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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] => 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] => [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] => [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] => [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] => [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] => [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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Andrew Tzialli

Simon O’Neill

Ita O’Sullivan

Amanda-Jayne Comyn