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Blockchain, Cryptocurrency Defense & Investigations

Blockchain, Cryptocurrency Defense & Investigations

From digital currencies and contracts to building the foundations of entire organizations, blockchain is creating new ways of exchanging information and digital assets. Unsurprisingly, regulators are struggling to keep pace with technological developments. For blockchain users, investors, and innovators, this means a fair amount of time must be spent analyzing the legalities of the industry. 

Scarinci Hollenbeck can help. Our firm has a team of attorneys dedicated to blockchain, cryptocurrency, and other related technologies. Working with an experienced cryptocurrency attorney helps ensure that you can take full advantage of opportunities in the crypto and blockchain space while minimizing risks and challenges.  

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Blockchain, Cryptocurrency Defense & Investigations

Blockchain Attorney: Understanding Blockchain Offerings

Blockchain technology is bringing significant changes to the business and investment world. While blockchain is best known as the backbone of cryptocurrency, it also supports the creation of numerous other products and services, including:

  • Smart contracts
  • Crypto exchanges
  • Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs)
  • Decentralized apps (DAPPs)
  • Initial coin offerings (ICOs)
  • Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and other tokenized assets

Blockchain is also being applied to developing an entirely new, decentralized internet infrastructure (Web3), which may ultimately impact any business operating online.

You Need a Blockchain Attorney With Tech and Legal Know-How

Developing effective technical, regulatory, and legal compliance strategies is a solid move for almost any blockchain creation and investment. As with any other property, digital assets can be more effectively protected using various asset protection strategies. Our team leverages the experience of attorneys across the firm to provide comprehensive guidance regarding corporate, securities, commodities, intellectual property, technology, bankruptcy, and tax issues. 

Whether you are forming a DAO, launching an ICO, or minting NFTs, an experienced blockchain attorney can also advise you on how to minimize the risk of litigation and regulatory scrutiny, and how to effectively collaborate with regulators and industry leaders. You can then position your blockchain assets for maximum legal maneuvering and future investment opportunities.

The attorneys of Scarinci Hollenbeck’s experienced Blockchain Offerings, Cryptocurrency Defense & Investigations practice can help you negotiate and draft complex agreements for any blockchain project. You’ll be certain that your blockchain project proceeds by federal securities laws (e.g., SEC regulations CF, D, A, and A+), audit standards for DeFI Protocols, and tax-liability reduction standards. We also assist clients with privacy and data security issues, including the development of risk management programs, data privacy disclosures, and cyber incident protocols.

Finally, our knowledgeable blockchain lawyers can help you structure your blockchain project across borders using cutting-edge legal and business solutions. With so much changing in both the technological and legal arenas, it’s fast becoming essential to secure blockchain-based digital properties just as firmly as you would physical assets, both at home and abroad.

Cryptocurrency Defense & Investigations

Scrutiny of the cryptocurrency continues to grow, with both state and federal regulators arguing that more needs to be done to root out bad actors and protect investors. Our Cryptocurrency Defense & Investigations practice includes attorneys with significant regulatory and criminal law experience, which includes handling crypto-related:

  • Civil and criminal litigation
  • Crisis management
  • Enforcement actions, including SEC, CFTC, IRS, and DOJ matters
  • Fraud/theft 
  • Internal and governmental investigations
  • Regulatory compliance 
  • Trademark registration, enforcement, and infringement suits

You Need a Cryptocurrency Attorney With Industry Experience

Navigating the cryptocurrency regulatory landscape is challenging. One of the keys to reducing risk is working with an experienced cryptocurrency attorney who understands the unique compliance and litigation challenges faced by those who operate in the industry. 

Scarinci Hollenbeck’s cryptocurrency team routinely works with clients to determine whether coins/tokens, NFTs, and other digital assets may be securities or commodities under federal and state securities laws. We are also prepared to defend related enforcement actions before agencies like the SEC, as well as in state and federal courts. 

Cryptocurrency investors can also face legal challenges. Whether you have fallen victim to a crypto scam, been misled when purchasing digital assets, or suffered investment losses in a crypto exchange collapse, we are prepared to aggressively protect your rights and help you recoup your losses. 

Blockchain and cryptocurrency are the future. If you are involved in this emerging industry, you must have a cryptocurrency attorney well-versed in its complexities. Our attorneys not only excel at their craft but are also passionate about blockchain’s potential. This allows us to provide superb service and cutting-edge legal counsel to our clients.

Scarinci Hollenbeck’s attorneys serve as legal counsel to various crypto-based projects, including DAOs, fintech companies, and proptech and legaltech startups. By staying at the forefront of industry trends and issues, we can proactively address regulatory and enforcement developments before they become legal headaches. 

FAQ about Blockchain, Cryptocurrency Defense & Investigations

Blockchain is a decentralized software application that tracks data by validating and storing data in blocks that are strung and linked together chronologically in an immutable chain. The data blocks are linked together through the use of a cryptographic “hash” of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data. “Hashing” is a method that uses algorithms to both mathematically encrypt the data blocks and connect and string them into a chain. Below are several other key features of blockchain technology:

  • The data commonly consists of transactional information recorded in ledgers, such as cryptocurrency exchanges, property purchases, health records, credentials, and many others. The ledgers are distributed across many individual computer servers (called nodes) through a peer-to-peer (P2P) network.
  • All nodes across the blockchain ecosystem receive the same continuous stream of data and updates simultaneously, which can be transmitted privately and anonymously. The network does not use a third-party intermediary to manage, monitor, or interfere with transactions. There is no central authority to approve transactions.
  • The blockchain system is self-regulating due to the P2P computer network of nodes, which all verify incoming data and distribute copies of the data across the network. Once all the nodes verify and agree on the data, only then does the data become recorded into blocks and linked into a chain.
  • The data chain is immutable and irreversible due to the hash encryptions, and because all activity on the chain is public across the network and seen by all the nodes. Altering a block of data is virtually impossible because doing so would necessitate, publicly across the P2P network, cracking the encryptions of all subsequent blocks of data on the chain to get to the block one wants to alter.
  • While blockchain technology was created to allow for the existence of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, the technology transcends cryptocurrencies and has applications for all types of data storage.

Cryptocurrency “coins” are digital currencies that are powered and secured by blockchain technology, rather than a centralized government authority. These coins are essentially packets of immutable math code that a blockchain P2P network of computer servers (nodes) allows to be distributed, bought, and sold on the network. Transactions on the blockchain are only recorded after unanimous validation by all the nodes in the network. Transactions are validated securely and publicly on the blockchain. At the inception of a blockchain’s creation, irreversible rules are set regarding how many coins there ever will be and how to create new coins (mining).

Miners are networks of computer servers that validate coin transactions to enable their recording on the blockchain. Built into a blockchain’s software are rules that encourage miners to validate these transactions. Miners who solve certain mathematical problems fast enough will then link the next block of data onto the chain and receive a coin as a reward. Often the number of coins that can ever be available is finite; therefore, over time the blockchain software makes the mathematical problems harder for miners to solve.

There are hundreds of different types of cryptocurrencies. Some of the most well-known include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether, and XRP.

Cryptocurrency has both risks and benefits.  

Advantages of using crypto:

  • No central government authority to create excess coins/protection from inflation
  • Secure and private
  • Removes the middleman (aka a bank), which makes transactions more cost-effective
  • Greater liquidity
  • Widely and universally used
  • High transaction speeds with low costs
  • Transparency

Disadvantages of using crypto:

  • No refund or cancellation policy for incorrect transactions
  • Risk of data loss
  • Hard for the government to track illegal transactions and theft
  • High risk and high volatility
  • More vulnerable to scams and hackers
  • High energy consumption due to miners

Like cryptocurrencies, they are immutable code, and cryptographic assets, transacted and recorded on a blockchain. They differ from cryptocurrencies in that they are non-fungible; in other words, they are not identical. A unique encrypted identification code and metadata distinguish one NFT from other NFTs. Bitcoin for example is fungible; if you trade one Bitcoin for another Bitcoin, you’ll get the same thing. A one-dollar bill is fungible because any particular one-dollar bill in your pocket is no different from any other one-dollar bill circulating. This very fungibility allows dollars, other fiat currencies, and cryptocurrencies to be mediums of exchange in commerce. On the other hand, the famous Picasso is non-fungible as it is unique.

Congress has not yet adopted comprehensive cryptocurrency regulations. Several federal agencies, including the Department of Treasury, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), have issued guidance regarding digital assets. In seeking to regulate digital assets, the agencies largely rely on the application of existing regulations. For instance, the IRS has advised that digital assets constitute property for federal tax purposes and, therefore, are subject to capital gains taxes. The SEC also regulates cryptocurrency, arguing that many digital assets meet the definition of “security” under federal securities laws.

States are also increasingly adopting cryptocurrency regulations. New York was one of the first states in the country to enact a regulatory framework for virtual currency like Bitcoin. Under New York Division of Financial Services (NYDFS) regulations enacted in 2015, businesses must obtain a license, commonly referred to as a “BitLicense,” before engaging in any virtual currency business activity.

In an initial coin offering or ICO, buyers may use fiat U.S. dollars or virtual currencies to purchase virtual coins or tokens. The capital raised from the sales may be used to fund the development of a digital platform, software, or other projects. In addition, investors may use the virtual tokens or coins to access the platform, use the software, or otherwise participate in the project. After they are issued, the virtual coins or tokens may also be resold to others in a secondary market on virtual currency exchanges or other platforms. 

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