Seward & Kissel’s Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Group is an inter-disciplinary group that was formed to advise clients on issues arising from investments in assets based on blockchain or Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), including cryptocurrencies and other cryptoassets such as utility coins and tokens. The group includes experts in securities laws, including attorneys specializing in capital markets, private and public funds, investment advisers, and broker dealers as well as experts in tax, commodities, banking and Fintech laws. The group is drawing on Seward & Kissel’s long history and deep understanding of financial services to assist clients with solving legal issues that arise from utilizing blockchain technology or DLT to disrupt existing, less efficient processes and technology.
Corporate Financings and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)
The group has advised clients in a range of activities involving ICO’s, from assisting issuers with conducting both public and private ICOs as well as investors seeking to invest in ICOs or earlier seed rounds.
Funds and Investment Advisers
Seward & Kissel advises funds and investment advisers on issues from cryptoasset fund formation to regulatory issues faced by advisers, including custody, valuation, disclosure, transfer agent and registrar issues.
Seward & Kissel’s broker-dealer team includes nationally-recognized thought-leaders who understand the regulatory and competitive landscape that drives innovation. Our team represents clients on the full range of blockchain and DLT-related issues across the brokerage industry, including: formation of broker-dealers to transact or custody assets based on DLT or blockchain technology; net capital and customer protection issues; sales practices – e.g., know-your- customer and suitability; anti-money laundering, sanctions and Bank Secrecy Act; privacy; E-discovery and recordkeeping. Seward & Kissel regularly represents clients in the development of proposed legislation and regulations, or the clarification of existing rules and regulations, before a range of federal and state regulators – particularly the SEC.
The CFTC has been one of the U.S. regulators most active in the cryptocurrency space since it
announced its position that all “virtual currencies” are commodities. In addition, CBOE and CME have
begun trading bitcoin futures. Seward & Kissel advises clients on issues in connection with holding and
trading cryptoassets, from licensing to regulatory compliance.
Regulatory Compliance and Licensing Requirements
Seward & Kissel is advising clients on federal and state law compliance and license requirements in connection with the issuance, transfer and possession of cryptoassets, including AML and OFAC requirements, money transmitter licenses and other state licensing issues.
Seward & Kissel advises clients on tax issues relating to investing in and transferring cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency-related products such as futures and options, including tax reporting requirements in connection with such activities. Seward & Kissel also provides advice to clients regarding the tax consequences of raising capital through ICOs.
Collateral and Insolvency Issues
Assets based on blockchain and DLT raise challenging issues related to using such assets as collateral, particular with respect to control, perfection and attachment of liens. Seward & Kissel is helping clients understand issues relating to the use of cryptocurrencies and cryptoassets in security arrangements, as well as their treatment in in-court insolvency proceedings.
Seward & Kissel is an active member of the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance. The Firm is also a member of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, whose mission is to promote the acceptance and use of digital assets and blockchain-based technologies.