How Not to Use a Crypto Lawyer

My team and I, we are crypto lawyers much of the time. We work in many other areas of technology law, but we spend a lot of time working on cryptocurrency projects. We know as much about blockchain, cryptocurrency, NFTs, and the like as any other crypto lawyers in the world (of whom there are currently precious few). We have been practicing law since long before the blockchain existed. Also, some if us, myself in particular, are former software engineers. So we can read your code. We get the joke.

We understand the compulsion to move fast with blockchain technology and the new business opportunities it enables. We understand the urge to really get out onto and beyond the bleeding edge and make a lot of money quickly. Unfortunately, that is 2017 crypto thinking and it got a lot of people in trouble and it still does.

We don’t do it that way anymore.

Do not come to your lawyers on the eve of your project launch looking for a quick opinion on your legal compliance. We will refuse.

Lawyers are not ATMs. We can’t sign-off on ill-prepared plans at the 11th hour. We cannot just rubber stamp your token. The process of building a token and related apps and use-cases must be handled with deliberation and serious attention to all applicable law. It is a long, organic, detailed, and meticulous process, and preferably one in which we lawyers are intimately involved from day one.

A legal opinion as to the compliance of your token is a document of significant moment and gravity. They take lots of time and resources and outright work. We charge *way* more money for them than you want to spend. But it’s worth it.

But if we are brought in at the last minute, we cannot help.

The SEC, IRS, and FINRA (among other) laws, rules, and regulations are serious as a heart attack, and their application to token sales and related crypto activities is an absolute certainty. You will go to jail if you get this wrong (as will we, if we are found to be working in concert with you, which we won’t, because we won’t, but you might).

Do not deploy your token in the U.S. if you have not had the benefit of legal counsel from its inception. You are possibly selling securities. You are possibly changing money. You are possibly defrauding investors. You might sneak by unnoticed, but you might go to jail. It’s not worth it.

We can help you do amazing things with crypto. We represent entrepreneurs of all stripes and so we have a strong, instinctive urge to just help you do whatever you want to do no matter what it takes and damn the torpedoes. We want to live in the world your vision represents!

But crypto legal compliance doesn’t permit that attitude. We have to slow down and work soberly and comprehensively. There is no last-minute checklist. Our advice is only competent if it is organically grown alongside the development of the token project.

If you want to do these projects, you will need to back up, take your time, work with us on the details of your strategy, and permit us to be involved from the very beginning so we can guide the effort to make it legally compliant. “We need to raise as much cash as we can now” should change to “We need to raise just enough capital from accredited investors to develop the project and it’s token for eventual release in a manner that is lawful after a few weeks or months so that we can make a ton of money thereafter.”

We don’t want to see you taking the perp walk in cuffs. And we hella will not be taking it alongside you. Federal prison is not our jam.

Build a business, not a pump-and-dump. Find us early. We can help you build something. We can’t put makeup on a pig.

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