Blockchain & Smart Contracts


Blockchain technology is dramatically transforming the way we do business, particularly in the areas of financial services, securities, and corporate transactions. However, both the technology and the laws governing it are highly complex, requiring sophisticated legal and technical expertise - and an insider's understanding of the ever-evolving regulatory space.

Gowling WLG is home to Canada's leading blockchain legal practice, comprising lawyers who are expertly qualified to advise clients on a broad range of legal issues related to blockchain technology. From initial coin offerings to consumer protection issues, our team can help you overcome the latest challenges and take advantage of new opportunities.

Here are just a few examples of what sets us apart when it comes to blockchain and smart contracts:

Blockchain pioneers

Gowling WLG leads the industry in blockchain expertise. We are the only international law firm to be a founding partner and co-founding member of the Blockchain Research Institute, a multi-million dollar knowledge network led by Don and Alex Tapscott that studies the strategic implications of blockchain alongside the Bank of Canada, Nasdaq, the TMX Group, IBM, KPMG, Bell Canada and others.

Gowling WLG has also broken new ground in the listing of the first blockchain company in the world, and one of our practitioners coordinated the very first token sale offered as a security by way of an Offering Memorandum across Canada in accordance with Canadian securities laws.

In addition, our team is often called upon to brief and advise cabinet ministers, mayors and other high-ranking corporate executives on the state of blockchain technology in Canada and around the world. Members of our team are also authoring The Law of Blockchain Technology, an in-depth book that will be published by Thomson Reuters in 2018.

Full service offering

Our Blockchain & Smart Contracts Group offers clients a broad range of legal services to help them overcome the latest challenges and take advantage of new opportunities. Our experienced lawyers frequently advise on blockchain matters related to:

  • Initial coin offerings (ICOs)
  • Crypto-currency exchanges
  • Digital wallets
  • Securities law compliance
  • Capital markets transactions (e.g., underwriting and going public transactions and crowdfunding/online investment platforms)
  • Investment fund formation
  • Business operations
  • Tax
  • Anti-money laundering (AML)/know your client (KYC) compliance
  • Litigation
  • M&A and other corporate transactions
  • Patents and other intellectual property matters
  • Consumer protection compliance
  • Banking law
  • Real estate law

In addition, our practitioners are working on matters that touch on blockchain's foundational impact on identity, provenance, fraud suppression, cybersecurity, supply chain management and the internet of things, as well as blockchain's disruptive implications for such diverse domains as finance, insurance, law, healthcare, accounting, real estate, entertainment and law enforcement.

Our clients include leading digital wallets, crypto-currency exchanges, investment funds seeking to invest in crypto-currencies or crypto-assets, and key blockchain pioneers.

Global reach

With offices in 18 cities in Canada, the U.K., Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and an extensive referral network spanning more than 30 countries, Gowling WLG is equipped to support your domestic and cross-border blockchain legal needs in jurisdictions around the world.

Thought leaders

Our lawyers are blockchain thought leaders and are sought-after speakers at key blockchain industry events and conferences in Canada and internationally. Gowling WLG has also hosted a number of its own well-attended blockchain seminars for clients.

Click here to view recent Gowling WLG articles on blockchain

Unmatched legal team

Our team comprises seasoned practitioners from all legal disciplines, including capital markets, financial services, tax, and intellectual property. Our top-ranked litigation team, in particular, includes leading commercial litigators, former prosecutors at the Ontario Securities Commission and former Crown Attorneys. Our lawyers have also developed exceptionally strong relationships with government agencies, including through their work on significant regulatory committees such as the Ontario Securities Commission Securities Advisory Committee and the Small and Medium Enterprises Committee.


Learn more

To find out more about how we can help you with your blockchain-related legal matters, please contact any member of our team.