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CryptoLaw: The Business of Bitcoin - Apr 2018

1. Introduction

Since Bitcoin was introduced in 2008, it has continued to grow in popularity, public awareness and adoption. As of the time of writing, the market capitalisation of Bitcoin is almost USD$126 billion with an estimated 15 million users. With mixed reports as to the popularity of Bitcoin as a means of payment, the leading online payment gateway, Bitpay, was on track in December 2017 to process US$1 Billion in transactions per year.

Never before has the world seen such widespread and fast adoption of a socially agreed medium of exchange which is not backed by a government.

$1B lost: the 5 biggest cryptocurrency fails of 2017 - Jan 2018

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.

ASIC Guidance on cryptocurrency token sales: a ban or sensible regulation? - Sep 2017

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) yesterday issued a press release and guidance for those considering launching an Initial Coin Offering (ICO/Token Sales). Given the ease with which an ICO (also known as a Token Sale) can be launched, and the huge amounts raised to date (USD$2.115 billion this year alone) this guidance has been eagerly awaited from ASIC. 
Partner, Michael Bacina discusses.

Unlocking cryptocurrency token sales - Sep 2017

If it walks like a financial product, looks like a financial product and quacks like a financial product…

  • Token sales (also known as Initial Coin Offerings) offer a new form of fundraising which involve an exchange of fiat currency (US or Australian dollars for example) for a digital token. The sales are proving immensely popular with high risk investors.
  • Digital tokens generally fall within the category of either protocol tokens (such as Bitcoin) where the token itself has intrinsic value, asset-backed tokens (such as The DAO tokens) where a token holder is entitled to a real underlying asset, or access tokens (such as Golem) where tokens are used to access a network, often which has not yet been built.
  • There is a risk of token sales falling under securities law regulations, in addition to potential GST issues under the ‘Netflix tax’, which create uncertainty for businesses looking to harness this new source of potential funding.

Smart contracts in Australia: just how clever are they? - Aug 2017

Lawyers in practice today live in a world of ongoing disruption. As automation,  artificial intelligence and blockchain technology assists in reducing the costs of business transactions and increases the reliability of record keeping, the adoption of smart  contracts is an opportunity for lawyers to help their clients improve efficiency and to reduce the scope for disputes, and a challenge for lawyers who do not stay abreast of this area.

The 4 biggest security issues you need to understand before buying cryptocurrency or tokens - Jul 2017

Cryptocurrencies are finally getting significant press coverage as their prices rise and create huge gains for early investors. But there are some key security issues that any investor needs to consider before getting into this market.

Michael Bacina, Partner discusses.

Blockchain - Emerging Legal Issues - Oct 2015

The buzzword ‘fintech’ is pervasive in the financial and technology sectors. Blockchain is an exciting form of evolving technology that could upset the position of many traditional service providers such as banks and lawyers. 

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