The confluence of technology and law
The rise of blockchain technology over the past several years has introduced endless possibilities for business applications, stretching far beyond financial transactions and bitcoin. The technology offers immutable, fast, secure and transparent solutions that allow transactions and agreements to happen without the “middleman,” thereby cutting cost and simplifying the process. According to John Wagster, co-chair of FBT’s Blockchain team, “It’s only a matter of time before everyone uses blockchain technology for many of their business transactions, including contracts and agreements.”
Since the beginning of 2017, FBT has assisted scores of companies with Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), Token Generation Events (TGEs) and the commercialization of blockchain-based distributed applications (Dapps). The firm has also assisted in the creation of crypto-currency denominated hedge funds and other creative investment vehicles. As part of its expertise, the firm regularly assists with the preparation of token presale and sale agreements, securities analysis (including representation of ICOs before the Securities and Exchange Commission), commodities analysis, compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act, AML (anti-money laundering)/KYC (know your customer) compliance, Money Services Business (MSB) registration, Money Transmitter licensing, and the drafting of complex commercial agreements specific to the evolving cryptocurrency ecosystem.
The firm recently completed a prototype of a self-enforcing smart contract that can be used specifically in software escrow agreements, but which is representative of the type of smart contracts that are likely to become common fixtures in the legal world. The project was spearheaded by Kevin Shook (Litigation), Matt Schantz (IP), Dan Duncan (Head of Technology), and Ron Benedict (Lead Blockchain Programmer).
FBT’s blockchain team is nationally active in the blockchain community, including being members the Lawyers’ Committee of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, the Tennessee Blockchain Alliance and the Digital Currency and Ledger Defense Coalition.
FBT’s 18-member Blockchain team is strengthened by its multidisciplinary background, which is so often required by the technology. In addition to those already mentioned, team members include: Gray Sasser (Securities); Bill Repasky (AML/KYC); Matthew Delaney and Doug Gastright (IP); Anthony Cotto (Insurance); Steve Embry and Michael Nitardy (Litigation); Alex Fisher (Health Care); Howard Herndon, Courtney Rogers and Ben Katz (Corporate); and Ted King (Finance).