Digital Assets & Blockchain
DWT's digital assets and blockchain team is an industry leader when it comes to advising clients on the many different facets of digital assets, including cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, NFTs, and the blockchain technology that powers them. Because these products are connected and cross-disciplinary, attorneys from different corners of the firm—including financial services, intellectual property, media and entertainment, and energy—have teamed up to provide the specialized and tailored expert advice that our clients demand.
Banking and Securities
We advise banks and other financial services companies that offer cryptocurrency products and services, take custody of digital assets, or implement blockchain-based platforms. Our work in this space includes:
- Advising on how to structure new products and services for compliance with federal and state banking laws and regulations, as well as BSA/AML requirements
- Analyzing whether licenses or registrations are required under federal and state laws and filing applications when needed
- Negotiating partnership and platform agreements with service providers
- Applying or filing for bank or trust charters, Federal Reserve master account access, and charter conversions
- Drafting internal compliance policies, procedures, and user terms of service
We use our depth of knowledge and expertise in the technology market to help companies develop, utilize, procure, and integrate with the technologies and platforms that enable access to blockchain technology. We also help clients navigate the intellectual property, privacy, and data security issues that arise when operating in the blockchain space. This includes:
- Quickly understanding and translating technical concerns into contractual protections, helping products get to market fast
- Drafting complex hosting and services agreements for emerging technologies, such as cloud-based services, SaaS, and Blockchain-as-a-Service
- Assisting providers of technology solutions directed to the crypto asset industry with the development of standard contracting frameworks; the negotiation of customer agreements, including with financial institutions and crypto asset exchanges; and data usage rights and obligations
- Assisting with the structuring of crypto asset wallet relationships
- Drafting and advising on privacy policies and terms of service tailored to blockchain technology, such as NFT marketplace platforms and supply chain management
- Assisting with NFT offerings and related agreements, such as term sheets, licensing, and EULAs
We counsel clients on leveraging cryptocurrencies to power payments, including:
- Merchants that want to accept cryptocurrency as a payment method
- FinTechs that want to enable end users to transact in cryptocurrency
- Metaverses and gaming platforms that want to incorporate cryptocurrency and other digital assets within their virtual environments
We help companies protect and leverage their blockchain-related assets, whether it be their brands, software, or innovations. Our team of IP professionals is ready to help clients:
- Develop comprehensive IP protection programs
- Provide training to ensure that IP assets are identified and protected via patent, trademark, trade secret, and/or other mechanisms
- Prepare IP license and related agreements for both content owners and platforms looking to leverage such IP by minting and selling NFTs
- Review digital assets to be used in NFTs prior to release and counseling on trademark, copyright, and right of publicity issues
- Review and draft agreements with entertainers and athletes regarding grants of name, image, and likeness rights
- Run trademark searches and counsel on uses within NFTs and in advertising and marketing for the business
- Acquire and manage worldwide portfolios of IP assets
- Enforce IP rights through a variety of mechanisms
Litigation, Enforcement, and Supervision
Our integrated team of intellectual property, financial services, and complex commercial litigators has represented clients of all sizes and industries before government agencies, courts, and arbitration venues. We combine seasoned litigators with subject matter specialists to:
- Understand the technology and interplay with emerging laws to defend against and prosecute IP infringement and complex blockchain-related issues
- Understand your business and tell a consistent story that highlights your company's benefit and role in the financial ecosystem
- Minimize litigation stress and uncertainty
- Staff your matter efficiently and leanly, with skilled attorneys who know your case, your industry, and who stay one step ahead of your opponent
Policy and Legislation
We provide technical assistance to legislative staff and work with various trade associations, crypto companies, FinTechs, and financial institutions to:
- Ensure compliance with existing regulations
- Monitor developments on legislative initiatives, including the submission of comments on proposed guidance and regulations
- Engage with regulators and policymakers about novel crypto-related issues and related supervisory expectations
We counsel energy companies and end users on managing energy costs and reducing the carbon footprint of blockchain operations by:
- Contracting for renewable energy used in crypto mining operations
- Creating new tariffs to integrate crypto mining operations into utility service territories
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Banking & Securities
- Advised a federally insured financial institution on custody of crypto assets as permissible activity under the institution's charter type.
- Advised several broker-dealers, investment advisers, and FinTech companies on structuring novel platforms and financial instruments to meet their financial regulatory and compliance obligations.
- Assisted issuer to ensure its coin offering complied with U.S. Securities laws, including through an analysis of the Howey factors.
- Advised prominent and one of the original crypto exchanges and issuers on potential application of commodity and securities laws to its products and services.
- Advised several "de novo" cryptocurrency exchanges on compliance issues and vulnerabilities under BSA/AML laws, federal securities laws and state licensing requirements.
- Advised major investment bank on risks and potential crypto exposure in connection with bond offering of blockchain subsidiary where significant valuation of subsidiary in crypto holdings, blockchain assets.
- Assisted a depository institution to prepare for the possibility of crypto ransomware incidents.
- Represented cryptocurrency exchange in connection with fraudulent transfer activity and potential asset freeze.
- Represented major cloud technology and SaaS provider with blockchain consortia.
- Represented global film and television company on blockchain transactions for online gaming.
- Advised online bank regarding risk assessment arising from different banking products and services related to blockchain.
- Advised a non-U.S. bank in becoming a member of a major blockchain based interbank settlement consortium.
- Advised on NFT development and licensing for numerous major video game and mobile game companies, media content producers and advertisers.
- Advised blockchain media venture and content aggregator on smart-contract licensing solutions.
- Represented a technology service provider to the blockchain and crypto ecosystem in the development of customer agreements, negotiation of significant technology contracts, and enhancements to the client's clickwrap terms and conditions.
- Represented a technology in multiple transactions to convert a portion of its corporate treasury to digital assets to enhance yield and enhance treasury management.
- Advised client regarding solution enabling charities to accept cryptocurrency donations.
- Advised online retailers regarding cryptocurrency acceptance and negotiated related agreement.
Policy & Legislation
- Advised key stakeholders developing a country's virtual currency law to provide a regulatory framework for cryptocurrency mining and exchanges.
- Consulting with U.S. Congressional staff, the largest U.S. banking institutions, and European central banks on CBDC and stablecoins in response to DWT whitepaper.
- Advised Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on virtual currency pilot program developed to train IDB and International Monetary Fund on issues, considerations and challenges to implementing an IDB/IMF cryptocurrency.
Patents & Other IP
- Provided corporate and trademark counseling to startup focused on custody of digital assets.
- Filed over 300 patent applications for blockchain company related to blockchain/crypto.
- Filed hundreds of cryptography-related applications for major e-commerce marketplace.