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Sectors

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain


quotes Between 2012 and 2016 it is estimated that Irish based blockchain businesses received the greatest percentage of national venture capital investment of any northern European country. Between 2017 and mid-2018, the UK ranked third in the world for the number of blockchain companies having raised venture capital finance.

The cryptocurrency and blockchain sector is evolving at an unprecedented rate. Clients operating in this area need lawyers who understand the fundamentals as well as the technical language involved and who have the ability to address complex legal issues without the cost of extensive research and investigation. This is where our skill set at Philip Lee adds real value.

Based on statistics, the UK and Ireland are key jurisdictions in the development of the sector. The firm’s presence in both Dublin and London combined with the team’s cryptocurrency and blockchain experience, uniquely positions us to meet the ever changing demands of companies and individuals involved in this area.

A snapshot of the type of clients we work with include:

  • companies launching STOs (Security Token Offerings) as a private pre-sale or on a public basis or those engaging in IEOs (Initial Exchange Offerings);
  • individuals and venture capital funds investing in the space;
  • blockchain businesses partaking in a more traditional equity investment round.

In tandem with our growing network of cryptocurrency and blockchain advisors, we are also able to provide a full “turnkey” STO service that encompasses:

  • legal, regulatory/financial promotion compliance;
  • project strategy and marketing (including pre-STO launch strategy);
  • white paper/investor memorandum construction;
  • blockchain/technical architecture; and
  • fundraising.

We have the skills and experience to understand the technical details whilst seamlessly assisting you through the complex legal landscape that surrounds this sector.

Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10309 [post_author] => 9 [post_date] => 2020-01-08 11:31:07 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-01-08 11:31:07 [post_content] => Andrew Tzialli is a partner in the Corporate team and head of the firm’s Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Group. Andrew’s practice primarily involves working on corporate transactions, including private equity and venture capital investments, mergers and acquisitions, corporate re-structuring, corporate finance and banking. Many of the transactional matters Andrew works on are for clients that are involved in disruptive technologies, including blockchain, cryptocurrencies and eSports. As part of a series of interviews, Andrew has spoken with a range of businesses and organisations to explore the current blockchain landscape in Ireland and the UK. In the second instalment, he speaks with Brian Manning, CEO of ExSilico, about his experience of the blockchain environment, and the biggest challenges to blockchain adoption.   AT: Brian, thank you for joining us today. Firstly, can you tell us more about your business, the work you do and the verticals you operate in? BM: We are ExSilico - founded by myself, Clodagh McCarthy Luddy and Jon Centurino. We help our customers to secure their own high-value digital assets. Some of the verticals we operate in are digital asset custody, password management and secrets management. AT: Great. So, given there are a growing number of businesses looking to expand into this area, is there anything that makes your business different or unique? BM: Our focus on the secure backup, recovery and usage of high value digital assets is how we differentiate ourselves. We help our customers to identify choke points in their digital asset management systems and we fix them using our suite of tools. We are in the process of building out this suite into a product offering called Sharehold™. AT: Thanks. Moving on, what do you think are the biggest challenges that you are working through, that need to be overcome in order to achieve widespread adoption and understanding of your offering? BM: Education is our biggest challenge. It is all too common that individuals and organisations don’t appreciate cybersecurity threats until they really understand the dangers or worse - fall victim to them. Education is also a strength of ours and we are building a helpful knowledge base into our Sharehold™ product. AT: There are lots of platforms/framework options out there but, which ones are you utilising and why? BM: We are technology-agnostic and when it comes to blockchain we focus on cryptographic key management - which is a feature of all such platforms to date. Consequently, we don’t actually use any blockchain components in our own technology stack but we do interface with whatever blockchain our customers are working with. AT: Great, that certainly gives you some flexibility. Away now from Exsilico and on a personal level, what was your first experience of cryptocurrencies or blockchain? BM: I read the Bitcoin whitepaper early on and I was lucky that my previous interests and education in maths, cryptography and engineering allowed me to quickly understand it (on a technical level at least!). AT: Given the complexities of the sector, that combination of interests and skill sets would certainly put you in a strong position to be a leader in the field! Given your experiences, do you have a sense of the unique challenges that blockchain businesses face in Ireland (if any)? BM: I’m not so sure that there are any unique challenges to blockchain business that are not experienced by other Irish businesses and start-ups in particular. I think raising adequate funds, especially for early stage ventures in a nascent industry, is the challenge faced by all. AT: So on that point, do you have a feel for the appetite from investors/VC’s in Ireland to look at blockchain based businesses? BM: We have our own sense of it certainly, though we haven’t spoken to everyone yet. As above, I think the inherent risk associated with a nascent industry and early stage ventures is a cause for reasonable apprehension from local, and indeed, foreign investors. Our own focus is on cybersecurity - an area which is seeing plenty of growth and investment, including in Ireland. AT: All start-ups face challenges in their growth cycle but what do you think are your biggest business challenges in the next 12-18 months? BM: Ramping up our customer base and helping people to understand that they can reduce stress that they don’t necessarily know they have - the constant worry that they might lose their digital assets. AT: And finally, going 5 years into the future, how widespread will blockchain be adopted in Ireland? BM: We don’t predict the future, we’re just building it!  AT: Excellent! Is it too soon to award you with the answer of the year?! Thanks Brian, I have no doubt you and your team will play a significant role in the sector, in the years to come.   To find out more about Andrew Tzialli and the services offered by Philip Lee please click here.   For further information on ExSilico or on anything referenced above, please contact Brian Manning. [post_title] => Blockchain Interview Series – Part 2 [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => blockchain-interview-series-part-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-01-08 12:56:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-01-08 12:56:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.philiplee.ie/?p=10309 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )

Andrew Tzialli is a partner in the Corporate team and head of...

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Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 10112 [post_author] => 9 [post_date] => 2019-11-27 11:39:19 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-11-27 11:39:19 [post_content] => Andrew Tzialli is a partner in the Corporate team and head of the firm’s Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Group. Andrew’s practice primarily involves working on corporate transactions, including private equity and venture capital investments, mergers and acquisitions, corporate re-structuring, corporate finance and banking. Many of the transactional matters Andrew works on are for clients that are involved in disruptive technologies, including blockchain, cryptocurrencies and eSports. As part of a series of interviews, Andrew will talk to a range of businesses and organisations to explore the current blockchain landscape in Ireland and the UK. In the first instalment, he speaks with Fiona Delaney, CEO and Founder of Origin Chain Networks, about her experience of the blockchain environment, and the biggest challenges to blockchain adoption.     AT: Fiona, thanks for talking to us today. To start, can you tell us more about your business, the work you do and the verticals you operate in?  FD: Sure. Origin Chain Networks bring the benefits of emerging technologies to the agri-food sector. We enable digital supply transparency to foster consumer trust and assurance. We are committed to delivering our services in a way that aligns to the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, goals: 9 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities and 17 - Partnerships to achieve the goal. While we are focused on agri-food for the medium term, our underlying platform is designed and developed to scale to different vertices in the long-term e.g. pharmaceuticals: to address counterfeit medicines; fashion and tech: to underpin quality and brand authenticity. AT: Great! Track and trace is becoming a popular use of blockchain within multiple sectors. What makes your business different or unique? FD: Right now we offer three services: D7Food Ecosystem - a local store platform offering sustainable, short-supply chain as a service. Authenteer - a track and trace platform for sustainable agri-produce. KiBleep - a family-friendly mobile food app that scans ingredient lists to display allergen alerts and flags popular consumer categories eg. suitable for vegetarians, dairy-free. In each case, we seek to empower data-owners with our secure, privacy-first approach. We remove as many barriers to adoption as possible by providing easy integration with existing ERP and CRM systems and we have placed a ban on any feature that creates friction for our users. Lastly, our team! My co-founder Saad Shahid and I are both technical and comfortable in the disruptive tech space with prior experience as entrepreneurs in Europe and Asia. We are on the same page when it comes to offering real value in the marketplace. AT: Excellent. It’s always good to see several real world use cases on multiple levels. With the use of any emerging technology there are bumps in the road. Perhaps you can share some of the biggest challenges that you are working through, that need to be overcome in order to achieve widespread adoption and understanding of your offering? FD: People and business culture. Ours is a disruptive and innovative way of doing business, people need time to adapt. This plays out into finding suitable partners in the industry. AT: On to the technical side of things, which blockchain platforms/framework are you utilising and why? FD: We are fairly agnostic on this front and have worked with numerous blockchains, public, private and hybrid including Hyperledger, Ethereum, Hashgraph and IOTA. Our ultimate goal is to enable our users to be able to select their preferred platform for their vertical. Community means a lot in our sector and can determine the choice of a platform, e.g. IOTA is an important player in smart energy and cleantech. If you are in the sustainability game, promoting shared mobility solutions or re-selling community-generated electricity, there is a benefit to aligning with a foundational service provider committed to energy efficiency into the future. AT: On a personal level, what was your first experience of cryptocurrencies or blockchain? FD: Anyone who has studied software engineering in depth will have come across the blockchain concept fairly early on. A blockchain is simply a data structure with a unique set of attributes that make it an excellent data storage solution in distributed business contexts. My first experience with a cryptocurrency was with Bitcoin. My first crypto wallet, one of the early Tip Bots on Github / Reddit / Twitter called Changetip was built on the Bitcoin network. It was 2013, transaction fees were low and all the nerds were crypto-tipping each other for great content and collaboration. ChangeTip was bought by Airbnb in 2016 (aqui-hired for their team know-how) and ChangeTip closed shortly afterwards. From crypto micro-financing to creating ‘micro-hosting’...  it’s a fairy story for our age! AT: In terms of the environment you’re working in, what are the unique challenges that blockchain businesses face in Ireland (if any)? FD: We work extensively with European and global partners, particularly in innovation and R&D. Our experience is that the Irish scene is at least 5 years behind in taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by new technologies. I would say there is a strong native caution towards disruptive business models. There’s a ‘bite-the-coin-to-see-if-it’s-real’ approach here, as if something needs to happen in the Irish business context first, before industry or Irish investors will take a leap. New tech just doesn’t operate like that anymore - market culture is a matter of product localisation not a strong determinant of product spec. There is a generalised distrust of deep-tech expertise and this plays out quite visibly in a lack of public sector engagement with new-tech innovation. I've just returned from Hyderabad in India where I represented NSAI at the ISO Blockchain Plenary, hosted by the Telengana Goverment. It was held in the 'Blockchain District', an initiative that supports and nurtures the development of blockchain solutions and integrates them with government services. The aim is to enhance trust, optimise efficiency and improve communications. There were examples of microfinance systems, organised CHIT Funds, anti-counterfeit pharmaceutical supply chains and much more. All this is in a country that has banned cryptocurrencies altogether. There's a lot we could learn from the Hyderabadi approach. Do you have a sense of the appetite from investors/VC’s in Ireland or the wider sphere, to look at blockchain-based businesses? FD: In the latter half of 2019, we’ve seen considerable interest in sustainability-focused investment and a lot of interest in us. Google’s Kate Brandt recently announced a new climate-change accelerator for sustainability-focused start-ups at Web Summit. Similarly, Alltech, Finistiere and Enterprise Ireland are all looking closely at this space. Blockchain along with AI and sensor-based nanotech are key foundational technologies that can deliver proven, measurable and trusted results. The future is Blockchain+ AT: Looking at what might be in store for you, what are your biggest business challenges in the next 12-18 months? FD: Our challenges are two-fold: meeting the demands of our integration pipeline and connecting/ adding new partners in order to broaden our route to market. AT: Finally and more generally, looking further ahead and going 5 years into the future, how widespread will blockchain be adopted in Ireland? FD: Judging by past performance, I’d anticipate Ireland Inc. will be a follower of new tech. There will be a few companies, including our own, who will make the leap from the Irish sandbox into the global marketplace but I anticipate in the main, that widespread adoption will come about almost by stealth. There are big players integrating blockchain into their stack adding value to their offerings: IBM, Oracle, Microsoft all have blockchain components as-a-service. The big food multiples, Carrefour, Walmart, Wholefoods, M&S have all adopted blockchain pilots, as have many logistics companies and port authorities. In each case, we’re not seeing cryptocurrency adoption, rather we are seeing blockchains used to increase supply transparency and optimise data-sharing across decentralised business environments. In these markets, consumers are already purchasing on blockchain-enabled supply chains without even knowing it. If I’m to make one prediction, it is that the Irish artisan food sector will benefit greatly from the (potential) integration of Facebook’s Libra/Calibra payments feature. So many Irish artisan food brands use Facebook platforms to manage and connect with consumers. I anticipate a surge in mCommerce for them with in-app frictionless payments alongside the high-visibility afforded by Facebook/Instagram/ Messenger/WhatsApp social channels.   To find out more about Andrew Tzialli and the services offered by Philip Lee please click here.   For further information on anything referenced above, please contact Fiona Delaney. [post_title] => Blockchain Interview Series - Part 1 [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => blockchain-interview-series-part-1 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-11-27 11:39:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-11-27 11:39:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.philiplee.ie/?p=10112 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )

Andrew Tzialli is a partner in the Corporate team and head of...

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Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 9346 [post_author] => 9 [post_date] => 2019-07-02 14:15:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-07-02 14:15:36 [post_content] => Highlights:
  • Repsol to be cornerstone investor in UK/Spain based Finboot’s latest fundraising round
  • The legal advice to Finboot was led from the London office of Philip Lee, by Andrew Tzialli, Partner and head of the Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Group
  • Finboot will supply Repsol with its blockchain technology solution BlockLabs
  • Finboot’s proprietary software (“MARCO”) uses blockchain to certificate products and increase supply chain efficiencies
The Philip Lee cryptocurrency and blockchain group, led by Partner Andrew Tzialli, has continued its ongoing growth in advising exciting new companies in the blockchain sector. Its role as leading legal advisor to Finboot, on its investment from global energy giant Repsol, is an example of the high level of work the group is undertaking.    As part of the transaction, Repsol acquired a c.8% stake in the company through its strategic investment fund. The funds will be used to support the enhancement and extension of Finboot’s product offering in line with the company’s growth strategy. Finboot also secured a commercial contract with Repsol. Since Andrew Tzialli joined the firm as a partner in early 2018, Philip Lee (having also recently been named Ireland Law Firm of the Year) has continued to see rapid growth in the number of companies that it is working with in the blockchain sector. Finboot is the latest such company, with blockchain focused investment funds, exchanges, custodian and “anti-money laundering” service providers, product verification and other supply chain service providers, already existing clients. Finboot facilitates and simplifies the adoption of blockchain technologies into daily business operations, focusing on industrial supply chains. It is one of the first tech startups to deliver value in the enterprise blockchain arena and overall distributed ledger ecosystem, with the capability to verify products’ sustainability credentials. Finboot predominantly focuses on the Oil & Gas, Chemicals, Consumer Goods/Retail and Automotive sectors, with plans to extend its industry reach. Finboot will supply Repsol with its blockchain technology solution BlockLabs, which was developed by Finboot as a pilot during Fundación Repsol’s startup acceleration program in collaboration with Repsol Technology Lab. The solution uses blockchain technology to improve the certification process of petrochemical products, thereby driving supply chain efficiencies. It is powered by Finboot’s flagship product MARCO, a blockchain agnostic SaaS which effectively combines business workflows with blockchain core functions. Repsol estimates that the solution will save approximately €400,000 per annum, even with a limited rollout. Blockchain technology has the potential to accelerate the complex mix of processes that comprise industrial supply chains, enabling secure data sharing and improving auditability. This, in turn, could result in dramatic time and costs savings, and potentially even drive revenue growth. Relatively few enterprises have unlocked the full potential of digital technologies, yet companies that digitise their supply chains can expect to boost annual earnings growth by 3.2% - the largest increase from digitising any business area[1]. Andrew Tzialli, Partner and head of the Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Group at Philip Lee said: “Blockchain has long been regarded as having the ability to revolutionize efficiencies that can be achieved through complex global supply chains, with reducing cash cycle time, reducing overheads and increasing visibility, all being possible. Finboot’s enterprise solution achieves all three limbs, and so much more. It’s also great to add Finboot to the growing list of companies we are working with across the globe, that are successfully harnessing the potential uses of blockchain to its fullest.”  Nish Kotecha, Chairman and Co-Founder of Finboot, said: “We are delighted to have received this double endorsement from Repsol, a global leader in the energy industry. The investment cornerstones our latest fundraising round, while the contract is testament to the capabilities of our technology and its ability to support and enhance efficiencies across enterprises. This partnership represents a significant milestone for Finboot and augurs well for our future growth ambitions.”  [1] Source: The case for digital reinvention, McKinsey (February, 2017). [post_title] => Philip Lee Blockchain Group advises Finboot on Investment from Global Energy Giant, Repsol [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => philip-lee-blockchain-group-advises-finboot-on-investment-from-global-energy-giant-repsol [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-07-02 15:05:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-07-02 15:05:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.philiplee.ie/?p=9346 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )

Highlights: Repsol to be cornerstone investor in UK/Spain based Finboot’s latest fundraising...

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Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 9117 [post_author] => 9 [post_date] => 2019-05-28 15:08:06 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-05-28 15:08:06 [post_content] => As published in the Irish Examiner, Monday 24th June 2019: It is now a decade since the publication of the infamous bitcoin white paper (Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System) and the launch of the bitcoin blockchain. Ten years on and with the imminent launch on Friday 24th May of Blockchain Week in Ireland, how have things changed?  Is the early promise from crypto evangelists that blockchain technology will “change the world” getting closer or is it still a far-fetched dream? That is the question posed by Ireland’s leading legal expert in the sector, Andrew Tzialli, partner at law firm Philip Lee and head of the firm’s Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Group. The last 3 years in particular, have been a rollercoaster ride for the world of world sector.  2016 and early 2017 saw crypto currencies become much more mainstream, which then lead to hysteria and relentless “FOMO” (fear of missing out) being the rationale for many investors who entered the market during Q3 2017 to Q1 2018.  This was followed by a monumental crash. Some of the most prominent cryptocurrencies saw values decrease by 90% from December 2017 peak prices.   Around half of blockchain companies that ran ICOs during mid-2017 to mid-2018, are estimated to have now failed all together. However, fast-forward to now in 2019... According to Andrew Tzialli, “Blockchain can already improve businesses efficiency and processing times in a secure manner.  As adoption and innovation grows, the technology will be hugely disruptive to several industries – not least, Banking and Real Estate. Everything from cybersecurity, healthcare, car leasing and sales, energy, IoT, cloud storage, Government and Governance, Supply Chain, Music and IP ownership are all rife for change and all from blockchain technology that has only just had its 10th birthday.”   Banking Whilst early predictions that the existence of cryptocurrencies would bring financial institutions to their knees was wildly overstated, blockchain technology still stands to significantly impact the banking sector in the same manner that the internet affected publishing. The ability to transfer huge sums of money, quicker, cheaper and more securely than currently on offer will be made possible. Whilst this may impact the profits of certain banks and clearing houses, customers will inevitably favour those institutions offering the transparency of these improved services. For this reason, it is estimated that 25% of banks will adopt or plan to adopt some form of blockchain technology during 2019.   Real Estate By its very nature, the processes in place to rent or own property is fraught with bureaucracy (and therefore slow). It requires the involvement of multiple intermediaries and large capital outlay, with the end result being the ownership of an illiquid investment. Over decades, very little has changed in transactional methods. Given its somewhat archaic processes, blockchain stands to transform the sector. Smart contracts (written on a blockchain protocol), can simplify the rental and purchase process, removing several intermediaries.  Since use of a blockchain can create an immutable record that is public, storage of title deeds also represents a good use for the technology. Perhaps the most important change will be the ability to create fractional ownership of property through digital tokenisation of assets. This will bring property ownership to an even bigger audience and allow individuals from all over the world to easily own a small piece of some of the most exciting construction projects or lucrative developments. The biggest difference will be that owners of these digital tokens won’t need to wait for sale of the property to realise their investment, with secondary markets being available for trading of those tokens, via exchanges.   Next steps for blockchain? Endless names from the banking and financial services world recognise the potential. Now that Microsoft, Intel and IBM have announced the development of their own blockchain solutions, JP Morgan has developed its own digital currency, eBay announced plans to do the same and Whole Foods will start accepting digital currency with the underlying technology being based on an ethereum based payments network. Andrew Tzialli concluded: “For those involved in the sector a little longer, the volatility of markets is nothing new, though the highs and lows have of course never been quite so drastic. Rather than faith being placed purely in cryptocurrencies as a means of replacing traditional fiat currencies and becoming the primary use of the technology, many of those same people knew the real promise is in blockchain technology – an important distinction frequently overlooked.”   For more on this topic, please contact Andrew Tzialli.   A version of this article was also published on 1st June 2019 on Fora.ie. [post_title] => Blockchain, Hype or Hope? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => blockchain-hype-or-hope [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-06-24 08:29:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-06-24 08:29:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.philiplee.ie/?p=9117 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )

As published in the Irish Examiner, Monday 24th June 2019: It is...

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Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 9009 [post_author] => 9 [post_date] => 2019-05-08 13:25:28 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-05-08 13:25:28 [post_content] => Raising Finance as a Blockchain Business - Securitised Token Offerings and Initial Exchange Offerings vs Venture Capital for Equity Are you assessing your options for raising finance via the STO or IEO route? Or are you exploring the more traditional route of equity finance from VC funds, angel investors or crowdfunding? As part of Blockchain Ireland Week 2019, Partner and Head of the firm's Crypto and Blockchain Group, Andrew Tzialli, is hosting a walk-in clinic at our Dublin office on May 27th. Andrew is offering free consultations to discuss options available to blockchain companies looking to raise finance and to answer other legal questions you may have in respect of your startup. To register, please click here. [post_title] => Raising Finance as a Blockchain Business Walk-in Clinic [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => blockchainclinic [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-05-17 08:30:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-05-17 08:30:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.philiplee.ie/?p=9009 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )

Raising Finance as a Blockchain Business - Securitised Token Offerings and Initial Exchange...

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Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 8804 [post_author] => 9 [post_date] => 2019-04-17 09:30:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-04-17 09:30:44 [post_content] => The AKASHA Foundation announced the opening of a new blockchain innovation hub in Dublin. This new location is a regional branch of the Foundation, which has its headquarters in Crypto Valley, Switzerland, and was founded in 2015 by Ethereum co-founder Mihai Alisie. The opening of this co-working space adds another physical location to a developing network of innovation hubs that the Foundation is working to create around the world. The Dublin hub will serve as a place for Blockchain development, training, education, incubation, and acceleration support. To celebrate the opening of this new, strategically-important innovation hub, the AKASHA Foundation is holding ‘Open House’ events in Dublin and Galway as part of Ireland's Blockchain Week. “We are delighted to see an internationally renowned Blockchain project such as AKASHA establish a presence in Dublin,” said Andrew Tzialli, Partner at Philip Lee who heads up the firm's Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Group, and who is collaborating with the AKASHA Foundation. AKASHA Founder, Mihai Alisie, said “We are really excited about our new presence in Dublin since Ireland as a whole promises great potential when it comes to the future development of blockchain technology. We already have a presence in Zug and Barcelona, and we are sure that Dublin will be a fantastic addition to the global blockchain innovation network.” AKASHA's presence in Dublin aims to catalyze the local blockchain community by connecting them with individuals, groups, and projects in the space, enhancing collaboration through events, activities and access to a network of innovation hubs. Building upon the success of AKASHA Barcelona, the Dublin space will nurture and encourage open innovation and collective action within the Irish blockchain community and beyond. Mihai Alisie is one of the early pioneers in the blockchain space. Mihai created Bitcoin Magazine in 2011 together with Vitalik Buterin, later joining him as one of the original four Ethereum Founders in late 2013. The AKASHA Foundation is a non-profit born at the intersection of blockchain and collective intelligence. The Foundation nurtures projects helping individuals unlock their potential through open systems that expand our collective minds at local, regional and global scales.   For further information, please contact Andrew Tzialli. [post_title] => The AKASHA Foundation, established by Ethereum co-founder, opens new Blockchain Innovation Hub in Dublin [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-akasha-foundation-established-by-ethereum-co-founder-opens-new-blockchain-innovation-hub-in-dublin [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-05-07 12:58:53 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-05-07 12:58:53 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.philiplee.ie/?p=8804 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )

The AKASHA Foundation announced the opening of a new...

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Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 8027 [post_author] => 3 [post_date] => 2018-11-08 13:44:42 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-11-08 13:44:42 [post_content] => Malta, the country with the 32nd highest global GDP per capita, recently achieved what all other international financial and economic powerhouses have either failed or been reluctant to do: it passed a bill introducing a set of rules which formalise the regulation of Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”) and cryptocurrency exchanges.  Whilst the Virtual Financial Assets  Bill (the “Bill”) has not yet become law, the bill provides much needed guidance for those involved in the sector.   To date, many of the major financial regulators of the world have taken the stance that investment in cryptocurrency should be avoided. Others have adopted the position that the issue of tokens or “virtual financial assets”, pursuant to an ICO; (1) either may constitute the issue of a security (which would be subject to local regulation on the issue of securities); or (2) may or may not be classified as the issue of a “utility token” (which would be subject to a separate regulatory regime),  with a decision on the utility vs security status  often taken after the event (if at all). Conversely, the position taken by the Malta Financial Services Authority (“MFSA”) aims to provide regulatory certainty for ICOs, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology businesses in setting out a clear framework as to what constitutes cryptocurrency and an ICO, necessary steps for compliance and penalties for non-compliance.   Financial regulators can (and do) give warnings to potential investors, however, in reality, the influx of  new cryptocurrencies and the ease with which they can be purchased, means that these warnings are often ignored.  Whilst the global market capitalisation of cryptocurrencies has suffered a fairly spectacular fall from grace during 2018, this is still an industry that has a market capitalisation of over $210 billion (down from a peak of around $800 billion in January 2018).  Given the scale of growth and sector value, there was an expectation that other jurisdictions would have followed Malta’s approach but generally, that has not yet been the case.  Perhaps regulators believe that the virtual currency market could all be a “hyped-up bubble” that would have disappeared by now.  Indeed, the pace at which bitcoin in particular has gained recognition over the last 18 months may have caught many regulators by surprise and they may still be coming to terms with what this heightened profile means for the way businesses and individuals transact financially in the future.   Certain financial authorities have begun to take steps forward.  The SEC in the US has attempted to clamp down on illegitimate ICOs and cryptocurrency traders and South Korea has started taking steps towards regulation. Still, the position remains that the lack of global regulation means that ICOs continue to be a popular choice for fraudulent companies and individuals posing as entrepreneurs who raise large sums of money from investors without any realistic prospect of a return on investment.  This may well add fuel to the well-trodden and misplaced argument that cryptocurrency is a hotbed of criminal activity.   Some of the key features of the Bill are outlined below:  
  • licencing requirements – individuals or entities proposing to issue virtual financial assets or who carry out certain specified activities in relation to virtual financial assets must apply to the MFSA for a licence prior to carrying out such activities;
  • appointment of agents – an individual or entity proposing to issue virtual financial assets must appoint an “agent”, being a lawyer, accountant or auditor, who is approved by the MFSA;
  • whitepaper –prior to offering virtual financial assets, issuers shall be required to publish a detailed “whitepaper”, which must contain certain information (outlined in the Bill), including the following:
    • a background on the issuer(s), agents and service providers associated with the offering;
    • characteristics of the virtual financial assets;
    • the amount and purpose of the issue;
    • a description of the issuer(s) wallet(s) used; and
    • security safeguards against cyber threats.
  Whether or not the attempts by the MFSA to lead the way in cryptocurrency regulation, resulting in Malta becoming a global cryptocurrency superpower, remains to be seen.  Opinions are also divided as to whether the legislation is being proposed to encourage inward investment or simply to prevent rogue ICOs from taking place within the jurisdiction.  Either way, the steps taken by the MFSA can only be positive for a multibillion dollar industry which is distinctly lacking in a widely recognised legal framework and which may only be at the beginning of its journey. [post_title] => Cryptocurrency and ICO Regulation [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => cryptocurrency-and-ico-regulation [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-11-08 13:44:42 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-11-08 13:44:42 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.philiplee.ie/?p=8027 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )

Malta, the country with the 32nd highest global GDP per capita, recently...

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Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 7452 [post_author] => 9 [post_date] => 2018-07-06 09:17:38 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-07-06 09:17:38 [post_content] => In as little as 12 months, Bitcoin has gone from a little known alternative form of e-money to the next “must have asset”. However, some prominent investors are now saying it was a fad whose bubble has burst before it even got going. In my opinion, the reality could not be more different, with cryptocurrency and more importantly mass adoption of part of its underlying technology (blockchain), set to change countless global industries. It has been said that at its inception, the internet principally disrupted one industry – the publishing sector. By way of contrast, as many as 160 services/sectors have potential use cases (and disruption) as a result of the impending rise of blockchain technology. So where did this all begin? At the time when many of the world’s biggest financial institutions were on the brink of collapse, a paper was published on the concept of a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system” (that crucially, would not require the services provided by a traditional bank). This was shortly followed by the release of the Bitcoin network in January 2009 which initially experienced a slow and then stratospheric rise in its value ($100 of bitcoin purchased in January 2011 would be worth around $2,164,000 at the time of writing). However, many are unaware of the sheer number of other cryptocurrencies that are currently available on the open market. Leading Cryptocurrencies In addition to bitcoin, the top 10 “coins” in terms of market capitalisation (value) include, ethereum, ripple, litecoin and steller, with even the lowest coin in the top 10 (TRON), having a total value of over $2.5 billion. New Financing - Initial Coin Offerings (ICO’s) Now Initial Coin Offerings (or ICOs – a form of financing similar to crowd funding utilised by cryptocurrency and blockchain businesses) are happening at a rate of six per week with an average raise of $24 million. Bitcoin is now just one of over 1,600 cryptocurrencies and whilst their aggregate value has recently sharply fallen to $280 billion (down from nearly $800 billion in early January 2018), this is an increase from around $30 billion at the start of 2017 (which itself was an increase from around $20 billion in 2016). A common misconception is that all of these cryptocurrencies are attempting to position themselves as additional alternatives to traditional currency. In reality most of these are targeting entirely different markets. However, the vast majority of all current cryptocurrencies have one common characteristic – they are all based on the same underlying technology, namely the use of a ledger system known as “blockchain” (in combination with decentralisation and cryptography). So, what is blockchain and why is it regularly referred to a technology that has the potential to be “bigger than the invention of the internet”? In its simplest form, a decentralised blockchain is a form of database technology, where records in that database are not stored or maintained by a single intermediary or administrator, like a bank or an online payment system (note that this example would not apply for a centralised blockchain). Another way of viewing it is a method for recording a transaction which is verified by potentially thousands of independent sources. For example, if the holder of bitcoin (person A) wants to transfer 2 bitcoins to a recipient (person B), persons A and B can complete the transaction directly between themselves with the record of that transaction being maintained on what is essentially a public database. The equivalent would be like having the ability to transfer money from your bank account to another bank account but without relying on the transferring bank and recipient bank to process the transaction. The public database does not show information such as an individual’s name or even their IP address. Rather it records the transfer from person A’s digital wallet address to person B’s digital wallet address, as well as the date and time of the transfer. A permanent record of the transaction is stored on the Bitcoin blockchain which, crucially, is close to tamper proof (the reason for this is that the record is not maintained in a single location but in potentially thousands of locations around the world). For records (or blocks) to be added to that database (and transfers to take place, as in the example set out above), the approval and verification of a peer-to-peer network of computers (known as “nodes”) is required. Once verified by those nodes, a new block recording the transaction is created and added to the existing database (being the blockchain ledger). Blockchain – The Future The potential use cases for blockchain are extensive and go far beyond currency, with any industry or organisation that deals with some sort of transaction or maintenance of any mass record keeping, conceivably being capable of disruption. Some of these industries include:
  • Banking/finance – streamlining of global transactions; speeding up payments; removing restrictions posed by currency borders;
  • Automotive – tracking vehicle history for both new and used cars; supply chain of parts;
  • Travel – passenger identification and passport digitised and verified;
  • Property – property title registers; digitisation of property transactions;
  • Medical – drug supply chain management; patient databases on blockchain;
  • Media – evidence of ownership rights; anti-piracy / copyright infringement;
  • Legal – “smart contracts” with defined rules and accessibility;
  • Voting – reduce voter fraud; minimise government fraud; increase accountability and compliance for government officials; and
  • Donations/Charity – provide auditable trail for donations; ensure intended recipient for donations are received.
  • Whilst cryptocurrency has many critics that question its longevity and feasibility of mass adoption, given the sheer number of use cases, blockchain is most definitely here to stay. Note that investment in any cryptocurrency is, currently, a very high risk investment and should only be undertaken by sophisticated investors. If you have any queries on this topic, please contact Andrew Tzialli.
[post_title] => Cryptocurrency: Here to stay or a passing phase? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => cryptocurrency-here-to-stay-or-passing-phase [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-07-09 13:21:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-07-09 13:21:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.philiplee.ie/?p=7452 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )

In as little as 12 months, Bitcoin has gone from a little...

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Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 7656 [post_author] => 9 [post_date] => 2018-08-29 14:17:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-08-29 14:17:09 [post_content] => We are delighted to announce Partner Andrew Tzialli will be hosting a workshop on Raising Finance as a Cryptocurrency or Blockchain Business in Talent Garden on September 18th at 9.30am. Andrew Tzialli will explore some of the unique challenges faced by cryptocurrency and blockchain business when raising finance via an ICO or Tokenised Security Offering, as well as the factors that may influence investors. Register here to avoid disappointment. [post_title] => Raising Finance as a Cryptocurrency or Blockchain Business Workshop [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => raising-finance-as-a-cryptocurrency-or-blockchain-business-workshop [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-08-29 14:17:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-08-29 14:17:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.philiplee.ie/?p=7656 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )

We are delighted to announce Partner Andrew Tzialli will...

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