Blockchain is one of the most revolutionary and disruptive technologies to emerge in recent times. It underpins the multi-trillion dollar cryptocurrency sector and powers many emerging financial services businesses with innovative offerings. Its cryptographically decentralised premise is also set to disrupt many other sectors in novel ways.
Blockchain technologies are still in their infancy, and industry and innovators continue to explore the cutting-edge ways they can be used. Already we’ve seen cryptocurrencies offering a decentralised means of exchange, non-fungible tokens allowing digital proof of ownership and creating secondary markets for digital assets, blockchain verified supply chains and distributed autonomous organisations offering a democratised approach to organisational governance and community creation. Sectors that heavily employ and rely on traditional payment methods are actively looking at supporting and implementing blockchain-enabled technologies to expand their reach.
In addition to disrupting the sectors they’re in, blockchain technologies are also disrupting the surrounding legal and regulatory frameworks. The existing rules just weren’t designed with blockchain in mind. This is forcing lawmakers and regulators globally to revisit the fundamental basis for regulated activities to account for these new code-based technologies. But as it is with anything new, this process takes time – particularly if regulators take a “wait and see” approach. Significant legal grey areas surrounding blockchain technologies will remain until more specific frameworks are enacted, presenting both challenges and opportunities to industry.
We love working with our clients to understand, embrace and exploit new blockchain-enabled use cases across the sectors we work in and with, including media and entertainment, video games, esports, payments, fintech, telecoms, online betting and gaming, IoT and digital infrastructure.
Our experience means we don’t just consider the specific question we may have been asked, but also the broader legal, regulatory and commercial issues arising from using blockchain technologies. The nature of blockchain technologies also means any meaningful analysis often requires a multi-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional approach which we provide through our extensive network of carefully selected national firms, encompassing corporate, investment advisory, consumer protection, data protection, tax, crypto-specific regulatory and commercial contracting, including any intersection with other well-established regulations affecting the relevant sector.
We can help with:
- Blockchain project legal and regulatory risk assessment, including token classification and guidance on potential regulatory treatment across multiple jurisdictions
- Creating and using NFTs, including agreements between NFT creators and original artists, NFT sale terms, marketplace terms, advertising issues and risks associated with selling NFTs featuring third party images
- The deployment of blockchain technology in video games and the novel challenges this creates, including interoperability, DAOs, breeding, treasuries, land-sales and guilds
- Commercial terms supporting the creation, use and distribution of blockchain-enabled technologies, including marketplace terms and conditions, software development agreements, terms and conditions of sale and app development terms
- Legal and regulatory considerations when establishing brands in the Metaverse
- Advertising and consumer regulatory issues associated with marketing tokens and NFTs, including for parties involved in supporting underlying technologies
- How cryptoassets are treated for tax purposes, including in respect of exchanging, minting and selling crypto and smart contract activities
No matter whether you’re a start-up or a global company, we’d be delighted to utilise our sector experience and legal expertise to help you.