Cryptocurrencies and digital assets are permeating nearly every industry and geographic region across the globe. Mayer Brown is well positioned to manage the broad range of issues arising from cryptocurrencies and digital assets.
Our clients include:
- Digital currency exchanges
- Cryptocurrency wallet providers
- Payment providers and money services business (MSBs)
- Companies interested in accepting or holding cryptocurrencies and digital assets
- VC/PE funds and investment banks
- Trade associations, NGOs/nonprofits and colleges/universities
We advise and counsel clients across the lifespan of their cryptocurrency and digital asset products, including:
Corporate/M&A, Securities & Capital Markets
- Securities law compliance
- Early-stage investments, venture and growth capital, corporate venture investments, private equity investments, venture debt, as well as mezzanine and late-stage investments and transactions
- IPOs and follow-on financings
- Corporate governance, including public company readiness and ongoing reporting obligations
- Tax considerations, including treatment, structuring and transfer pricing
- Digital services, outsourcing and critical third-party service-provider relationships
- Investments, licensing arrangements, collaborations and acquisitions of digital products and platforms
- Investment vehicle and product structuring and fund formation (public and private)
Regulatory, Compliance & Public Policy
- Product design, licensing and regulatory approvals and ongoing regulatory advice related to fintech products and platforms
- Regulations and policies related to:
- Commodities and derivatives, including futures, options and swaps
Investigations, Enforcement & Litigation
- Cross-border disputes as well as in major financial markets, such as New York, London, Hong Kong and Singapore
- Investigations and enforcement by government regulators, including federal, state and local
- Commercial, consumer, class action, regulatory and appellate litigation
- Anti-money laundering and sanctions
- Intellectual property including trademark, copyright, patent infringement and protection
- Cybersecurity and incident response
- Achieved an important and high-profile Commodity Futures Trading Commission registration for Bitnomial Exchange, LLC, a futures exchange approved to offer margined bitcoin futures subject to physical delivery. We worked closely with Bitnomial in regard to business formation, product review, rulebook drafting, application submission and regulatory advocacy as part of a four-year effort.
- Represented PayPal in connection with its participation in (and later withdrawal from) Libra—the planned cryptocurrency being promoted by a consortia of companies involved in technology and finance led by Facebook. We also represented Shopify in connection with its entry into the Libra consortium, and we have advised several other major fintech companies on Libra consortium participation.
- Advised JPMorgan Securities LLC, as lead placement agent, in connection with a $425 million PIPE transaction by Good Works Acquisition Corp., a SPAC, completed in conjunction with a business combination with Cipher Mining Inc., a bitcoin mining firm.
- Represented Sun Hung Kai & Co. Limited, a Hong Kong-listed alternative investment financial services institution, in its Series B investment in Sygnum Bank AG (Sygnum), the world's first digital asset bank. Sun Hung Kai & Co. Limited led the US$90 million Series B funding round for Sygnum, which was oversubscribed. Sygnum, a digital asset technology group with a Swiss banking license and a Singapore asset management license, said it intends to use the proceeds from the latest funding round to accelerate the development of new institutional-grade Web 3.0 offerings and expand into new global markets.
- Represented Apifiny Group Inc., a global cross-exchange digital asset trading network based in New York, in connection with its definitive business combination agreement with Abri SPAC I, Inc., a special purpose acquisition company. The merger (expected to close during the third quarter of 2022) will make Apifiny a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq stock market.
- Represented a major university in negotiations with Coinbase to enable the university to invest portions of its endowment in cryptocurrencies. This includes review and negotiation of crypto custodial services agreements, prime brokerage agreements and over-the-counter trading agreements.
- Lead representation of a firm in seeking to become registered as a futures commission merchant (FCM) with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for the purpose of brokering cryptocurrency contracts.
- Advised a leading provider of online consumer personal loans on entering into a node agreement to become a node (a supporting participant) in a blockchain solution that will be created to record personal loan transactions made by consumers.
- Advising numerous non-financial retailers on considerations when evaluating whether to accept cryptocurrency as payment as well as reviewing and setting up arrangements with cryptocurrency exchanges to enable the acceptance of cryptocurrency.
- Counseling a large non-US spot cryptocurrency exchange with respect to its activities in the US market.
- Assisting a proprietary trading firm in building out its cryptocurrency trading operations.
- Forming a hedge fund to trade cryptocurrencies on US and non-US markets.
- Providing federal, state and local tax planning advice to a blockchain investment firm with regard to income generated by the funds and the investment manager.
- Represented a number of companies in the development and deployment of alternate payment methods including the providing intellectual property guidance on the implications and risks associated with using non-traditional payment methods not currently regulated by the United States government or Federal Reserve Corporation.
- Advising a leading consumer package goods company on the use of NFTs for the licensing of its intellectual property to third parties.
- Representing multiple crypto exchange platforms in reviewing and registering their IP as well as IP portfolio management.
- Advising a crypto payment integration provider in connection with analyzing and registering their intellectual property.
- Represented a leading electronic commerce technology company in its participation in a consortium for the establishment and management of an asset-backed cryptocurrency. We advise on tax-related issues in coordination with other firm practices.
- Advising cryptoasset service providers and other financial institutions on the implications for the new UK registration regime, including on strategic issues to deal with late registrations and related communications with regulators.
- Advised an international bookmaker and online betting platform on the potential structuring and restrictions of an Initial Coin Offering in Hong Kong.
- Advised a global bank on the development and evaluation of a prototype to combine an asset registry and AML analytics, incentivize new receivable financing opportunities and make trade safer through the use of AML analytics on a distributed ledger.
- Advising one of the largest full-service blockchain technology companies in the world on the current laws and regulations, restrictions applicable to cryptocurrency mining and pool businesses in Hong Kong, as well as any declared or expected regulatory trends or regulations to introduce restrictions to such services.
- Advised a blockchain platform on financial regulatory obligations in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Hong Kong, including licensing processes in Europe.
- Represented a fintech platform operating on a distributed ledger technology before financial regulators in the United States and Europe.
- Advised a major investment bank on investments in companies with significant cryptocurrency operations, including performing comprehensive regulatory reviews of these companies in connection with the investment transactions.
- Advised a property developer and property manager on the regulations concerning stored value facilities in Hong Kong.
- Represented the venture capital arm of a worldwide professional services company in its investment in a blockchain and ledger services business.
- Advised an international financial association on blockchain and smart contract legal and regulatory challenges related to definitions and master agreements execution.
- Advised a bank on the development and evaluation of a blockchain prototype that would combine an asset registry and AML analytics to support receivables financing on the blockchain.
- Represented several companies in connection with offerings of security tokens. This included providing clients with advice on how to structure the offering to comply with regulatory requirements under securities laws, New York BitLicense regulations and money services business laws, as well as preparing the offering documents.
- Reviewing numerous token white papers and counseling issuers with respect to the implications of offering coins and tokens to US persons.
- Represented an international bank on entering into a consortium agreement to develop a central bank digital currency working prototype using a cryptocurrency version of the Hong Kong dollar to be deployed in Hong Kong by the HKMA and the three currency issuing banks in Hong Kong for interbank payments/securities settlement with provision to wholesale customers.
- Advising a bank on its participation in the R3 consortium project with the Monetary Authority of Singapore to create a working cryptocurrency prototype of the Singapore dollar on the Ethereum blockchain.
- Represented a Tier 1 global bank on the terms under which it entered into the R3-led Distributed Ledger Group (i.e., the blockchain consortium to develop DLT-related technologies consisting of R3 and 40 other banks).
- Represented a global bank on the terms of its participation in a consortium project to create blockchain-based smart contracts that banks can use to automate the creation, exchange and execution of purchase contracts and letters of credit used in trade finance.
- Advised an international resource-based group on the establishment of a sustainability consortium platform with other industry players and the use of a blockchain solution to trace the production and sourcing of materials.