Blockchain, cryptocurrency and decentralized finance

We help individuals and businesses successfully navigate blockchain, cryptocurrency and the decentralized finance ecosystem.

From cryptocurrency, stable coins, decentralized exchanges and wallets to payment networks, lending and insurance platforms, key infrastructural development, 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 and exchanges on securities, corporate, tax, regulation, compliance, dispute resolution, data privacy, cyber security, estate planning and charitable giving matters. With a global team of more than 30 cryptocurrency 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, veteran investors looking to build a more robust asset and succession structure for their accumulated wealth, and new investors in cryptocurrencies and tokens.

Market insight

We speak the language of DeFi, both legally and technically. We grasp and have even developed the technology underlying innovations in the space. We deal with cryptocurrencies, consensus-based algorithms, and smart contracts on a regular basis for our clients. Our global team also understands and can address all the legal and compliance requirements of pandemic-driven next-generation supply chain ecosystems that utilize artificial intelligence, internet of things (“IoT”) sensors and smart contracts. Together these interoperable ecosystems are the foundation of the next generation global economy.

Fintech disputes and regulatory services

Our team provides regulatory, litigation and arbitration services in the cryptocurrency and fintech space. We are experienced with the existing and changing regulatory framework applicable to individuals and entities operating in or adjacent to this growing area, and we represent individuals and entities in civil litigation and arbitration across the globe and before a wide range of courts, prosecutors, regulators and agencies such as the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (‘SEC’), the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (‘CFTC’), the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (‘IRS’), the Monetary Authority of Singapore, UK Financial Conduct Authority (‘FCA’) and many more.

Compliance services

We routinely advise clients regarding compliance with securities, commodities, tax, anti-money laundering, banking and privacy regulations, including, among others:

• US Money Services Business registrations
• US exempt securities offerings (Regulation A, D, CF exemptions)
• US state “Blue sky” laws and regulations
• California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
• EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
• EU Anti-Money Laundering Regulations (eg 5AMLD)
• 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

For further help or information

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04 March 2021 - Events

Webinar: the UK budget and tax policy 2021


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How we can help

Issuers

  • Reviewing the characterisation of a cryptocurrency or token from a global securities law perspective
  • Designing token issuance and software development entity structures
  • Advising on tax issues resulting from the issuance of tokens
  • Structuring pre-mine allocation and vesting arrangements
  • Preparing agreements with venture capital investors and related advisors, along with governance agreements with other external stakeholders
  • Reviewing ICO/IEO documentation such as terms and conditions, information disclosures and privacy statements
  • Advising on local and global anti-money laundering and know your client requirements and ICO/IEO participation restrictions
  • Assisting with ongoing corporate secretarial, advisory and intellectual property requirements
  • Reputation management and dispute resolution

Innovators

  • Intellectual property protection
  • Company formation, along with tax planning
  • Compliance with relevant regulatory, licensing and other obligations
  • Jurisdictional decision making for tax and regulatory maximization
  • Security and privacy review
  • Dispute resolution

Promotors and investors

  • Developing tax effective ownership structures for promotors and investors
  • Advising on the taxation of trading gains as well as income derived from staking, forging, lending, airdrops and hard forks
  • Designing asset protection and estate planning structures for promotors and investors
  • Advising on information exchange and reporting requirements
  • Reviewing OTC brokerage arrangements and escrow
  • Audit defense
  • Dispute resolution

Asset managers

  • Developing cryptocurrency focused fund structures
  • Reviewing fund offering and subscription material
  • Assisting with distribution and licensing requirements
  • Advising upon the taxation of trading gains and performance fees

Exchanges

  • Corporate formation, employment advice, intercompany agreements, etc.
  • Tax structuring
  • Regulatory advice
  • Website compliance issues
  • Dispute resolution

Main contact - US


Charles S. Kolstad - Partner

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Main contact - Europe


Tatiana Menshenina - Partner

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Main contact - Asia Pacific


Shaun Leong - Partner

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チーム紹介

Track record

California based cryptocurrency company

California based cryptocurrency company<br /> 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.

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.

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.

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. <br /> <br /> 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.

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.

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.

Counsel to witness in ICO investigation

Successfully navigated witness through US Securities and Exchange Commission initial coin offering investigation.

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.

Represented leading cryptocurrency company in breach of contract action

Secured dismissal of former trading desk chief operating officer’s breach of contract action.