Blockchain & Crypto Assets
Just like many of you, we at Wolf Theiss are passionate about technology, and this also extends to blockchains and crypto assets.
In order to best serve our clients, we have assembled an interdisciplinary group of cutting-edge experts from various legal fields who are highly knowledgeable in the underlying tech and can provide useful and actionable legal solutions. Increasingly, clients across the blockchain ecosystem rely on us for strategic advice as they navigate an uncertain regulatory landscape. They come to us because we are part of the industry: Our lawyers participate in various initiatives, such as the Digital Asset Association Austria (DAAA) and other prestigious industry groups. In a move not really typical for the usual law firm, we founded the WT Crypto Academy, a unique educational initiative aimed at fostering a better understanding of blockchain's disruptive potential.
Areas of specialisation
We assist venture capital and private equity firms investing in blockchain start-ups and Decentralized Finance (DeFi) protocols, in structuring token sales and in carrying out due diligence. We help you to identify risks and explain the legal boundaries within which business models must operate.
Blockchain technology has demonstrated substantial potential to transform the current financial system. This applies particularly to tokenization, the process of converting real-world assets (such as financial instruments, IP rights, or real estate) into digital tokens on a distributed blockchain. If you aim to issue tokenized assets we can assist you in setting up the legal documentation and in navigating any regulatory pitfalls.
We assist traditional financial institutions such as banks (but also crypto exchanges and crypto brokers) in the implementation of the applicable anti-money laundering (AML) rules and regulations. By closely following the work of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental organisation developing policies to combat money laundering, we are always a step ahead of our competitors in knowing what type of crypto-related policy changes are on the horizon and, most importantly, make sure that our clients remain up to date too. Apart from this, we have successfully supported several banks and bank consortiums exploring the world of blockchains and dipping their toes into this new tech.
Our banking & finance team has a wealth of experience in setting up so-called alternative investment funds (AIFs). In the area of crypto, we assist sponsors wishing to set up funds investing in various coins and tokens, but also novel types of staking funds engaging in "proof of stake" consensus algorithms. We help you not only with setting up the fund documentation, but also with drawing up necessary legal agreements with other parties such as qualified custodians.
We maintain close contacts with the pertinent regulatory bodies in our region and several team members previously worked at these. Your advantage? We offer start-ups in the crypto space unrivalled legal advice, which is not only theoretical but grounded in practice. Some CEE countries offer so-called regulatory sandboxes, which allow disruptive start-ups to conduct live experiments in a controlled environment under a regulator's supervision. Here we can also provide helpful guidance. We can also help in drafting risk-minimizing terms & conditions, carrying out data protection compliance checks, provide assistance with intellectual property issues and help with the inevitable tax questions.
We regularly advise high net worth individuals from the crypto space, who acquired significant wealth as miners or traders in the early years of Bitcoin and Ethereum or in the bull runs of 2017 and 2020. We offer individual tax planning, the result being a suggested relocation from a high tax country to a jurisdiction offering favourable terms for the taxation of crypto gains. We know the tax systems of various well-known crypto-friendly jurisdictions and can assist with selecting the right country. We can also help if you have not reported taxable income and wish to regularize your situation by filing a voluntary disclosure. Our expertise in fiscal criminal law guarantees that clients will be able to avoid penalties as far as possible.
There is an increasing appetite of family offices and trusts to diversify into crypto assets, driven mainly by a younger generation of beneficiaries. We help you vet investment opportunities, while navigating through the patchwork of jurisdiction-specific regulatory requirements. One important aspect is tax reporting and here you are in the best of hands with us: One of our partners is co-editor of the leading treatise on worldwide crypto taxation, a book covering around 40 countries in more than 700 pages.
As an issuer of tokens in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) we can provide you with legally sound and commercially viable solutions that minimize your risks while realizing your goals. Our advice in this area covers the application of securities laws to this innovative method of financing, as well as the tax and accounting treatment of token issuances.