“James Burnie and the gunnercooke team have been really helpful with getting everything in place quickly and smoothly for our NFT gaming project.”
Founder, Martian Premier League
"James Burnie is one of the few lawyers that I know who has extensive knowledge and experience in blockchain technology and crypto assets. This field is new and many lawyers struggle to understand the technology and the technical side of it. To be able to combine the technical knowledge with the a good understanding of the law is very rare. If you are looking for a top notch lawyer with technical knowledge on crypto currency and blockchain James is definitely the person to go to. I would definitely recommend James."
Head of Depositary Services (Director), Standish Management
"The Digital Assets industry is evolving at an unprecedented rate causing a need for firm legal advice. James Burnie and the team at Gunnercooke are amongst the few able to grasp how the legislation of tomorrow will look like today. Such insight combined with James´ understanding of Crypto Assets as a whole enables him to give incisive guidance on the right way forward in a cost-effective manner. I fully appreciate and trust the legal advice of James and his team having spanned several areas in relation to Digital asset and regulation."
Managing Director, GCEX
“Working with James Burnie on Monolith's regulatory compliance review was brilliant. He is a smart, competent lawyer that has a deep understanding of cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Over the past 3 years we have worked with a few of the leading law firms in the UK and he really stood out.”
Chief Commercial Officer, Monolith
“James was a pleasure to work with and always incredibly knowledgeable, direct and honest with his advice. He was brilliantly suited to advise on our novel project - we were tokenising shares through a security token offering. I have since used James’s advice for other projects and I would recommend him highly.”
Dream Up Adventures
“James is one of the advisers we work with who has a full understanding of the technology, but also the regulatory constraints, tax considerations and most importantly, from our perspective, market infrastructure. In the emerging world of digital securities it is incredibly helpful to work with people who understand how these elements interconnect.”
Head of Strategy at MERJ Exchange
"James Burnie is one of the few lawyers I’ve come across and worked with that’s really switched on when it comes to cryptoassets, DeFi and blockchain. He has a deep and broad knowledge of these nascent markets and the technology infrastructure it was built on which makes him invaluable given its complexity. His work for Trustology has shown that he is able to think pragmatically and outside the box to help with complex issues, and he provides a superb level of service as our trusted advisor.”
Founder and CEO, Trustology
"It has been a breath of fresh air to work with lawyers that can cut through the fog that many people seem blinded by regarding around anything "blockchain" or "crypto" related."
7 Sigma FinTech
"On crypto matters, we use James. He can help us on FCA applications. He's an affable individual and is very knowledgeable in this area."
"James has a readiness to answer our questions, a willingness to expand on his points to ensure our full understanding, and responds to ensure we are extremely satisfied with the level of service he delivers."
Chambers FinTech Guide 2022
James advises a wide range of firms on financial services regulation and FinTech. He advises financial institutions on all aspects of EU and UK financial regulation. This includes advisory, project and transactional work in connection with the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, the Capital Requirements Directive and Regulation, the FCA Handbook and PRA Rulebook (including conduct of business obligations and financial promotions), the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive and regulatory perimeter questions.
James’s cryptoassets and blockchain work is award winning, receiving runner-up at the Crypto A.M. Awards 2020, “Standout” at the FT Innovation in Legal Expertise Awards 2018; “Highly Commended” at the FT Innovative Lawyers Awards 2017 and “Highly Commended / Runner Up” at Legalweek: The British legal Awards 2017.
He has an MA in Law from Cambridge University, and a specialist corporate and commercial LLM from the London School of Economics, where his specialisms included Information Technology and the Law. James has lectured with LexisNexis, and publishes on FinTech matters, including with the Journal of International Banking and Financial Law.
- FCA and PRA authorised firms.
- FinTech companies.
- Participants across the blockchain ecosystem, including token developers, cryptoasset custodians, blockchain platforms, crypto-exchanges, exchanges run using distributed leger technology, crypto-custodians, crypto-brokers and crypto-funds.
- Robo-advisors and those setting up automated advice / robo-advice solutions.
- Firms offering investments, including providing investments in an ISA wrapper.
- Funds and asset managers.
- Investment firms.
- On the acquisition of FCA and PRA authorised companies.
- Advised on the first successful Initial Coin Offering in the UK.
- Advised on the first equity issuance settled on the blockchain.
- Advised a regulator on setting up a sandbox.
- Provided evidence to the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blockchain on how to make the UK a leading blockchain economy.
- Advised on setting up of one of the first tokenised gold trading platforms.
- Advised a range of firms on setting up crypto brokerage and custody platforms, including providing advice on the implications of facilitating different tokens, providing opinions to banks regarding the acceptability of different firm models, and drafting terms and conditions and policies.
- Assisted five firms in navigating through the FCA sandbox.
- Advising a high street bank on creating a financial management App to encourage saving using nudge principles.
- Advising on funds on setting up structures for tokenising fund units.
- Advising on the acquisition of the PRA authorised bank.
- Advising a range of banks on updating their agreements to comply with the PRA’s outsourcing rules and requirements.
Previous Law Firms
- Eversheds Sutherland, Head of Blockchain and Cryptoassets (2019 to 2020)
- Eversheds, Associate (2015 to 2019)
- Norton Rose, Trainee (2013 to 2015)
- Editor, Frontiers in Blockchain
- Lecturer, Henley Executive Hedge Fund Spring Programme
- Member of the Convergence Alliance
- Accelerated LPC, BPP London (2012)
- London School of Economics, L.L.M. (corporate and commercial), 2010-2011
- University of Cambridge (Christ’s College), M.A. (Law), 2007-2010
- Manchester Grammar School, 2000 – 2007
James regularly lectures on FinTech, is co-author of both the RegTech book and the PayTech books whose authorship is crowd-sourced through a voting process and has published on blockchain with the Journal of International Banking and Financial Law. James is co-author of the UK chapter in the First Edition of the Financial Technology Law Review, and co-published the first function-based cryptoasset taxonomy in peer reviewed academic journal Ledger.
James is regularly quoted as an expert in the press, including by Ignites Europe (Financial Times), Regulatory Intelligence and Compliance Complete (Thompson Reuters), Law 360 and the New Money Review. He has given evidence to the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blockchain and Cryptoassets, and is a named contributor to the UKJT legal statement on cryptoassets and smart contracts. He regularly publishes in the Journal of International Banking and Financial Law and has a podcast.