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Gowling WLG delves into blockchain with launch of dedicated crypto legal team

October 23, 2017

Gowling WLG has become one of the first law firms in Canada to launch a dedicated Blockchain & Smart Contracts Group.

Comprising several specialist “crypto” teams with different legal focuses — including capital markets, tax, intellectual property and litigation — the group’s work centres on a range of areas related to blockchain technology, such as initial coin offerings (ICOs), smart contracts, crypto-currency exchanges, digital wallets, capital markets transactions, investment funds, regulatory compliance and consumer protection issues.

“More and more, our clients are recognizing the unprecedented opportunities for innovation and growth offered by blockchain technology,” said Usman Sheikh, Gowling WLG partner and head of the firm’s Blockchain & Smart Contracts Group in Canada. “However, as the regulatory space surrounding blockchain continues to mature, legal obstacles can make it difficult to fully embrace the benefits of the technology.

“Over the past several years, Gowling WLG has been at the forefront of the blockchain space. In that time, we’ve leveraged our sophisticated understanding of both the technology and the surrounding legal context to help numerous clients navigate this complex area. We look forward to building on that reputation by continuing to advise businesses, institutions and other organizations on their blockchain strategies.”

Gowling WLG has already distinguished itself as a market leader in blockchain in a number of ways. It is a co-founding member of the Blockchain Research Institute led by Don and Alex Tapscott, was instrumental in the public listing of the very first blockchain company in the world, and its experts are currently authoring The Law of Blockchain Technology (scheduled for publication by Thomson Reuters in 2018). In addition, the team is frequently called upon to brief and advise cabinet ministers, corporate executives and other senior influencers on the current state and future implications of blockchain technology in Canada and abroad.

In recent months, the firm has organized and sponsored a number of events tailored to educate attendees on both the opportunities and legal complexities surrounding blockchain, including the recent ETHWaterloo — the world’s largest Ethereum hackathon, which was attended by more than 400 leading developers from around the world and featured an address by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin.

Working closely with the firm’s broader Fintech practice and newly announced Insurtech Group, Gowling WLG’s Blockchain & Smart Contracts Group responds to a fast-changing legal landscape with creative solutions, technical know-how and unique regulatory insight. Learn more

For blockchain-related business queries, please contact Usman Sheikh, head of the firm’s Blockchain & Smart Contracts Group.

Upcoming Events

Blockchain Breakfast: Leading Movers and Key Developments (Nov. 2, 2017) – Gowling WLG’s Toronto office is hosting a breakfast session with pioneers in the blockchain community who will describe blockchain’s application to their businesses, followed by a legal update from Gowling WLG lawyers at the forefront of capital markets and litigation developments.

New Frontiers in Capital Innovation: ICOs (Nov. 16, 2017) – Gowling WLG’s Toronto office will be co-sponsoring an event with the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada on blockchain innovations and ICOs for investors, issuers, traders, key participants and stakeholders.

Blockchain Impact: Bootcamp & Event (Dec. 8, 2017) Gowling WLG’s Usman Sheikh will be speaking on blockchain regulatory developments at this event presented by Fintech Canada. 


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