Legal and Business Consulting for your Project.
Advances in Blockchain and DLT are poised to change the world. We know this. You know this. Unfortunately, government agencies and corporate stakeholders are still trying to play catch up. Regulatory bodies have yet to develop sustainable frameworks necessary for the DLT industry’s growth potential. Trying to guess the appropriate next steps for your DLT project is not only frustrating, but could result in dangerous legal ramifications for your best intentions.
That’s where we step in. We are a group of blockchain attorneys who stay up to date with recent trends in the industry, and monitor developments in the regulatory bodies across the world. We help entrepreneurs reach their industry changing potential, while ensuring that regulatory demands and necessary corporate frameworks are met. We helps companies apply DLT innovations to their existing businesses, while ensuring that regulatory concerns are considered and implemented.
We believe in the Blockchain and DLT industry, and want to ensure that innovators and market participants have access to competent and affordable legal and consulting services for their projects.
2021 Update: Support for DeFi Projects
Decentralized Finance or “DeFi” is one of the hottest areas in the crypto/blockchain world in 2020. This space can be roughly defined as the provision of financial market-like services and facilities completely within the crypto space, typically, and sometimes completely, mediated by smart contracts published immutably on the blockchain. DeFi encompasses borrowing and lending, margining, derivatives, token/coin exchange (as in decentralized exchanges, or “DEXes”), and more. The opportunity to earn “yield” by participating in DeFi (sometimes in a conveniently-mediated way) has earned the excitement of those thirsting for returns in a world of suppressed banking rates, while the potential to finally supplant outmoded aspects of the old financial system — seen to be a “promise” on the horizon since the advent of bitcoin over a decade ago — has captivated imaginations.
However, those spearheading DeFi projects should know that there are many legal considerations implicated by these activities. DeFi occurs at the intersection of many areas of law — including, but not limited to, securities law, banking law, lending law, anti-money laundering (AML) law, commodities and derivatives law, and even gaming/wagering law. Further, as many DeFi projects integrate a Decentralized Autonomous Organization, or “DAO”, areas such as corporate, nonprofit and/or foundation law, as well as international law and the specific law of various jurisdictions come into play. Project founders and other participants should be aware that they may create additional liability — including for themselves as individuals — by launching a DeFi project without checking to make sure there are not significant legal tripwires ahead of them. Often times, these hazards can be avoided or mitigated by consulting with legal advisors who are well-versed in DeFi and crypto generally, and who understand their interactions with both established legal disciplines of relevance, as well as more fluid and nebulous aspects of regulatory concern. A “DeFi legal checkup” with IBL is well worth it — especially done in advance!
Alexander Rodriguez, Esq.
Alexander regularly advises clients on corporate transactions, alternative investments, and Blockchain/Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) related matters. He has helped companies raise capital through traditional and nontraditional vehicles, and advises clients on a variety of business arrangements. He has experience advising investors, entrepreneurs, and startups through the different stages of corporate growth, including acting as outside general counsel for several of these companies.
Prior to practicing law, over the span of 10 years, he successfully founded and operated several businesses in the legal-technology, human resources/outsourcing, and entertainment industries.
Alexander earned a Master’s degree in finance from Harvard University, where he served as a Vice President for the Harvard Graduate Council and Senior Editor for the Harvard Journal on Hispanic Policy. He was also a Research Assistant at Harvard’s Davis Center of Eurasian Studies and lectured at multiple universities in Russia.
While pursuing his dual J.D. and M.B.A. degree from St. Thomas University, Alexander was a Director for the Dade County Bar Association and received a Pro-Bono Commendation certificate for performing over 100 hours of pro bono service.
During his studies at Florida International University, he served as the College of Business Representative for the Student Government Association, was a member of AKPsi, and participated in a study abroad program in China’s Tianjin University.
He is the Immediate Past President of the Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys (MAHA). During his incumbency as MAHA’s President, Alexander led the organization’s largest fundraiser to date, in collaboration with the world renowned musical, Hamilton, for the benefit of families affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. In 2018, he also served as Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) Region 1 Deputy President .
Alexander is licensed to practice law in the State of Florida, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, & the District of Columbia.
Aaron P. Krowne, Esq.
Aaron Krowne is a New York city-based attorney who primarily works with small businesses and startups, and in particular, blockchain-based ventures. Mr. Krowne has represented a number of well known clients in the blockchain space, helping companies reach their business structuring, capital formation, and go-to-market strategy goals.
Prior to entering the practice of law, Mr. Krowne was a serial internet entrepreneur with multiple lauded successes, a software developer and a data scientist (he holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science and a Bachelor’s in Mathematics).
He is certified in privacy law, and possesses years of legal practice experience and a full educational background in intellectual property law. He enjoys bringing his technical and venture experience directly to bear on blockchain legal practice.
Maria Mendoza, Esq.
María G. Mendoza is an experienced lawyer and her practice focuses on a wide range of complex civil litigation, immigration, and appellate matters. Internationally, Ms. Mendoza represents clients in all facets of the employment-based immigration arena, real estate developers on various issues, and corporate clients.
Ms. Mendoza started her legal career as a judicial law clerk to the Hon. Vanessa Ruiz of the D.C. Court of Appeals. Ms. Mendoza has worked as a litigator at a boutique firm in the District of Columbia, where she successfully litigated over fifty IDEA matters and represented clients in litigation before the District Court for the District of Columbia. As a law student, she also worked in Schering Plough’s legal department, where she worked on complex pharmaceutical and labor law litigation disputes, and she was a summer associate at a major law firm in the Southwest.
She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and served on the Board of Directors for the Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia for several years at the beginning of her career. She currently serves as a Board of Director for the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia and previously held leadership positions with the D.C. Bar and Gateway Community Development Corporation. She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Arizona, College of Law and her undergrate degree from New Mexico State University, and is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia and Maryland.
Rogelio J. Carrasquillo, Esq.
Roy has been providing strategic guidance and advice to clients in a variety of complex and sophisticated legal transactions for almost 20 years. He advises domestic and foreign companies, multinationals, and entrepreneurs on their business activities and investment considerations in the United States and throughout Latin America, Asia, and Europe, including in cross-border transactions. He earned his J.D. from University of Pennsylvania Law School, and his B.S.F.S. from Georgetown University.
Roy worked with various US and international law firms in New York, Puerto Rico and Shanghai, China. Roy began his career as an associate of the New York office of Fried Frank where he represented foreign and domestic issuers with their capital markets, securities and corporate needs. He has also been a partner with Akerman LLP, Fox Rothschild and Cozen O’Connor. He was also the Secretary of the Board of Directors of First BanCorp (NYSE: FBP), the financial holding company of FirstBank Puerto Rico and a member of the Board of Directors of Metro Puerto Rico, LLC and the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance in New York.
Roy assists clients in equity and debt offerings registered under U.S. securities laws, the issuance of equity and debt in global transactions not subject to the registration requirements of U.S. securities laws — principally Rule 144A, Regulation S and Regulation D offerings, 1934 and 1933 Act compliance — and with corporate governance and securities regulation matters. Roy also advises clients on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, corporate finance, real estate transactions, and infrastructure development, with an emphasis on Puerto Rico and the Latin American region. He routinely counsels U.S. and foreign clients and high net worth individuals seeking to relocate to Puerto Rico on maximizing available opportunities under the Puerto Rico economic tax incentives pursuant to Puerto Rico Acts 20 and 22.
Eric Ubias, Esq.
Eric N. Ubias advises companies with an international footprint and foreign sales to navigate the complex thicket of U.S. regulations in the areas of digital assets, U.S. trade sanctions and export controls, and anti-corruption.
Mr. Ubias has advised public and privately held companies across a broad spectrum of industries (including manufacturing, retail, oil & gas, telecommunications, real estate, mining, and infrastructure projects) and in various countries around the world. This includes advising clients implementing or enhancing compliance programs, securities guidance, managing due diligence for M&A and capital market transactions, conducting cross-border investigations, and responding to civil investigative demands, voluntary requests, and subpoenas from U.S. regulators and enforcement authorities.
His trade sanctions and export controls experience includes advising on requirements related to the use of foreign software developers and exports of encryption technology, preparing OFAC and BIS license applications and voluntary disclosures, performing commodity classifications and sanctions screenings, and advising on the deployment of defense service in compliance with ITAR.
Prior to serving as Of Counsel to IBL, he was Senior Counsel with a boutique firm specializing in cross-border trade compliance with a primary focus on U.S. sanctions and export controls. Mr. Ubias was also previously a Senior Associate in the White Collar Defense Group at Latham & Watkins where his work included conducting anti-corruption advisory work and cross-border internal investigations in response to federal enforcement actions.
Mr. Ubias received his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center where he served on the Editorial Board of The Tax Lawyer, a joint publication with the ABA Section of Taxation. He received his B.A. in International Relations from Tufts University. He is licensed to practice law in New York, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. and is admitted to practice in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. He is a member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) and holds an IAPP CIPP/US certification. He is also an active member of the National Hispanic Bar Association and Hispanic Bar Association of DC.
Genevieviette Walker-Lightfoot, Esq.
Genevievette E. Walker-Lightfoot was previously employed as an attorney in the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C., from 2001-2006, where she worked on policy matters and conducted examinations and inspections of transfer agents, brokerage firms, hedge funds, equities and options exchanges, ATSs, SROs, credit rating agencies, mutual fund companies and investment advisers and companies. Genevievette was the lead attorney on the 2003-2004 Madoff examination conducted by OCIE and identified the substantial elements of his fraud in 2004, as detailed in a July 2, 2009, Washington Post article. However, despite her attempts to pursue her findings, her supervisors directed her efforts elsewhere, missing an opportunity to have caught Madoff’s Ponzi scheme four years prior to him turning himself in to authorities.
Ms. Walker-Lightfoot received the SEC’s Chairman’s Award for Excellence for her work on the Mutual Fund Reform Team, as well as the SEC’s Capital Markets Award for her work on the Research Analyst/Investment Banking Conflicts of Interest Team. Prior to the SEC, Genevievette was employed with the American Stock Exchange’s Member Firm Regulation Division in New York and the Dispute Resolution Department of the NASDR, now known as FINRA, in Washington, D.C. from 1999-2001.
Genevievette was employed with the Federal Reserve Board in the Division of Banking Supervision and Regulation’s Large Institutions Group in Washington, D.C., from 2006-2011, where she had responsibility for the Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, the Depository Trust Corporation and ICE Trust. She was previously a member of the Market and Liquidity Risk Group where she was the SEC, brokerage firm and private equity and merchant banking activities risk specialist for banking organizations.
Currently, Ms. Walker-Lightfoot is in private practice in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, where she focuses on securities and banking law, as well as provides business and corporate law general counsel services. She is also a FINRA arbitrator and serves on the Board of Directors of a Maryland education advocacy group. And she designs and teaches wealth management and securities compliance courses for Albany Law School in Albany, NY. She also teaches business law courses at UMGC in Maryland.
She is a graduate of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. where she received a Bachelor of Arts in government, with a concentration in international relations and a minor in French (1995). She also holds a J.D. and International Law Certificate from the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. (1999) and an M.B.A. from the R.H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland at College Park, Maryland (2007). She has been a member of the State Bar of Maryland since January of 2000 and the U.S. Supreme Court bar since 2009.
Richard Nacht, Esq.
Richard Nacht, based in Princeton, NJ, has been counsel and advisor to more than 750 startups and early-stage entrepreneurs and is outside counsel to multiple clients. Mr. Nacht provides his clients with a thorough understanding of the increasingly complex intersection of law and business taking into account both the corporate and legal perspectives. He advises clients on securities and regulatory matters, including various stages of raising capital, corporate governance, and clients in or entering blockchain and cryptocurrency markets with business models that require careful analysis to ensure compliance with various state and federal laws and regulations implemented by a wide variety of government agencies.
Mr. Nacht has been practicing law for 35 years, having attended New York Law School, and holds an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business. Together with his law practice, he has created six companies, including an Inc. 500 company sold to a national competitor. Mr. Nacht is a member of the New Jersey bar as well as the federal courts, including the bar of the United States Supreme Court. He has served clients in 45 U.S. states and more than a dozen jurisdictions across the globe.
Christopher Ray, Esq.
Christopher Ray is a corporate and securities attorney who focuses on private fundraising under the JOBS Act, data privacy and GDPR compliance, and fundraising in complex regulatory environments such as cryptocurrency and DLT projects, private equity transactions, exotic financial products, and international investment deals.
He had provided legal services to businesses of all sizes, from startups to publicly-traded companies, in an array of industries, including blockchain/DLT, robotics, e-commerce, software-as-a-service, cannabis industry, and biotechnology, on corporate drafting and negotiation, formation issues including corporate governance matters (operating agreements, shareholder agreements, partnership agreements), fundraising, international tax compliance, regulatory (SEC & CFTC) compliance, and litigation arising from the same, including derivative suits.
Christopher graduated from Suffolk University Law School with distinction, and is licensed to practice in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Ali Derie, Esq.
Ali Derie is a CAMs certified attorney with a speciality in AML/KYC and privacy regulations. His practice focuses on regulatory compliance and privacy issues, and he advises DLT/tech companies in general corporate matters, securities and regulatory analysis, anti-money laundering requirements, and other corporate best practices. He received his law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School, and his bachelor degree from Suny Buffalo.
Prior to joining IBL as Of Counsel, Mr. Derie was in Citibank’s global risk management team, where he enhance the bank’s compliance function by drafting summaries of pertinent U.S. and international regulations and laws for non-legal personnel, mapping obligations to responsible units, and participating in improving monitoring and surveillance design.
Mr. Derie served as Attorney Analyst at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, where he investigated financial institutions for mortgage-backed securities fraud. He also served as Privacy and Records Access Attorney at NYC’s Department of Education, where he processed Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests and appeals, monitored compliance with FOIL and other governmental regulations and statutes, drafted FOIL legal determinations, and provided advice on privacy related agreements and contractual provisions.
Atilla Baksay, Esq.
Atilla Z. Baksay is a Colorado-based attorney practicing transactional and corporate law as well as securities regulation. Atilla represents clients in the negotiation and drafting of transactional (e.g. master service, purchase and sale, license, and SaaS agreements) and corporate (e.g. restricted stock transfers, stock options plans, convertible notes/SAFE/SAFT agreements, bylaws / operating agreements, loan agreements, personal guarantees, and security agreements) contracts, in-house documents (e.g. employment policies, separation agreements, employment/independent contractor/consultant agreements, NDAs, brokerage relationship policies, and office policy memoranda), and digital policies (e.g. terms of service, privacy policies, CCPA notices, and GDPR notices). Atilla also assists the firm in the drafting of legal opinions concerning the security status of digital currencies and assets.
Prior to joining IBL, Atilla practiced international trade law at the Office of the United States Trade Representative, where his practice spanned economic sanctions enacted against goods originating in the People’s Republic of China valued at $500 billion. Afterwards, Atilla joined a Colorado law firm practicing civil litigation, where the majority of his practice comprised of construction defect suits.
He received his Juris Doctor from American University, Washington College of Law, where he was a James Day Energy and Natural Resources Law Scholarship Recipient, and served on the American University International Law Review, the International Trade, the Investment Law Society, and the European Law Association.
Mr. Baksay received a Master of Arts in International Affairs in American University, School of International Service, and a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, in Political Science and European Studies from Rutgers University.
He is licensed to practice law in the State of Colorado and District of Columbia.
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