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Kaplan Hecker & Fink’s lawyers have developed specialized expertise in matters related to cryptocurrency, and have represented cryptocurrency exchanges, related financial institutions, and industry-prominent individuals in criminal and civil investigations led by the Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and state-level enforcement and regulatory agencies. From defending clients in high-profile, publicly charged investigations to helping prominent financial institutions and FinTech companies to navigate swiftly changing regulations, our experts are on the cutting edge of this novel practice area.
In a complex and constantly evolving area of law that cuts across both industries and practice areas, that substantial level of experience and expertise is a tremendous asset to our clients, whether in defending them against government investigations, conducting complex internal investigations, or litigating novel questions of law raised by developing regulatory regimes. Partners Sean Hecker and Jenna Dabbs leverage their considerable experience in cryptocurrency matters to help guide clients through legal challenges when they erupt – and to stay abreast of shifting regulatory requirements to avoid those challenges in the first place. Among the firm’s trial-tested litigators are three former public defenders and five former federal prosecutors, including partner Mike Ferrara, who secured the first-ever securities fraud conviction predicated on a Bitcoin Ponzi scheme during his tenure in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
Representative cryptocurrency matters include:
- Representing an executive of one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency derivatives exchanges, who was indicted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act alongside the three co-founders of the company. The matter is also the subject of a parallel Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) investigation.
- Representing several executives of a large multinational bank – including the Chief Compliance Officer of the institution’s commercial bank, and the Head of Financial Crime Compliance for its corporate investment bank – in a Department of Justice (DOJ) inquiry relating to banking services provided to a cryptocurrency exchange.
- Representing multiple individuals in connection with an ongoing Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation of a financial technology company, related to the cutting-edge and pressing question of whether cryptocurrency issued by the company are “securities” under federal securities laws.
- Representing the Independent Committee of the Board of Directors of a research and development startup in connection with an internal investigation into potential conflicts of interest relating to the launch of its cryptocurrency network.
- Representing the founder of a pair of cryptocurrency hedge funds managing over $100 million in a securities fraud prosecution. Kaplan Hecker is also representing the individual in a parallel SEC enforcement action.
- Representing a law firm with considerable expertise in cryptocurrency matters in a lawsuit seeking a judgment that a former partner of the firm was rightfully removed from his position.
- Representing a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting a significant cryptocurrency in connection with an SDNY investigation.
- Representing a prominent Initial Coin Offering (ICO) investor in an investigation by the New York State Attorney General relating to the propriety of certain ICO offerings.
- Advising a hedge fund in connection with a dispute that arose between a trader and a prominent cryptocurrency exchange concerning certain market-making fees.
Representing a regulated blockchain infrastructure platform in inquiries by the New York State Department of Financial Services and DOJ relating to the platform’s business relationship with Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, in connection with allegations that the exchange permitted U.S. users to trade on its platform without registration and adequate KYC protocols.