Addison Cameron-Huff, Blockchain Lawyer

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

Search This Blog By Keyword

Bitcoin Magazine Article on Tokenization of Real World Assets

My article on “tokenization” of real world assets was published by Bitcoin Magazine on Friday.

From the introduction:

“Tokenization is the process of converting rights to an asset into a digital token on a blockchain. There is great interest by financial intermediaries and technologists around the world in figuring out how to move real-world assets onto blockchains to gain the advantages of Bitcoin while keeping the characteristics of the asset.”

Read the rest of this post

Key Canadian Laws for Blockchain Companies

Yesterday I spoke at the OsgoodePD mini-conference on “Critical and Emerging Issues in Blockchain Law”. One of the items I covered was a brief highlight of laws that are often relevant to blockchain companies. Here are the statutes:

1. Federal anti-money laundering law: Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act. Note that there's also a Quebec law that might be relevant.

Read the rest of this post

What Can You Do With Bitcoin? Here's What I've Bought with Bitcoin

Bitcoin hit new record highs recently ($1600 CAD), in part based on speculation about Bitcoin ETFs. Although some people look at Bitcoin as in investment, other people use it as a payment method. What sorts of things can you buy with Bitcoin?

In recent months I've heard of people using Bitcoin for:

Read the rest of this post

Bank of Canada Working Paper Says "Digital Currencies Will Be Counterfeited" - Why They're Wrong

The Bank of Canada released a working paper this month that contains a bold claim: “Lesson 1: Digital currencies will be counterfeited.” The paper is on the lessons that private bank notes from many decades ago hold for digital currencies today. Much of the paper consists of an excellent history of bank notes. But the paper also contains claims about digital currencies, specifically, private, non-Central Bank affiliated digital currencies like Bitcoin. This blog post explains why the working paper's Lesson 1 claim about digital currency counterfeiting is not correct.

The working paper states that bank notes have always been counterfeited. They then go on to explain several problems with digital currencies that have nothing to do with counterfeiting (such as "fraud" and "cyber attacks") and conclude with:

Read the rest of this post

The Delaware Court of Chancery Also Likes Blockchain

The Delaware Court of Chancery (leading corporate law court in the US) ruled on Wednesday in a case that involved miscounting of shares as part of a buyout of Dole. In a footnote the court notes that blockchain technology would be a good solution to one of the key issues in the case:

“[D]espite laudable and largely successful efforts by the incumbent intermediaries to keep the system working, the problems have grown. ... Distributed ledger technology offers a potential technological solution by maintaining multiple, current copies of a single and comprehensive stock ownership ledger.” - Footnote #1, pgs. 8-9

Read the rest of this post

Blockchain-Based Companies: How Rwanda Could Out-Compete Delaware

20th African Securities Exchanges Association photo from Twitter

Delaware is the corporate capital of the United States. It has more corporations than residents. Many jurisdictions would like to follow in Delaware's footsteps and become a hub for incorporations (one benefit: ongoing registration fees). And in 2017 there's an opportunity to use technology to leapfrog Delaware and create a global corporate hub. This blog post lays out how Rwanda could create a Delaware-beating infrastructure based on blockchain technology (also called "Distributed Ledger Technology"). Added bonus: Rwanda create a new class of online corporation with publicly traded securities.

Read the rest of this post

Corporate Voting via Blockchain - Major Corporate Investments and Looking Forward

Last week I spoke about blockchain-based corporate voting (and other topics) at the “Blockchain Symposium” held by Gowlings WLG in Toronto. This blog post expands on that discussion and explains why I think corporate voting via blockchain will be reality within the next few years.

Corporate voting is just one aspect of the large constellation of service companies that handles ownership, registration, transfer, settlement, clearing, and other functions of the public securities markets. What's going on in the world of securities management/investor communications?

Read the rest of this post

Bay St. Banks Embrace Blockchain: Job Ads

Screenshot of TD's ad for blockchain manager position

TD is looking for a manager for their "Enterprise Shared Platform of Blockchain Center of Excellence". The position "reports to the VP, Blockchain CoE to support the business priorities of the Blockchain CoE." The ad was posted a month ago:

Read the rest of this post

Federal Reserve Paper on Blockchain Technology

The US Federal Reserve published a paper this week on the application of blockchain technology to the payments, clearing and settlement sectors of the US financial system.

The paper is an excellent overview of the current system and how blockchain might change things. Section 2.1 provides explanations of payment processing, securities post-trade processes and the roles of financial intermediaries. From the section on settlement:

Read the rest of this post

Starting a Blockchain Software Company: 65 Point Legal Checklist

Starting a blockchain software business? Below is a checklist of some of the legal & business issues common to this emerging industry.

1. Code

   ☐ Build off an existing platform like Ethereum or create a new blockchain platform?
      ☐ Generally don't need permission to build but banks are keen on "permissioned" blockchains and integration partners may require agreements
   ☐ Open source or closed source? Generally "blockchain" = open source but there are other models (e.g. R3).
      ☐ A combination of open source and closed source? Which parts?
   ☐ How will the blockchain be used? How will the software be used? Which open source license is most appropriate?
   ☐ Who will own contributions to the code? Will there be a "contributor license agreement"? Assignment?
   ☐ What about supporting assets like images, videos, etc.? Written agreements will help avoid conflicts later and ensure that a departing individual doesn't take their work with them.

Read the rest of this post

CFA Society FinTech Conference on June 17th, 2016

Note: This post was written by Victoria Barclay and Dennis Bardetsky of the CFA Society Toronto. I've republished it here (with their permission) because the publication this appeared in, The Analyst (September edition), is not available online. I've slightly reformatted the article to better fit this blog. I was one of the panelists who spoke at the conference. The original title was "FinTech Conference - Three market developments poised to disrupt your business".

Read the rest of this post

One Year Later: Idea to World-Leading Search Engine for Laws

Just over a year ago I met Nachshon Goltz. Fast forward today and together we've built the world's most comprehensive global law search engine and implemented a new model for legal search. We run, a law search engine that makes use of machine translation to make laws written in 25 languages searchable in English.

Read the rest of this post

How Does Toronto's Fintech Sector Rank Globally?

EY recently released a report for the UK government about how its Fintech sector stacks up against other global financial hubs. Toronto was not on the list of comparable jurisdictions. But if it was, it would probably be in fourth place by region.

Screenshot from EY report titled "UK FinTech on the cutting edge" on pgs 14-15

Read the rest of this post

Four Years After Law School: How I've Leveraged My Law Degree Outside of Law

I'm a technology lawyer and a legal technology entrepreneur. I was recently asked to contribute to a book about how people are leveraging law degrees outside of law. The author has allowed me to publish my thoughts here and hopefully they'll appear in print at a later date. Below are the three technology products I've developed that wouldn't have happened without a combination of J.D. and programming.

Read the rest of this post

Ontario Intercity Bus Reform Discussion Paper: Thoughts

Mazda Bongo Van from 1968

Last summer I wrote about why Ontario's bus system is so uncompetitive. That blog post has received a lot of traffic and I've even received a few emails from entrepreneurs wondering how to start a bus company. This summer the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is discussing reform and has put out a discussion paper. The paper contemplates removing legal barriers to entry/reforming the Ontario Highway Transport Board and poses seven questions. My answers are at the end of this blog post.

Read the rest of this post

McKinsey Report on Insurance Industry + Blockchain

Cover image from first page of McKinsey report

McKinsey & Company (a prominent consulting firm) has released a report on the application of blockchain technology to the insurance industry.

Read the rest of this post

The DAO: Status Update

Screenshot of

"The DAO" was an attempt to create a virtual currency investment fund on the Ethereum network. I wrote about it from a legal perspective back in May. In the month following my blog post, The DAO reached over $150 million USD in value and was then hacked.

Read the rest of this post

Japan, June 2016

I am back in the office after a couple weeks in Japan (mainly Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima). Below are a few of the highlights.

Read the rest of this post

All About Cheques: Teva & Fintech

Teva Canada Ltd. v. Bank of Montreal, 2016 ONCA 94, contains everything you ever wanted to know about how cheques work and is a case study in financial risk. This is interesting reading for anyone who works with cheque systems or is seeking to replace them (re: Fintech industry). The litigation is focussed on the (federal) Bills of Exchange Act.

The case began with a Teva employee writing cheques to himself for around $5 million. The employee registered Master Business Licenses (MBLs) for names similar to Teva customers (and then a couple imaginary ones).

Read the rest of this post

This Blog Now Uses SSL

This blog (and the entire domain) now uses SSL courtesy of the Let's Encrypt project.

If you're not using SSL, see if your hosting company offers support for Let's Encrypt (Dreamhost has a great integration). It's free and works just as well as any other SSL cert.

Read the rest of this post
There are hundreds more blog posts to read, going back to 2014:
Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14