Companies working in Blockchain and cryptocurrency related domains presently operate in a dynamic sphere of regulatory uncertainty which requires them to always be on their toes. In addition to the cryptocurrency specific regulations, licencing and regulatory requirements under different areas of law including corporate laws, taxation, banking and payment regulations, foreign exchange management etc. may apply to crypto projects depending on the business activities of the projects. Compliance obligations under different statutes can be different in nature and may broadly be categorized into compliances related to registration or licence, maintenance of record/register, filing or forms/returns, deposit of recurring fees, display requirements, technical security standards or procedural compliances.
From a regulatory perspective, designing the corporate structure of a blockchain-based startup is arguably the most important preliminary step. The number of entities required and their functional interaction must be delineated carefully, depending on the nature of their business offerings, technical operations, customer interactions and tax implications.
Not only do we advise blockchain-based projects on their incorporation strategies (in sectors ranging from web3, NFTs and DeFi), but we also set up bespoke structures for them in light of applicable laws. Specifically, the latter include regulations on digital assets, securities, banking and payment systems and taxation, among others. We work closely with partner counsels and consultants from various jurisdictions to ensure a smooth and expeditious incorporation process. Some of the specific jurisdictions we focus on include Dubai, Singapore, the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Cayman Islands, Saint Vincent and Grenadines (SVG), USA (Delaware & Wyoming), Malta and Switzerland.
Many cryptocurrency projects involve issuing a native cryptocurrency or token which helps them raise funds for further growth, development or maintenance of the network/project/ecosystem. The platform and manner adopted to launch the cryptocurrency tokens have undergone significant changes compared to the initial trend that started in 2016 – 17.
Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) happened to be the most popular choice to raise funds initially, however, other methods including Initial DEX Offering (IDO) and Initial Exchange Offering (IEO) are also being frequently opted now by the crypto projects. Many of the DeFi platforms which encourage buyers of the tokens to contribute to the liquidity pool of the protocol choose to sell tokens through Initial Liquidity Offering (ILO).
ICOs and other forms of Token sale are now regulated in many jurisdictions and certain cryptocurrency tokens having characteristics of securities may trigger additional registration approval requirements. In a few jurisdictions like the USA, ICO is to be mandatorily registered before being offered to the public. There are also many jurisdictions where the launch of Tokens through ICO / IDO / IEO / ILO / INO are unregulated as there are no specific regulations in this regard; however, registration and certain compliances under securities and under laws may get triggered depending on the functions, utility and characteristics of the particular token.
Juristically speaking, contracts are the lifeblood of any business. Crypto startups are no different. Right from incorporation they need to enter into a multitude of agreements for internal as well as external functioning. They must enter into contractual relations both with natural persons (employees, partners, directors, promoters etc.) as well as juristic entities (third parties, service providers, creditors, customers etc.) in order to clarify their rights and obligations in light of applicable laws.
Well-designed contracts must strike a delicate balance between long-term goals and day-to-day conveniences. They must not only foresee, and guard against, extant legal risks, but also have a keen eye on emerging regulatory developments in the space.
It is now a truism that both institutions and governments are realising the economic efficiency as well as the ethical promise of blockchain technologies. As a result, the latter has seen a remarkable rise in adoption over the last few years, spurred on by a post-pandemic reality in which the digital realm became the primary medium for all forms of intersubjective interactions. This shift has raised lots of new challenges for policymakers in diverse domains. From the digital divide to the great reset, questions of equality, justice, efficiency and access in the realm of technology have become pivotal questions for business leaders and statespersons across the world.
At Crypto Legal, we pay close attention to this developing landscape and provide well-grounded opinions on complex policy questions. In this endeavour, we work closely with academic partners, think tanks and advocacy groups.