Stay up to date on all things crypto and blockchain

Token Daily is a place to discover trending news and products in crypto and blockchain.

Deep Dive with Sarah Hody, Attorney @PerkinsCoieLLP, formerly @Coinbase

posted 11 months ago

with or if you'd like to join the discussion.
Nick Abouzeid
Hi Sarah! What articles, podcasts, books, or classes would you recommend to aspiring cryptolawyers / legal enthusiasts?

This space moves so quickly: wondering what evergreen lessons/knowledge that exists today that will still be applicable in 5/10/20 years.
4
Sarah "HODL your ETH" Hody
@nickabouzeid Read everything published by Coin Center. Trying to predict what "lawyering for blockchain" will look like in 20 years, i imagine, would be akin to time traveling back to 1998 and predicting what "lawyering for the internet" would look like today. In 1998 I had dial-up internet, a portable sony walkman CD drive, and no call waiting. Who could've predicted I'd now have a handheld device that can concurrently handle multiple phone calls, take high quality pictures, and stream music globally?
1
alvaricoque
Hi Sarah, what Law School path/school/specialization would you recommend to aspiring lawyers that want to get into crypto?
1
Sarah "HODL your ETH" Hody
@albarvaro It depends! (Classic lawyer answer, I know.) It really depends what kinds of challenges a person wants to tackle, where, and with what type of organization. At the end of the day, a good amount of hiring happens via personal/professional connections, so never underestimate the value of cultivating real relationships and staying in touch with folks in your network. That said, most firms, agencies, and companies are also going to appreciate well-ranked schools and experience in well-recognized firms. In brief: strong interpersonal network + high quality work.
0
Soona Amhaz
Hi Sarah, when/how did you start at Coinbase?
1
Sarah "HODL your ETH" Hody
@soonaorlater I started in August 2014. In late spring of 2014, I moved to SF and briefly ran my own law practice (tons of respect for founders - running a business is difficult!). I wanted to find and work with clients involved in bitcoin projects. I had spoken to a Coinbase recruiter earlier in the year, but at the time I lived in Washington, DC. A few weeks after I moved to the Bay Area, the recruiter noticed my updated location on LinkedIn and reached back out... the rest is history!
0
Soona Amhaz
We know how crazy the crypto space is from a financial perspective, but what is it like from a legal perspective? What are some things you wish most people knew?
1
Sarah "HODL your ETH" Hody
@soonaorlater In some ways, the legal landscape is evolving almost as quickly as the tech, and so on one hand, that seems rather frenzied. On the other hand, most people overlook the fact that the law is *always* in business of applying relatively static rules to new fact patterns. So it's not surprising to me that the law is doing what it always does when it applies to one token project or another, but I think that surprises some people.
1
Harry Garrett
What are your thoughts on the future of regulatory policy in the US on crypto currencies and ICOs?
1
Sarah "HODL your ETH" Hody
@Harry-Garrett I think we'll continue to see what we've seen up until now: we'll continue to see regulators publish guidance as to how the laws under their care apply to new applications (as we've seen by FinCEN, the IRS, the SEC, and the CFTC), and then to the extent that the regulators find people breaking the rules, we'll continue to see enforcement actions (as we've seen by all the same regulators). Each piece of guidance and enforcement actions provides a bit more clarity for folks building new projects, because it can provide greater certainty as to how particular laws will apply in a specific scenario.
0
Erik Torenberg
What do you foresee as it relates to regulation in 2018?
0
Sarah "HODL your ETH" Hody
@eriktorenberg It's possible we'll see changes with the BitLicense, since that's up for renewal this year, but I don't think we'll see any massive changes to any substantive US regulations. See my response here: https://www.tokendaily.co/p/deep-dive-with-sarah-hody-attorney-perkinscoiellp-formerly-coinbase#comment-1307
0
Erik Torenberg
What do most people not understand about the regulatory ecosystem?
0
Sarah "HODL your ETH" Hody
@eriktorenberg Many people in the token ecosystem seem to forget that what ultimately sits on the other end of a regulatory framework, are people. In my experience, regulators (i.e., the PEOPLE on the other side of a phone call, email, video conference, etc.) are far less scary and more interested in learning and finding sensible outcomes than they are in bringing down hammers - particularly when you engage proactively with a constructive and collaborative perspective.
1
Shlok Vaidya
What's the best historical comparison for this era in crypto? (For example, the Tulip bubble comes up pretty often, also 1929)
0
Sarah "HODL your ETH" Hody
@shloky My favorite is early-days internet. "Token-based _X_" is the new "Web-based _X_."
0
Dan Ellis
Hi Sarah, what are your thoughts (not legal opinion 😉) regarding the Howey Test and utility tokens, if the token is, in fact, usable at the time of an ICO?
0
Sarah "HODL your ETH" Hody
@Dan-Ellis Hire a lawyer! :) It's always a matter of facts and circumstances, so while usability at the time of launch is one critical factor, a project's marketing / white paper / public statements / etc. can also impact Howey analysis.
0
Spencer Noon
Hey Sarah! What do think the next 3-6 months looks like from a regulatory perspective for (1) tokens that have ICO'd and (2) US-based crypto exchanges?
0
Sarah "HODL your ETH" Hody
@spencernoon I wouldn't predict the regs themselves will change much at all (see: https://www.tokendaily.co/p/deep-dive-with-sarah-hody-attorney-perkinscoiellp-formerly-coinbase#comment-1307) It's possible we'll see (more) enforcement actions against companies that have sold tokens that represent securities. For exchanges, we'll likely evolving and robust vetting procedures to ensure that tokens listed do not represent securities, and/or we could enforcement actions if an exchange was facilitating sales of an unregistered security.
0
digiRuben
Hi Sarah, Is it difficult to find knowledgeable peers in the fast-evolving crypto sector? Do you find that more feel peers looking to specialize in crypto or do they have a wait-and-see attitude?
0
Sarah "HODL your ETH" Hody
@Ruben-M-Perez I see the full spectrum. I definitely have some very sharp peers, and I meet both people hoping to make a specialization and people taking a wait-and-see approach. My guess, though, is that most lawyers aren't on that spectrum at all, and they'll only get pulled into it if/when a client asks them to.
0
Jamie Pitts
Hi Sarah, how do you think attorneys can begin to effectively make use of smart contracts? Are there early use-cases that seem more viable to you? Thanks!
0
Sarah "HODL your ETH" Hody
@jamiepitts I don't like the term "smart contract," because the programmatic execution of a function, based on pre-defined factors or terms, is neither very smart nor does it inherently make a legal contract. That aside, I think legal contracts (drafted by lawyers) will increasingly refer to certain terms that will, in fact, be executed among the parties via smart contract (for example, X will pay Y upon Y's completion of X).
0
Rafa
Hi Sarah and thank you for doing this. Daily headlines aside, where do you see regulatory mood at the moment, generally? Especially on Congressional level, what is your sense of how receptive House and Senate committees are to crypto space in general.
0
Sarah "HODL your ETH" Hody
@intjr I think the general pulse is "interested," with a desire to learn and come up with sensible policies. One of the cool things about blockchain tech is that a number of regulatory goals are often built right into new platforms (transparency, security, fraud prevention, irreversibility, etc.). Of all the efforts I've seen on the hill, I really liked the proposal for a tax exemption on de mininmus crypto-asset transactions.
0
Rafa
@intjr @SHodyEsq Do you foresee big banks trying to coopt regulators/legislators through lobbying in favor of regulatory regime that favors bank-based and developed technologies and protocols? Do you think the inherent nature of decentralization may handicap crypto community vis-a-vis Financial Services Roundtable and the like?
0
Tudor Stanciu
Do you see potential of having global regulatory framework / guidelines that govern the blockchain space? The Internet still has some unsolved problems related to how parties interact contractually in the digital space (especially in the actual enforcement area), so similar aspects could happen to a fragmented (jurisdiction by jurisdiction) blockchain regulatory framework.
0
Ben Tossell
Someone signs up to Coinbase and buys their first (fraction of) Bitcoin.

What should they do next?
0
Sarah "HODL your ETH" Hody
@bentossell Delete the app and forget about it! I'm a HODLer, and unless you're developing with bitcoin or day trading, you probably ought to just hold some as part of a reasonably diversified portfolio of assets. Beyond that, maybe give some away or use it to pay your friends back for things, so that you can increase exposure. Your friends will probably thank you later, if they also hold onto it for awhile.
1
X