Bitcoin / Blockchain Emerges as Hot New Practice Area

Fenwick's Ryan Straus, co-chair of the firm’s payment systems practice, talked to Of Counsel about the legal issues bitcoin and blockchain technologies are generating across the industry.

Straus, whom Of Counsel called “a blockchain legal pioneer,” noted that clients need assistance figuring out the ins and outs of cryptocurrency and its secure high-tech distributed ledger.

He told Of Counsel that a key development driving the most work is the increase in initial coin offerings, but the legal profession may be facing a talent gap in the ICO area as it requires specific skills and experience.

“There aren’t that many people who have the necessary combination of experience—with a financial services background and an interest and aptitude in technology. It’s hard to find lawyers who want to invest the time to get conversant in blockchain and do the difficult work of getting up to speed in the financial services space. It requires a unique confluence of skills,” Straus said.​​​​​