Steptoe & Johnson has expanded its blockchain practice into a fully-fledged, multidisciplinary practice and says it will soon accept Bitcoin as payment for fees.
The new expanded practice will help clients prepare for the application of blockchain and distributed ledger technology to their businesses. It is led by former Department of Justice deputy assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein and former Department of Homeland Security assistant secretary Alan Cohn. Weinstein, now a white collar crime partner at Steptoe, led the DOJ’s cybercrime and organized crime enforcement efforts while Cohn, now a cybersecurity and emerging technology of counsel, was responsible for establishing and overseeing the cyber policy office at DHS.
Weinstein and Cohn will be working with professionals from across Steptoe’s practice groups in industries that are or could be applying blockchain technology to improve their operations.
“We are expanding from serving as counsel to blockchain companies, to serving as counsel to companies affected by the blockchain,” said Weinstein. “What we’re experiencing here is similar to the early stages of the Internet in the 1990’s. The blockchain has the potential to revolutionise the way the world does business, and the applications for this technology are endless.”
As part of the expansion of Steptoe’s blockchain practice, the Washington-headquartered firm has launched the Steptoe blockchain blog, which will feature opinions and analysis tracking the trajectory of the blockchain.
Over the past two and a half years, Steptoe has advised participants from across the full blockchain ecosystem, including investors, entrepreneurs, early stage companies, exchanges, transaction processors, and retailers.
Steptoe also serves as an advisor to both Coin Center and the Chamber of Digital Commerce, two of the industry’s leading advocacy groups, and Weinstein serves on the advisory board of BitFury.
In October 2015, along with the Chamber of Digital Commerce and Coin Center, Steptoe co-founded the Blockchain Alliance, a coalition of blockchain companies and law enforcement and regulatory agencies.
“This is such a new area, it requires policy-making, not just enforcement,” said Micah Green, head of Steptoe’s financial services practice and co-head of its government affairs and public policy group. “Participants in the marketplace need to know where regulators are as they map out their business plans. Steptoe is engaging with regulators and other government agencies on behalf of clients who are adopting blockchain-based applications and services to help ensure that they are in compliance with applicable rules – and to try to change those rules where needed.”