Q4 2018 Appearances
Our partners are excited and interested to share their insights and sponsor various industry events. This past quarter, we spoke on topics around Blockchain, Cyber Security and Financial Technology. Below is a summary of appearances and highlights addressing some of the most pressing matters our clients face today.
Chicago Blockchain Project’s Crowd-Funding Meet-Up
On September 27, 2018 our own Christopher Williams and and Elaine Wyder-Harshman spoke at the Chicago Blockchain Project’s meet up looking at how to attract non-accredited investors and include them through a crowd-funding initiative.
Williams led a Q&A session which emphasized that not all portals are created equal. While some excel at raising funds for real estate, others are good at social media and others fintech initiatives.
The topic of converting tokens from a security token to a utility token came up as well in the conversation. For example, if your token is a security with a utility feature, is it still treated as a security token? The short answer is, yes. This does not include two token models and does not remove the potential for a security token to convert into a utility token. Converting into a utility token is theoretically possible, but there are no hard and fast rules on how this happens yet.
Finally, the discussion also touched upon leveraging crowdfunding to raise capital. We have seen clients use crowdfunding for marketing purposes, just as much as they use it to raise capital. This allows them to raise money from non-accredited investors and thus get the word out. This type of promotion is limited with traditional Reg D raises. If you would like to know more, please read our recent blog post on this topic.
We would like to thank the Chicago Blockchain Project for organizing an informative meet-up focused on how to attract non-accredited investors and include them in crowd-funding initiatives.
On November 9, 2018, Convex Legal partner Elaine Wyder-Harshman was a panelist at the 24th Belle R. & Joseph H. Braun Memorial Symposium: “Blockchain & the Law: Risks, Challenges, and Opportunities,” presented by the John Marshall Law School, the John Marshall Journal of Information Technology & Privacy Law, and the John Marshall Blockchain Law Organization. Elaine spoke on the Blockchain Regulation and Criminal Law Panel, but we have included highlights below from all three panels.
The first panel, Blockchain and the Law, discussed a wide range of legal issues surrounding blockchain and cryptocurrencies, including securities, payments, the legal structure of a decentralized autonomous organization (the DAO), and whether coders of smart contracts have fiduciary duties.
Panelist-recommended background reading: The Future of the Internet–And How to Stop It, by Jonathan Zittrain; Code: And Other Laws of Cyberspace, Version 2.0 by Lawrence Lessig; Who Controls the Internet: Illusions of a Borderless World, by Jack Goldsmith and Tim Wu; and The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything, by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey.
The second panel, Blockchain Regulation and Criminal Law, covered civil and criminal enforcement of existing laws and regulations and discussed where regulators are likely to move next. The discussion highlighted the tension between a desire for certainty from regulators and the need for freedom to experiment within an evolving digital landscape.
One of the panelists Michelle Korvar, Digital Currency Counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice, provided insights into the DOJ’s approach to cryptocurrencies. Korvar encouraged dialogue but made clear the need for enforcement of existing anti-fraud and anti-money laundering laws.
The final panel, Practicing Blockchain Law, dealt with the pragmatic issues faced by attorneys who represent blockchain, and in particular cryptocurrency clients. Topics included understanding blockchain culture, client reactions to legal constraints, preparing clients for inquiries by the SEC, the patentability of blockchain innovations, and compliance with the GDPR (the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation).
Many thanks to the John Marshall Law School, the John Marshall Journal of Information Technology & Privacy Law, and the John Marshall Blockchain Law Organization for an excellent symposium on blockchain and the law.
Global Cyber Security Initiative
Also on November 9, 2018, the Global Cyber Security Initiative (GCSI) in partnership with Convex Legal, Pan Asian American Business Council and Illinois Institute of Technology, hosted an event looking at the risks, challenges and opportunities stemming from cyber security.
Convex Legal was proud to support this conference, which had industry experts discussing how Chief Information Security Officer’s (CISO’s) and companies should approach the demands of multiple industry specific and governmental cyber security regulations. A few of the highlights included Sujeet Shenoi from the University of Tulsa, who also works with the Secret Service, talking about current and future cyber attacks in the financial industry and energy sector. Also, Larry Lidz, CISO of CNA, discussed how CNA tackles regulatory concerns as well as how the whole company takes responsibility for signing compliance documents.
We appreciate the time and efforts of the Global Cyber Security Initiative, Pan Asian American Business Council and Illinois Institute of Technology for hosting the event and providing cyber security education.
If you would like more information about our event or speaking schedule, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.