Considering bitcoin’s origins as a decentralized technology designed to disrupt the world banking system, it’s no surprise that the cryptocurrency community has a rather tepid relationship with financial regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Meanwhile, alleged cryptocurrency scams like Centra Tech — which the SEC believes raised $32 million in a fraudulent initial coin offering last fall — have done little to help the relationship from the regulator’s perspective.
Add this complicated background to the fact that the SEC is still developing its official policy on how to regulate cryptocurrencies, and you’ve got an incredibly vague and shaky legal environment from which to try to run a business.
Now, as companies big and small compete for a piece of the cryptocurrency pie, much of the ground work is being done by an invisible force in the C-suite: the general counsel — which is to say, cryptocurrency companies’ in-house lawyers.
Many of the lawyers on this list have spent their careers in finance law or in-house at other tech companies. One lawyer went in-house just one year after finishing her law degree, while another held senior-level roles across three different presidential administrations before finding his way into the world of bitcoin.
Whatever their experience, these 9 lawyers are helping some of the biggest names in cryptocurrency navigate the shaky and ever-changing landscape of blockchain regulation and compliance.
Here’s who you need to know.