Crypto and digital assets lawyers
We help individuals and businesses successfully navigate blockchain, cryptocurrency and the decentralized finance ecosystem.
From cryptocurrency, stable coins, NFTs and wallets to decentralized exchanges, payment networks, lending and insurance platforms, blockchain infrastructure developments, marketplaces, and investment engines, the decentralized finance (‘DeFi’) ecosystem heralds a new and exciting era in global finance.
Our multi-disciplinary blockchain, cryptocurrency and DeFi lawyers advise issuers, innovators, investors, promoters, asset managers, family offices, and exchanges on securities, corporate, tax, regulation, compliance, dispute resolution, data privacy, cyber security, family law, estate planning and charitable giving matters. With a global team of more than 100 cryptocurrency and digital assets lawyers across the US, Europe, and Asia Pacific, our clients range from major cryptocurrency exchanges, companies launching initial coin offerings (‘ICOs’) or initial exchange offerings (‘IEOs’) companies innovating in new areas on the blockchain, to veteran investors building robust asset and succession structures for their accumulated wealth, and new investors in cryptocurrencies and tokens.
Deep Market insight
We speak the language of DeFi, both legally and technically. We grasp and have even helped develop the technology underlying innovations in blockchain and digital assets. We deal with cryptocurrencies, tokens, consensus-based algorithms, and smart contracts on a regular basis for our clients. Our global team also understands and can address the legal and compliance requirements of next-generation supply chain ecosystems that utilize AI, internet of things (“IoT”), sensors and smart contracts. Together these interoperable ecosystems are the foundation of the next generation global economy.
Crypto and fintech disputes and regulatory advice
Our crypto and digital assets team provides bespoke regulatory, litigation and arbitration services for clients in DeFi, crypto and fintech. We know and navigate the existing and rapidly evolving regulatory framework facing individuals and entities operating in this fast-pacedspace. We represent individuals and entities in civil litigation and arbitration across the globe. We regularly appear before courts, regulators, prosecutors, and agencies around the world, such as the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (‘SEC’), Commodity Futures Trading Commission (‘CFTC’), Internal Revenue Service (‘IRS’), and Department of Justice ('DOJ'), the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the UK Financial Conduct Authority (‘FCA’), and many more.
We advise clients regarding compliance with securities, commodities, tax, anti-money laundering, banking and privacy laws and regulations, including, among others:
- US FinCEN Money Services Business registrations and AML/KYC compliance
- US SEC exempt securities offerings (Regulation A, D, CF exemptions)
- US SEC Howey test interpretation
- US state “Blue sky” and Gaming laws and regulations
- California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
- EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- EU Anti-Money Laundering Regulations (e.g. 5AMLD)
- EU – Markets in Crypto Assets report/legislation
- OECD Crypto Asset Reporting Framework report/proposed legislation
- UK Financial Services and Markets Act 2000
- UK The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Regulated Activities) Order 2001 (UK)
- UK Money Laundering Regulations 2017
- UK E-money Regulations 2011
- UK Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II
- UK Payment Services Regulations 2017
- Singapore Payment Services Act (PSA)
- Singapore and Hong Kong Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counterterrorist-Financing (CTF) rules/ ordinance
- Singapore Securities and Futures Act (including the Capital Markets Services license and MAS Sandbox)
- Hong Kong SFC’s Regulatory Framework for Virtual Asset Portfolios Managers, Fund Distributors and Trading Platform Operators
How we can help you
- Reviewing cryptocurrencies and tokens from a global securities law perspective
- Designing tokens, issuance and software development structures
- Tax advice
- Structuring pre-mine allocation and vesting arrangements
- Negotiating and preparing agreements with VCs, their advisors, and other external stakeholders
- Reviewing ICO/IEO documentation including T's & C's, information disclosures, privacy statements taking into account the new EU MICA report requirements
- Advising on local and global AML and KYC requirements, and ICO/IEO participation restrictions
- Assisting with ongoing corporate secretary, advisory and IP requirements
- Litigation and Regulatory advocacy and defense
- Reputation Management
- Advising on the business and process implications of the EU MICA and OECD CARF reports, including the data privacy implications of the increased KYC/AML requirements.
- IP protection
- Company formation and tax planning
- Compliance with regulatory, licensing and other obligations
- Jurisdictional choices for tax and regulatory optimization
- Security and privacy review
- Litigation and Regulatory advocacy and defense
- Reputation Management
Promoters and investors
- Developing tax effective ownership structures
- Advising on the taxation of trading gains and income from staking, forging, lending, airdrops and hard forks
- Designing asset protection and estate planning structures
- Family law advice
- Advising on information exchange and reporting requirements
- Reviewing OTC brokerage and escrow arrangements
- Audit defense
- Litigation, and regulatory advocacy and defense
- Reputation management
- Developing cryptocurrency focused fund structures
- Reviewing fund offering and subscription materials
- Assisting with distribution and licensing requirements
- Tax advice on trading gains and performance fees
- Litigation and regulatory advocacy and defense
- Reputation management
- Corporate formation, employment advice, intercompany agreements, etc.
- Tax structuring
- Regulatory advice
- Website compliance issues
- Litigation, and regulatory defense
- Reputation management
Crypto and digital assets: finding a friendly home
Financial regulators around the world have targeted crypto companies for regulatory violations and the environment in a number of major jurisdictions is growing increasingly hostile to digital asset businesses. We look at the alternatives in key jurisdictions.
Innovative foodtech startup
Advising an innovative foodtech startup on the implementation of blockchain technology in the supply chain.
Advised Tokocrypto on the launch of their new token, TKO in Indonesia
The monumental ICO broke several records, being the largest ICO featured on the Binance Launchpad, with 10.2 BNB committed, USD 4.2 billion committed and 201,406 participants in total. Tokocrypto is the first regulated cryptocurrency exchange in Indonesia, and the first Indonesian digital assets exchange to be invested by a global exchange (Binance). We have also been advising Tokocrypto on its Indonesian operations
California based cryptocurrency company
Withers represented our client in litigation involving the client’s former employee’s disclosure of the physical address of the business’s headquarters. In a precedent setting decision, the court ruled that the physical address associated with a business may qualify as a trade secret and a former employee could be liable under the Defend Trade Secrets Act for their public disclosure of the company's address.
Advised an US ex pat on tax and reporting of cryptocurrency assets
We advised a high net worth US citizen residing in the UK on tax and reporting around their cryptocurrency investments.
Advised Hong Kong client on personal and crypto business planning
We assisted a local Hong Kong client who runs a crypto assets trading company with his pre-UK immigration tax and residence planning and Hong Kong profits tax analysis. The trading company is based in an offshore jurisdiction with servers across the world. From a UK perspective, we provided advice on management and control issues of overseas companies, how Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will tax transactions involving crypto assets trading that are undertaken by companies as well as how HMRC tax individuals who own crypto assets. We analysed these issues alongside the client’s personal tax and residence issues to ensure coherent planning that takes into account personal planning and the crypto business planning.
From a Hong Kong perspective, we provided tax and regulatory advice and analysed under what circumstances the Hong Kong Inland Revenue Department would tax profits made by the offshore trading company and whether the trading requires prior authorisation from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.
Aiding US taxpayers with IRS compliance and audits
Withers tax controversy team represented holders of cryptocurrency to address tax compliance matters with the US Internal Revenue Service. We obtained stellar results for taxpayers who received IRS crypto currency letters notifying them of potential compliance issues, and those who have progressed to formal audits. We have also represented cryptocurrency holders to voluntarily correct tax non-compliance in amnesty filings and reasonable cause filings to minimize penalty exposure.
Bank Secrecy Act, FBAR compliance and reduction of penalties for clients with novel offshore cryptocurrency arrangements
Withers tax controversy team worked with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) on behalf of clients with novel offshore cryptocurrency arrangements to establish Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) compliance, resulting in a seven figure reduction of possible penalties.
Counsel to witness in ICO investigation
Successfully navigated witness through US Securities and Exchange Commission initial coin offering investigation.
Represented leading cryptocurrency company in breach of contract action
Secured dismissal of former trading desk chief operating officer’s breach of contract action.
Tax and charitable planning for US bitcoin and cryptocurrency investor
We provided estate and charitable planning advice to a US-based investor in bitcoin and cryptocurrency.
SEC ICO investigation
Successfully navigated witness through SEC ICO investigation.
Secured dismissal of former trading desk COO
Secured dismissal of former trading desk COO’s breach of contract action against leading fintech company.
US litigation counsel for the world’s longest standing crypto exchange
We serve as US litigation counsel for the worlds longest standing crypto exchange and advise on contract and fraud matters as well as advise the company’s board and executives regarding US regulatory issues and regarding a cross-border litigation.
Won motion to compel against Glassdoor, Inc.,
Won motion to compel against Glassdoor, Inc., forcing Glassdoor to turn over identification information regarding anonymous individuals that posted reviews in violation of non-disparagement and confidentiality provisions in severance agreement.
Withers talks: cryptocurrency
Whether you are new to cryptocurrencies or a seasoned investor, if you are involved from a commercial or enterprise standpoint, and no matter where in the world you are based, this cryptocurrency podcast series has something for you. Members of Withers’ global crypto and digital assets team discuss key topics and questions right now related to cryptocurrency for both individual investors and enterprises.
6 December 2023 | Article
Cryptocurrency in Hong Kong: useful guidance from the family court on issues of disclosure and wanton spending
12 October 2023 | Article
MiCA Compliance – key issues and what they mean for a crypto business operating in the EU.
6 October 2023 | Article
Incoming new rules and restrictions for marketing cryptoassets to UK consumers: what do you need to know?
25 September 2023 | Article
UK planning for the (digital) afterlife – what happens to your digital assets on death?
Typical clients and industries include
FoundersFrom advising on tax or global expansion, helping company founders realise their vision is an important aspect of our work. Find Out More
Public companiesPublicly traded companies face many challenges. As a full-service, truly international law firm we offer support with day-to-day operations as well as advice on exceptional situations. Find Out More
Talent and creativesWe help leading figures from the worlds of sport, music, art and fashion to deal with the implications of their success – advising on everything from tax and trusts to sponsorship agreements. Find Out More
How else can we help?
We offer a full range of services to individuals and businesses. Find out how we can help you solve challenges and maximize opportunities.
Get in touch
Our website will give you a flavour of the advice we provide - if you would like to talk to us for more information, please contact our client services team who will be happy to assist.