Blockchain, Cryptoassets, Smart Contracts and DeFi

A first rate service at a sensible price



Get in touch

For further advice please contact us for a consultation.

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+44 (0)3330 143 401 info@gunnercooke.com

“Cryptographical solutions might with great propriety be introduced into academies as the means of giving tone to the most important of the powers of the mind” Edgar Allan Poe, 1841

Summary

We are a market leading blockchain, cryptoasset, smart contracts and DeFi team, being uniquely able to advise DeFi networks, token designers and developers, blockchain platforms, crypto-exchanges, exchanges run using DLT, crypto-custodians, crypto-brokers, crypto-funds, and other participants in the blockchain ecosystem. Our members have provided evidence to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blockchain, include named contributors to the UKJT statement on the proprietary nature of cryptoassets and have undertaken award winning FinTech work.

Our Philosophy

Often FinTech firms have difficulty with lawyers, from obtaining certainty over fee quotesto ensuring that their lawyer is set up to be able to progress matters as quickly as their businesses move. They need advisors who truly  understand the nature of the client’s business. Often lawyers over-complicate the legal and regulatory framework, without focussing on what is important.

Our team have been there from the start, with members having had experience working on the first successful initial coin offering in the United Kingdom and the first equity issuance settled on-chain. We prefer using fixed fees, to avoid surprises and so that we can focus on providing high quality advice. We have been heavily involved in helping shape the legal and regulatory framework for blockchain and cryptoassets, meaning that we have an intuitive understanding of the legal and regulatory framework in which our clients operate. We provide pragmatic, focussed advice designed to provide concrete solutions for our clients.

The regulatory landscape for new technologies is evolving quickly, and it can be difficult to keep track, so we set out below some resources which may be helpful. Please note, whilst the below links are intended to be helpful, the content is provided by third parties over whom we have no control, and as such we do not and cannot take responsibility for any reliance placed on the below. However, we would of course be happy to discuss any aspects of the below with you.

Classifying Cryptoassets

The starting point for any analysis of the regulatory treatment of a blockchain or cryptoasset model is to consider the fundamental nature of the token on offer. We have been involved in assessing this from the beginning, having published the first ever functional cryptoasset classification in Ledger (a peer reviewed academic journal published by the University of Pittsburgh), see “Developing a Cryptocurrency Assessment Framework: Function over Form”

Regulating cryptoassets, blockchain and DeFi

Whilst the regulatory landscape is complex, our experienced team quickly cut through the noise to focus on the issues that really matter to you. We set out below links to some useful documents for those working in the crypto ecosystem:

All About Us

We provide a full-service solution, assisting firms from start-ups and SMEs, to large multinational organisations and regulators. Highlights of work undertaken by team members include:

  • Providing evidence to the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blockchain on how to make the UK a leading blockchain economy.
  • Advised one of the first companies to become FCA authorised in the sandbox
  • Advised on the first successful Initial Coin Offering in the UK.
  • Advised on the first equity issuance settled on the blockchain.
  • Advising three crypto-custodians on various legal and regulatory aspects of their business.
  • Advised a regulator on setting up a sandbox.
  • 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
  • Drafting terms, conditions and policies for new firms.
  • Assisting five firms in navigating through the FCA sandbox.
  • Advising on funds on setting up structures for tokenising fund units.
  • Advising firm with issuing a bond linked to cryptoassets.

Testimonials

“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.”

Aysha Ali, Dream Up Ventures 

“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.”

Jim Needham, 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.”

Alex Batlin, Founder and CEO, Trustology

“James and I collaborated on an article for the Journal of International Banking & Financial Law, on the role of depositaries in safekeeping digital assets. James was great to work alongside and his technical knowledge in this area is second to none.”

Francesco Roda, Chief Risk Officer, Koine

“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.”

Jay Goss, 7 Sigma FinTech

Key contacts

Edward Black

Partner

Financial Services

James Burnie

Partner

Financial Services Regulation and FinTech

Paul Estlin

Partner

Financial Services

Veronika Koroleva

Partner

Commodities & Trade Finance and Receivables & Supply Chain Finance

Charlotte O Mara

Partner

Creative Industries - Music, Media & Art

Rachel Spink

Legal Counsel

Employment Law

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