Adam Garetson

Adam Garetson is a partner in Gowling WLG's Toronto office and a member of the firm's Blockchain & Smart Contracts and Technology Industry groups.

Pairing sophisticated experience in both Canada's finance and tech sectors, Adam helps both public and private businesses navigate the complex legal and commercial terrain surrounding blockchain technology and digital assets. In respect of this evolving space, clients routinely look to Adam to advise on a range of strategic corporate and financing transactions, both domestic and cross-border, and help them comply fully with their regulatory obligations.

Prior to joining Gowling WLG, Adam served as general counsel, chief legal officer and corporate secretary for a leading Canadian digital asset market infrastructure company, cryptocurrency marketplace and "decentralized finance" platform. He has also acted as president, director and "ultimate designate person" (UDP) of a Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) registered "crypto-asset trading platform" (CTP) restricted dealer. In these roles, Adam was instrumental in securing Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) listing, raising capital, effecting mergers and acquisitions, and overseeing corporate governance, internal reorganizations, marketing, continuous disclosure and regulatory compliance.

Adam also previously served as director and senior counsel at one of Canada's top global financial institutions for over five years, providing legal guidance and spearheading numerous initiatives related to blockchain and smart contract matters within its Capital Markets division.

Adam has additionally spent over five years at another large national law firm in Toronto, providing corporate and securities law advice to underwriters, broker-dealers, banks, financial institutions and public and private companies on a range of matters. These include public offerings, IPOs, private placements, qualifying transactions, bought deal financings, secondary offerings and share and asset purchase transactions.

A sought-after thought leader, Adam frequently engages directly with regulators and elected representatives at all levels on matters related to blockchain technology and digital assets, including with the Canadian Department of Finance, Members of Federal Parliament, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) and the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (CIRO, formerly IIROC).

Adam regularly speaks publicly on topics related to blockchain and digital assets, has acted as an expert witness to the Federal Government House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry and Technology (INDU) in connection with its study on blockchain technology, and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Ontario (Faculty of Law) teaching a course entitled "Digital Assets and Blockchain: Law and Policy."

These varied experiences have established Adam as a leader for clients navigating significant legal and regulatory hurdles and implementing important strategic decisions required for success in the blockchain and digital asset space.

  • Speaker. "Exploring Canada's Crypto Regulations: A Day in the Life of Canadian Crypto Asset Trading Platforms (CTPs) and Related Enforcement Decisions." The Canadian Institute's 28th Annual Flagship Conference on Regulatory Compliance for Financial Institutions (Nov. 17, 2022: Toronto)
  • Speaker. "Blockchain technology." House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry and Technology (INDU) 44th Parliament, 1st Session (Nov. 21, 2022: Ottawa)
  • Speaker. "Regulation: The Problems, Solutions, and Ensuring a Balance." Benzinga Fintech Deal Day Conference (Dec. 8, 2022: New York).
  • Speaker. "Forecast for Crypto Regulation in Canada: The Path to Regulatory Clarity for Cryptocurrencies and Other Digital Assets." The Canadian Institute's 22nd Annual Flagship Canadian Forum on Anti-Money Laundering & Financial Crime (June 7, 2023: Toronto).