Vermont has laid the foundation for a new type of business enterprise based on the emerging financial technology known as blockchain.

The law S.269, which Gov. Scott signed into law in May, is designed to encourage the emerging technology by creating two types of limited-liability companies based on blockchain technology.

The first company to take advantage of this new law has registered in Vermont.

Read more: Gravel & Shea Blockchain Attorney Talks With Rutland Herald About New Blockchain Law


Author: Adam Killip

At DQ, we are seeing a large number of enquiries from financial technology (Fintech) start-ups and entrepreneurs seeking to use the Isle of Man to launch digital token projects, by selling digital tokens or coins to investors. These relatively new methods of raising finance are commonly referred to as ‘token sales’ or ‘initial coin offerings’ (‘ICOs’) and effectively represent a new method of crowdfunding start-up projects and new business ventures using distributed ledger technology such as Blockchain or Ethereum.
The Isle of Man represents a very attractive choice for anyone looking to raise capital via a sale of digital tokens, for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the Isle of Man Government wants to encourage quality new business on the Island in this relatively new industry. A representative from the Department of Economic Development (soon to be re-named the Department for Enterprise), which is responsible for attracting inward investment to the Island, has publically stated that the Department is keen to attract reputable Fintech businesses to the Island (as reported recently on industry websites Bitcoin.com and Coindesk.com)

Read more: A token of appreciation – why the Isle of Man is at the forefront of the digital asset revolution


National legal news outlet Law360 recently spoke with Gravel & Shea Special Counsel David Thelander about the firm’s part in creating the first blockchain real estate transaction in the United States.

Thelander, who practices from both Vermont and San Francisco—where he can remain well connected with tech companies—began working with Propy almost a year ago. The real estate marketplace and title registry company hired Gravel & Shea to help create a blockchain real estate pilot program in Vermont.

Much of the work, Thelander said, involved helping local officials understand the benefits of a decentralized ledger. They focused on identifying real estate clerks with an “innovative spirit” and found them in South Burlington, Vermont.

In addition to helping get the pilot program off the ground, Gravel & Shea provided the standard real estate services for the transfer of the South Burlington condo, giving the documentation to Propy to enter into the blockchain system. As a former U.S. SEC lawyer, Thelander also assists the company with regulatory matters.

Read the entire article.


Author: Michael Bacina - Partner, Piper Alderman

2017 was a stellar year for cryptocurrency valuations in general and Bitcoin in particular. On 1 January 2017 the USD$ value of a Bitcoin passed USD$1,000 and one year later on 1 January 2018 the price was USD$13,700.

On 17 December 2017, Bitcoin reached an all time high price of $19,783.

But it hasn’t been plain sailing for the crypto ecosystem with a number of security breaches and exploits in 2017 showing how vulnerable operations can be to malicious actors.

The total value these hacks and fails on 1 January 2018 prices is just shy of USD$1 billion, an eye-watering USD$978M.

Amid all the excitement of prices soaring, the opportunity cost of cryptocurrency theft is significant and it is worth looking back over the following multimillion dollar hacks and failures as we go into the new year.

Read more: $1B lost: the 5 biggest cryptocurrency fails of 2017


Author: Michael Bacina - Partner, Piper Alderman

So what’s new?

1. Many ICOs are managed investment schemes

ASIC has emphasised that ICOs and cryptocurrency may be financial products in its recent update to information sheet 225 (INFO225). On 3 May 2018, ASIC updated its INFO225 which provides a timely reminder that ICOs may be managed investment schemes that require disclosure documents under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). The definition of “managed investment scheme” is quite broad in Australia and any rights described in the whitepaper that may arise in the future or on a contingency will be considered by ASIC when determining if an ICO is a managed investment scheme, shares, derivative or non-cash payment facility.

In early May, Australian betting platform Neds discontinued their ICO after the Australian Newspaper reported that ASIC considered Neds to be offering securities without complying with Chapter 6D of the Corporations Act and their whitepaper was potentially misleading and deceptive. Neds was looking to raise over $55 million in an ICO and promised that NedsCoin holders would receive a percentage of revenue each year. Clearly the features of this token indicated that the ICO was an offer of securities.

Read more: Top 5 must know ICO regulatory updates in Australia