Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin

Cryptocurrency — and decentralized ledger technology more generally — is an exciting evolution in FinTech. Bitcoin is the world’s first completely decentralized, convertible digital currency. The potential of bitcoin and other altcoins to disrupt the financial world, empower consumers, and enfranchise the unbanked is immense.

Innovators and entrepreneurs have only started to scratch the surface of what this technology can offer. We help our clients navigate the dynamic environment in this market space. We provide guidance in several interrelated areas:

  • Criminal and regulatory matters, including anti-money laundering and counter-terrrorist financing issues

    Our clients look to us for expert advice on the federal Criminal Code and the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, both of which contain important provisions covering cryptocurrency enterprises. A client’s AML–CTF obligations in this sector can be critical, and we help people understand and meet them. We also advise on other federal and provincial legislation impacting the bitcoin space.

  • Jurisdictional selection

    Where and how to incorporate or form a bitcoin business can be a key driver for the bottom line. We help our clients weigh the complex factors driving these decisions, and we create and implement structures to leverage global jurisdictions to meet their objectives.

  • Cross-border M&A transactions

    International transactions can be keys to growth and consolidation. They also require detailed review and understanding to avoid pitfalls and maximize value, especially in the cryptocurrency space. We are qualified in both Canada and the United States, have worked on a global scale, and bring valuable knowledge and perspectives to our clients’ seed and Series A (and subsequent) rounds and cross-border deals.

  • Tax strategy and planning

    Tax strategy is an important commercial consideration. We rely on our extensive legal and accounting experience to formulate plans that give proper weight to tax planning and operations. We can optimize a bitcoin client’s international tax position in a number of contexts, including M&A transactions, transfer pricing, human resource structuring, and IP deployment.

  • Private law cryptocurrency issue

    To date, most of the attention has been focused on the public law of cryptocurrency. While important, we believe that private law issues continue to be critical. This includes cryptocurrency as money, property, assets, and negotiable instruments. We help our clients design and execute transactions that appropriately leverage these concepts.

  • Banking access and partnerships with legacy financial systems

    Working with legacy financial actors can be difficult but may be necessary. We help cryptocurrency clients understand if and how they need to access these relationships and then build partnerships to get the job done.

Bitcoin Law Publications

University of BirminghamThe Law of Bitcoin in Canada
Presentation to the Controlling Cryptocurrencies Conference at the University of Birmingham, England
June 12, 2015
[External Link:]
CBA National MagazineWhat does ‘de-risking’ mean for bitcoin?
CBA National Magazine
November 2014
[External Link:]
CBA National MagazineFollow the Money: Bitcoin and its revolutionary Potential for lawyers
CBA National Magazine
October 2014
[External Link:]
Bitcoin EmbassySenate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce
Study on the Use of Digital Currency
October 2014
[External Link:]
CBA National MagazineCryptocurrency & lawyers: Why lawyers should accept bitcoin
CBA National Magazine
July 2014
[External Link:]
Canadian Lawyer MagazineCryptocurrency! On the future of bitcoin
Canadian Lawyer Magazine
June 2014
[External Link:]
Bitcoin EmbassyiGaming and Digital Currencies
Panel at Bitcoin 2014, Amsterdam
May 2014
[External Link:]
CBA National MagazineBitcoin and the age of smart contracts
What are smart contracts and what do they mean for lawyers?
CBA National Magazine
March 2014
[External Link:]
Huffington Post CanadaHas Canada put a question mark over bitcoin?
The Huffington Post Canada
January 2014
[External Link:]
Bitcoin London 2013Bitcoin Regulatory and Legal Challenges
Panel at Bitcoin 2013, London
July 2013
[External Link:]
Gaming Counsel Professional CorporationSelected Canadian Tax Aspects of Bitcoin
Presentation at Bitcoin 2013: The Future of Payments, San Jose, California
May 2013
[PDF Link]