Legal + Regulatory

Blockchain ICOs

Security, Commodity, or Both?

April 26, 2018 12:00 pm - April 26, 2018 1:00 pm



Money raised from initial coin offerings surged close to $5 billion in the first quarter of 2018, even as regulators have escalated warnings about this form of corporate funding.

ICOs are often described as being between an initial public offering and crowdfunding. With such big sums being raised, regulators are seeking ways to create the right framework for supervision while continuing to foster innovation.

The SEC recently commented that ICOs in many cases look like securities, suggesting companies may need to register the deals and warn investors to approach these offerings with caution. The exchangeable tokens used in an ICO can also be seen as commodities, potentially subject to regulation by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

This webinar will bring together a panel of experts to explore this topic from multiple perspectives and provide their insights on the implications for companies and investors.


Troy A. Paredes

Founder, Paredes Strategies LLC

From 2008-2013, Paredes was a Commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, having been appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Paredes served as an SEC Commissioner during an especially historic time at the SEC and for our economy – namely, throughout the financial crisis and its aftermath, including the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act. He played a key role in rulemakings and other regulatory matters concerning all aspects of the SEC’s mission and securities regulation, including, among other things, antifraud and anticorruption, public company disclosures, capital formation, corporate governance, executive compensation, investment management, investment advisors, broker-dealers, exchanges, credit rating agencies, equity market structure, fixed income markets, derivatives, auditing and accounting, and cybersecurity. At the SEC, Paredes was a strong advocate for small business and the JOBS Act, for solving the information overload problem of securities law disclosure, and for rigorous cost-benefit analysis. He also consistently expressed concerns about the overregulation and overreach of the Dodd-Frank Act.

Since leaving government, Paredes has had a wide-ranging consulting practice. Paredes advises on financial regulation, compliance, risk management, corporate governance, governmental and regulatory affairs, and administrative agency process. He also serves as an expert and advisor in regulatory enforcement investigations and in private litigation involving securities law and corporate law.

Given Paredes’ extensive government, private sector, and academic experience, Paredes Strategies LLC also serves as an independent compliance consultant/corporate monitor.

Before becoming an SEC Commissioner, Paredes was a professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis and a professor of business (by courtesy) at Washington University’s Olin Business School, joining the faculty after having worked as a corporate lawyer. Currently, he is a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at NYU School of Law and a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. He also was the Distinguished Policy Fellow and Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and has been a visiting professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center and UCLA School of Law.

Paredes is the author of numerous academic articles on financial regulation, corporate governance, innovation, behavioral economics, and administrative agencies. And he is a co-author (beginning with the 4th edition) of a multi-volume securities regulation treatise with Louis Loss and Joel Seligman entitled Securities Regulation.

In addition to his writing, Paredes co-hosts a podcast on fintech called “Appetite for Disruption.”

Paredes is a senior advisor at CamberView Partners, a member of the board of directors at NAVEX Global, a member of the board of advisors at StreetShares, a member of the board of advisors at Templum, and a member of the compliance advisory council at Balyasny Asset Management. He served on the board of directors of Electronifie from 2015-2017.

Paredes holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from UC Berkeley and earned his J.D. from Yale Law School.

John A. Squires

Partner; Chairman of IP and Emerging Company Practice, Dilworth Paxson

John A. Squires has a broad and globally recognized intellectual property practice and is considered one of the world's thought leaders in FinTech, Blockchain, Cybersecurity and Risk. He has extensive experience in all aspects of IP and emerging companies, including transactional, licensing; patent-asset creation and acquisition, commercial litigation, regulatory, and risk management. John led the creation of the United States’ first patent asset backed finance platform for one of the world's leading funds. He co-founded, launched and sits on the board of numerous IP and risk related businesses, including the nation’s RegTech platform and Regulatory DataCorp, Inc.

In response to the 9/11 attacks, John and 20 of the world's leading financial institutions established an anti-money laundering, anti-terrorist financing information and analytics business. His recent Fintech/Regtech engagements include groundbreaking efforts focused on financial inclusion and empowerment, impact investing and global standards setting and compliance. John began his IP/Fintech career as Chief IP Counsel for Goldman Sachs from 2000-2009.

Serina Vash

Executive Director, Governance, Risk, + Compliance, RANE

Prior to joining RANE, Serina was the Executive Director, Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement at NYU Law. A seasoned former federal prosecutor and litigator, Vash brings with her two decades of practical experience and a passion for tackling the issue of deterring crime. Before joining NYU, Vash served for twelve years in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. While at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Vash supervised and prosecuted a wide range of federal crimes, including cases involving securities fraud, money laundering, structuring, organized crime and racketeering, cybercrime, national security, and other financial frauds. In 2010, Vash was named the first-ever Chief of the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Vash also served as Acting Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, Senior Litigation Counsel in both the Organized Crime/Gang Unit and the National Security Unit, and a member of the Office’s Trial Mentorship Program.

Prior to becoming an Assistant United States Attorney in 2002, Vash was a litigation associate at Cahill Gordon & Reindel in New York from 1995 to 1999. From 1999 to 2001, Vash served as the first law clerk to the Honorable Faith S. Hochberg of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. Vash graduated in 1992 from Duke University and graduated cum laude in 1995 from St. John’s University School of Law, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Vash has lectured throughout the country on criminal investigations, criminal prosecution and crime prevention. She is a member of the Bars of the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, the District of New Jersey, Southern District of New York, Eastern District of New York and the United States Supreme Court.

David Lawrence (Moderating)

Founder and Chief Collaborative Officer, RANE

David Lawrence is the Founder and Chief Collaborative Officer of RANE. He previously served for approximately 20 years as Associate General Counsel and Managing Director at Goldman Sachs. During his tenure, David formed and was the global head of the Business Intelligence Group. His role covered a wide range of legal, regulatory, diligence and transactional responsibilities for the firm, as well as advising Goldman’s clients directly. David served on a number of the firm’s global risk-management and investment committees, including its Commitments and Capital Committees. During his tenure, David worked with his industry counterparts to lead in the development of Wall Street’s first design and implementation of controls and technology to safeguard against money-laundering, illicit finance, terrorism financing, foreign corrupt practices and violations of economic sanctions. In 2013, David received the FBI Director’s Award for his efforts in combating international terrorism.