Addison Cameron-Huff, Blockchain Lawyer

Thoughts and opinions of a Toronto-based cryptocurrency lawyer who's worked in the industry since 2014.

Cryptocurrency: A Global Public System

For years, critics with a limited understanding of cryptocurrency, have been seizing on a point that they think they understand: power consumption. Or, at least, they think they understand that. They understand that global warming is related to energy consumption, and they fear that cryptocurrency is causing it. This blog post looks at the criticisms levelled by journalists and others about the energy use of cryptocurrencies. It begins by examining the critics arguments and concludes by explaining that energy use of cryptocurrency is not particularly different from other energy uses. What's particularly interesting is to look at the benefits to people who do not hold or use cryptocurrency, who benefit from its existence even without using it.

Everything Uses Energy

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Starting A Cryptocurrency Business in Canada: Buying & Selling

This blog post addresses the entrepreneur looking at starting a company to buy and sell cryptocurrency ("virtual currency" under AML laws) like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the myriad tokens that have been launched. There are three main areas of regulation in Canada; virtual currency dealers, securities, and tax. This article concludes with a brief discussion of what sort of teams people put together for implementing the paperwork side of this business.

Virtual Currency Dealers

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Lawyers Who Want Your Crypto Business: Nine Canadian Lawyers

The best cryptocurrency lawyer 15 years from now will probably be someone who isn't in the news today. They're struggling to build their business and cut through the noise, while delivering great value to clients. A lot of lawyers news covers the people who are partners at big firms, or who have PR/advertising budgets. But what most people need is someone who's reasonably priced, gets their work done, and most of all: is available. With the rapid groth of crypto, and the accompanying startups that are powering the industry forward, comes a significant need for lawyers. Many lawyers are full for work and the consequence of not having a lawyer can be disastrous. So I reached out on LinkedIn to find lawyers who are looking for more work in this area and are available to help.

I solicited each of the lawyer's information and gathered it into a spreadsheet. The rest of this blog post is what the lawyers sent me. I don't know most of these people personally, and can't speak to their work, but that doesn't mean they aren't great - it just means I need to find the time to chat with more lawyers! I encourage you to reach out directly to several of these people to find the lawyer who's right for you. Further down in the post you'll find a short summary of each person's practice.

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The C.D. Howe Stablecoin Paper: An Opportunity To Think About Private Money & The Role Of Regulation

A few weeks ago, the C.D. Howe Institute in Toronto wrote a commentary on stablecoins created by central banks, specifically the Bank of Canada: https://www.cdhowe.org/public-policy-research/two-sides-same-coin-why-stablecoins-and-central-bank-digital-currency-have. The report is called “Two Sides of the Same Coin: Why Stablecoins and a Central Bank Digital Currency Have a Future Together”. This commentary is a great opportunity to explore differences in opinion on this issue because C.D. Howe's works is quite good, and independent.

One of the authors of the commentary, Mark Zelmer, is the former Deputy Superintendent of OSFI. The excellence of the authors is a great reason to look at this report critically. The commentary contains a number of premises that are worth challenging, and conclusions that are far less definite than the commentary makes them out to be. This has implications for governments, like Canada's, that are trying to grapple with modernizing their money systems during the "Great Digitization" (i.e. now). It also has profound implications for Canadians, who may soon be using a new type of money.

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What Is Regulation?

Cryptocurrency is often referred to as “unregulated” or “the Wild West” but neither of these labels are accurate. Before getting into why it's wrong, what does “regulation” even mean? If we don't agree on what it means to be “regulated” vs. “unregulated” then there's no way to discuss whether cryptocurrency is the Wild West or not.

The Meaning Of Regulation In Canada

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Against Crypto

There are strong arguments against cryptocurrency. Just like there are strong criticisms that can be leveled at Amazon or a favourite programming language - nothing in life is just upside. Below I've tried to capture some of what I regard as the best criticisms, which are: energy use, e-waste, gambling, scams, security, and uncertain regulation.

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15 Cryptocurrency Benefits

“Why cryptocurrency?” Why have millions of people taken up buying it, using it, and building with it? This blog post lists key features that I've found noteworthy and caused me to learn something about systems that don't involve digital assets. I've grouped the features according to the barrier that they help overcome.

A. Barriers To Participation

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54 Small Business Ideas

Here are 54 ideas I've jotted down in my phone over the last couple years as business ideas. Some are good ideas and others aren't, but they might be food for thought that leads you to a great business concept.

Law

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Exploring Law Firm Content: Blockchain Topics

Law firms generate large amounts of quality legal content that's often hard to find. They're not always the best at search engine optimization and the content is often not really designed to be easily consumed (it's for a niche audience). One of the main purposes of this content is to show who knows what they're talking about, because it's better to have an article showing that than a brief line in the bio of a lawyer saying it. But how can someone find which lawyers are good at what? How can that content be exposed? Are there ways of synthesizing this content or making it more readily available to the people it's designed for and others?

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Drafting Contracts For Cryptocurrency Clients

I've been drafting contracts with a heavy focus on cryptocurrency since 2014. This blog post gives a few tips I've picked up over the years.

Types of Contracts

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Local Encryption (E2E) for Lawyer Communications: ConvoPark Prototype

Confidentiality is key to the work of lawyers but most Internet-delivered services have no encryption other than transport encryption (HTTPS). This issue affects even the largest companies such as the 2020 Twitter account takeovers of Obama, Biden, Musk, and others, Snapchat employees looking at photos, the Canada Revenue Agency, and just about everyone else. The basic problem is that the data isn't encrypted so anyone with the right permissions at the company, or someone who can change permissions, can access all of the data. These sorts of services are the primary way that people interact with lawyers in 2021.

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Safety At What Cost: New Technologies, New Opportunities & New Risks

Government promises safety from the rough and tumble reality of life. This post is about the balance between protection and reward, and what that means in a globalized world in which Canadian services businesses are increasingly meeting with the opportunities & competition that manufacturers faced decades ago. Specifically, this post is in the context of moves to increase regulatory requirements for Canadian businesses in the cryptocurrency industry, but the issues aren't specific to cryptocurrency or blockchain technology.

Centuries ago, the government promise of safety meant protection from invasion by neighbouring warlords. Today, it means protection from all manner of harms. In Canada, the public demands safety at every turn and the government obliges. It does so by creating new rules and writing them down in uncountable laws, proclamations, guidance, and instructions. The Canadian public is always hopeful that if only one more rule could be created, they will be protected. And yes despite creating millions of rules, our government and its legal system have not eliminated frauds, scams, and cheating. Virtually everyone in Canada has been defrauded by someone. Sometimes the losses are life changing, and the stories are often heart breaking. I hear them from the people who regularly call me to see if a lawyer has the answer to what the government and basic decency failed to prevent. The answer is usually no.

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Canada's Blockchain Industry is Hiring: Jobs Available This Week

The blockchain space in Canada is booming and dynamic, being composed of many small to mid-sized players. This is great for competition but can make it difficult to find a position. Below are a few companies that are hiring right now (mostly remote positions).

Shakepay

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NFTs: The Art of Capitalism?

Jack Dorsey selling his first tweet as an NFT

Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, is selling his first tweet and the current highest bid is $2.5 million USD. Is the start of a new art of capitalism?

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Is MCMA The Future Of Banking and Wealth Management? (Multi-Currency, Multi-Asset)

Mockup of an MCMA wallet showing gold, Bitcoin and Yuan

MCMA holds the promise of a world in which wealth management is diversified, cheap, and algorithmically driven. Imagine an app that allows you to allocate your money the way billionaires do, in a variety of different assets, and according to a professional, free strategy by a famous advisor.

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The $500 Million Per Year Business Waiting To Happen for Global Banks

Bitcoin and Ether are notoriously difficult to store securely and approaching the value of the global gold market. This is a $500 million a year business waiting to happen for one of Canada's big banks. Banks have the reputation, technical staff, security, and insurability, to become major players in the future market of storing cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrencies liberate people from the need to use the financial system. There is no dependency on banks, except for exchanging to money, which largely relies on banks. But there's an opportunity for banks to go back to their roots as trusted places to store wealth. A Canadian bank could likely attract 5% of the world's cryptocurrency for storage if they could offer a secure, fast, insured service. It would immediately be used by institutional investors, high net worth individuals, and a significant portion of the individuals who hold smaller amounts of cryptocurrency.

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Seven Trends In Blockchain To Affect Canadian Regulation in 2021

DAI transactions on Etherscan

Here are seven trends happening in the world of blockchain that may affect Canadian and American regulation in the coming years: on-chain insurance, prediction markets, decentralized exchanges, collectibles, digital dollars, securitization and leverage.

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Solving the Small Issuer Problem in Ontario: The Key To COVID-19 Recovery?

Small businesses employ 70% of private sector employees in Canada. They're the lifeblood of employment, but also the key to a dynamic economy. That's fairly accepted in Canada politically and in the media. But what's not accepted is the role that investment laws play in restricting access to capital.

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Tech Law Drop-In Via Google Meet: Every Wednesday For 30 Days

Calendar item for event running from November 18th to December 9th, every Wednesday at 10am

I'm hosting a free weekly session for the next 30 days to answer and discuss legal questions. It'll be on Wednesdays from 10-12 EST on Google Meet (link below). Quite informal. The first one will be next Wednesday, November 18th.

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Better Tracking of Toxic Waste Using Public Digital Records

Blockchain-based systems with public open data records are one of the best ways to create a permanent, publicly-verifiable record of data. I've previously written about learning from supply chain/luxury brand work in blockchains, and how that could be applied in the context of tree planting and carbon trading. But these systems could also be used to better track pollution. Specifically, this approach could be used to upgrade the Canadian NPRI system.

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There are hundreds more blog posts to read, going back to 2014:
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