybersecurity and other legal issues.
  • Counsel companies with respect to crypto currency transactions and token-generation events, such as “initial coin offerings” or “ICOs."
  • Counseled early-stage creator of advanced distributed ledger platform and an associated crypto-token considering an ICO/TGE regarding securities, tax and corporate structure, compliance with NY-DFS Virtual Currency Regulation, and intellectual property issues.
  • Advised a digital currency platform services provider in response to a multimillion-dollar cybertheft of bitcoin from a digital currency exchange. Issues included:
    • Incident response
    • Crisis communications
    • Interactions with compromised exchange
    • Client cybersecurity practices and personnel
    • Pre-litigation counseling and preparation
  • Advised multiple cryptocurrency exchanges on state money transmitter licensing; money services business (MSB) registration under U.S. Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) regulations; Bank Secrecy Act, AML and sanctions compliance; consumer protection; privacy and cybersecurity; customer terms of use; and other issues.
  • Advised advertising industry client on use of blockchain technology in adtech, including on seeking patents, developing incentive and reward programs, and use of cryptocurrencies.
  • As member of panel of academic, technology and privacy/cybersecurity leaders, advised tech and government sectors on use of blockchain technologies to secure and streamline elections.
  • Advised digital currency industry client on response to cyber incident involving data theft and attempted extortion.
  • Advised digital currency exchange on compliance with GLBA and NY DFS Virtual Currency regulation and potential applicability of NY DFS Cybersecurity Requirements. Drafted NY DFS-compliant policies and procedures, including cybersecurity and incident response policies.
  • Advised major financial services company on developing and offering blockchain-enabled products and services, including intellectual property, technology transactions, cybersecurity and data protection issues.

Recognition

  • Recognized as one of the top law firms for client service, we were named to the 2018 BTI Client Service 30 for the fourth consecutive year.

Key Contacts