The Who’s Who of #CryptoLaw Twitter – 2021

One lesson I’ve learned: regardless of domain – whether sports, school, or life – the best way to learn something is from the masters.

On the high school basketball team, coaches helped improve my game. In law school, upper-year students helped me navigate courses and practicing lawyers taught me about building a legal practice.

Time spent learning from successful people made me more successful.

The 5-chimps theory is often cited when discussing success/failure. The idea is you are the average of the 5 people you associate with most.

Social Networking Crowds Out Your "5 Chimps" - by Marc Weinstein - Look Up!  Weekly

Whether you believe the theory, surrounding yourself with people smarter than you is always a good idea (although your ego won’t always agree).

But easier said than done, right?

How can you surround yourself with smart people when you:

  • live in a small town
  • without a pre-established network
  • aren’t anyone special (despite your mother’s conviction)

Enter social media. Particularly this guy:

Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) | Twitter
Not LinkedIn

After joining Twitter months ago, I’m amazed at the incredible legal minds consistently posting interesting articles, short discussions, and insights on cryptocurrencies and related blockchain technologies. I’ve learned more in the past two months from these people than the previous 3-years on LinkedIn.

You want to learn more about crypto, particularly the legal side of it. So do I. Nice. So where do we go from here?

Read this list.

This is a list of the people who educate, debate, and contemplate laws affecting crypto & everything blockchain. They are some of the smartest people in the crypto space. I’m always impressed while reading (& often re-reading) their insights.

Listed in the order I discovered them, these are the people to follow if you want to understand blockchain laws and governance (incl. crypto, NFTs, DAOs, DeFi, etc):

*note, there may be many whom I miss, please leave their twitter handles in the comments for people to find.

Nick Szabo

For those unfamiliar with his work, Nick is a computer scientist, legal scholar, and cryptographer known for his research in digital contracts and digital currency. Bitgold – a paper which he authored in 1998 – was a mechanism for decentralized digital currency (sound familiar?). An OG of the crypto space, Nick uses his legal background to tie together code & law.

Collins Belton

Criminally under-followed, it is obvious Collins understands the laws relating to crypto better than most. I personally learn something from each tweet he posts. Currently the Managing Partner at Brookwood P.C., a boutique transactional practice focused on serving founders, startups and emerging technology companies, Collins was previously Counsel at Atrium LLP as part of the Atrium Fintech & Blockchain team, where we worked with fintech startups and companies employing blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies in their daily operations.

Aaron Wright

Co-Founder of OpenLaw & Professor at the Cardozo Law School, where he founded the Blockchain Project and Tech Startup Clinic, Aaron is involved in all things crypto law. He chairs the Legal Advisory Working Group for the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, and literally (co)wrote the book on Blockchain law. Like how Bitcoin ushered in an era of peer-to-peer payments, OpenLaw aims to usher in the future of peer-to-peer legal agreements. Aaron is also the owner of an awesome Cryptopunk.

Olta Andoni

The Chief Legal Officer at Niftys (previously a Prof and IP Law Attorney), Olta is extremely knowledgable about the laws surrounding NFTs. From her LinkedIn: “Leveraging many years of IP expertise, Ms. Andoni specializes in the creation of robust legal structures and compliance policies for fintech and blockchain companies.” She is employee No. 5 at Nifty’s, which recently raised pre-seed funding from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, among others.

Jake Chervinsky

More than just a (very) impressive resume, Jake consistently offers crypto-law tweets and a newsletter via substack. He’s involved in all aspects of the crypto ecosystem & has a fundamental understanding of the regulatory space surrounding crypto. Per his bio: Jake Chervinsky is General Counsel for Compound Labs, Inc., a financial technology company building a decentralized protocol for autonomous interest rate markets on the Ethereum blockchain.

Lewis Cohen

Besides being the owner of an the awesome Twitter handle, Lewis is an experienced corporate attorney specializing in all aspects of blockchain and distributed ledger technology, smart contracts, cryptocurrencies and other new capital raising techniques and structures for businesses. He acts as an incredible “filter” as he retweets many insightful threads and opinions (as well as offering his own).

Kathryn Haun

Kathryn is a General Partner and co-chair of crypto funds at Andreessen Horowitz. She also serves as an independent director on the board of Coinbase, where she chairs its Nomination and Governance Committee. Before venture capital, Katie spent a decade as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice, where she focused on fraud, cyber, and corporate crime, creating the government’s first cryptocurrency task force.

Muharem Kianieff

Dr. Kianieff is an Associate Professor at Windsor Law where he specializes in consumer payment mechanisms and blockchain laws. At Windsor, Dr. Kianieff teaches Blockchain & the Law, the first course of its kind in Canada, and the course that opened my eyes to the potential of blockchain technology. Professor Kianieff is also the author of Blockchain Technology and the Law: Opportunities and Risks.

Paul Grewal

I first discovered Paul in his interview with Jonah Perlin on the How I Lawyer podcast. Paul is currently the Chief Legal Officer at Coinbase, where he presides over the company’s global legal operations. Prior to his appointment, Paul was VP and Deputy General Counsel of Facebook, a U.S. Magistrate Judge, and a Partner at Howrey LLP. He continuously provides valuable advice and updates on all things crypto.

Drew Hinkes

Drew has been involved in blockchain law for years, and his tweets reflect his deep understanding. Per his bio: Nominated as one of Coindesk’s Most Influential People in Blockchain in 2017, Andrew “Drew” Hinkes is a Partner with K&L Gates, working as part of its National Blockchain and Digital Currency practice.  Drew was appointed as an Adjunct Professor by the NYU Stern Business School and the NYU School of Law, where he co-teaches “Digital Currency, Blockchains, and the Future of the Financial Services Industry.” Drew is also the co-founder and General Counsel of Athena Blockchain, a professional services firm focused on tokenized investment products.

Jason Gottlieb

Jason tweets about regulatory issues relating to all things DeFi. He is a Partner in Morrison Cohen LLP’s Business Litigation Department, and Chair of the White Collar and Regulatory Enforcement practice group. Jason is the principal author of the MoCo Cryptocurrency Litigation Tracker, and was named to the National Law Journal‘s inaugural list of Cryptocurrency, Blockchain and Fintech Trailblazers.  Jason regularly advises U.S. and foreign companies on blockchain and cryptocurrency law relating to litigation and regulatory risk issues, and has been widely published and quoted in the media for his cryptocurrency and blockchain expertise.

Hester Peirce

You may recognize Hester as the crypto-interested SEC Commissioner; She is known as “Crypto Mom” because of her positive regulatory stance on digital assets. Prior to joining the SEC, Commissioner Peirce conducted research on the regulation of financial markets at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, and was also an associate at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering. She will be instrumental in the widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies.

Nelson Rosario

Come for the legal insights, stay for the memes. One of the most entertaining follows on crypto twitter, Nelson is the Principal at Smolinski Rosario Law, where he specializes in the laws surrounding financial and blockchain technologies. Per his bio: Mr. Rosario has a background in computer science, and he writes and speaks regularly on emerging technology issues relevant to attorneys and entrepreneurs. In addition, Mr. Rosario teaches a class called “Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and Law” at Illinois Tech, Chicago-Kent College of Law covering the legal and technology issues surrounding the blockchain space.

Gabriel Shapiro

A crypto punks crypto lawyer – Gabriel is an expert on all things crypto and one of my most important twitter follows. If you’re at all interested in crypto and Web 3.0, you must follow Gabriel. A Partner at Belcher, Smolen & Van Loo LLP, he is corporate attorney for builders of DeFi, DAOs, blockchain & other decentralization technologies. Gabriel is incredibly knowledgable about the space, and the breadth of his understanding is enormous.

Stephen Palley

Partner at the Washington D.C. office of Anderson Kill, he is co-chair of Anderson Kill’s recently launched Blockchain and Virtual Currency group. He has written and been quoted widely on legal issues arising from the use of Blockchain technology, with appearances in both print and television media.  Very smart and knowledgable on all things crypto, you’ll learn plenty (and have the occasional laugh) from Stephen’s tweets. After reviewing his profile, can confirm he looks different than his twitter photo.

Zach Smolinski

An IP Lawyer, Zach is also very knowledgable about blockchain technology and the laws around it. He is an experienced general counsel having a focus on intellectual property, transactional, and M&A law and a strong interest in emerging technologies. Zach also coordinates and speaks monthly at BUZZ, a blockchain discussion group in Chicago.

Sasha Hodder

A former attorney specializing in digital currency, Sasha is currently Senior Counsel at Exodus (a crypto wallet business). She writes extensively on her blog about all things crypto, money transmission, and much more.

Evan Thomas

A fellow Canadian, Evan works on cases involving technology and data, such as disputes involving data licensing, privacy, data security, information technology projects, cryptocurrencies, online defamation/brand protection and access to information. Evan regularly speaks (and tweets) on all-things crypto and the law.

Ross Campbell

An editor at LexDAO and co-founder of OpenEsquire, Ross is building a LegalEngineering venture reprogramming organizations and their assets on OpenLaw and Ethereum. Openesq.tech is wicked. He also hosts many session on LexDAO where he offers explanations of smart contracts. Ross is very knowledgable about all things blockchain and provides consistently great insights. Per his bio: Focus on blockchain and cryptocurrency industry; representing startups creating and managing digital assets; building automated agreements through blockchain programming. You’ll be glad you followed Ross.

Preston Byrne

Not only does Preston have a dog with laser eyes (awesome), he also knows crypto laws inside and out. Partner at Anderson Kill, Preston’s practice focuses on helping early-stage technology companies with corporate transactions, IP, and other complex cross-border legal issues. He previously co-founded and was COO of early enterprise blockchain startup Monax, the first permissioned blockchain, in 2014. He also runs a very interesting blog in his namesake.

Angela Walch

Those interested in crypto should Walch-out for Angela’s tweets (I’m sorry). She’s been involved in crypto since almost the beginning, coming at it from a purely academic approach. A Professor at St. Mary’s Law, Angela is also a research associate at the UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies. You’ll learn about the legal side of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from Angela. From her bio: Her research focuses on money and the law, cryptocurrencies, blockchain technologies, and financial stability. Walch’s work on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies is internationally recognized, and she speaks at events around the world.

Primavera De Filippi

While her tweets are less frequent than others, her work in blockchain cannot be understated. Co-author of the book Blockchain & the Law, Primavera’s research focuses on the legal challenges and opportunities of blockchain technology and artificial intelligence, with specific focus on governance and trust. She was a founding member of the Global Future Council on Blockchain Technologies at the World Economic Forum, and co-founder of the Internet Governance Forum’s Dynamic Coalitions on Blockchain Technology (COALA). 

Marc Goldich

In addition to smoking meats, Marc is a seasoned litigator, President and CLO of LawCoin (dejure.io) – a legal industry fintech platform – and Partner at Axler Goldich (axlergoldich.com), a class action, commercial litigation, whistleblower, and business advisory law firm. He knows his crypto laws, and he sure knows how to cook.

Hailey Lennon

As a Partner at Anderson Kill, Hailey provides legal consulting to crypto and fintech companies. She previously spent time as regulatory counsel for various companies in the crypto space, including Coinbase, bitFlyer, and Silvergate Bank. Her tweets are both entertaining and informative, and she frequently speaks at major conferences about the laws surrounding cryptocurrencies.

Peter Van Valkenburgh

The director of research at CoinCenter, Peter has been writing about Bitcoin since before it was cool (around 2014, at least). A rare mix of coder & lawyer, Peter attended the NYU School of Law (specializing in IP Law) before his current role at CoinCenter. He writes and speaks extensively around all things crypto and blockchain, and recently testified before the US House of Representatives.

Marco Santori

The Chief Legal Officer at crypto exchange Kraken, Marco is a recognized authority on the laws of blockchain. Before Kraken (per bio), “Marco was the Chief Legal Officer of Blockchain.com, as well as a Partner at both Cooley LLP and Pillsbury Winthrop, where he counselled banks, broker-dealers, exchanges, digital wallets, payment providers, and other companies making new uses of distributed ledger technology.”

Jesse Halfon

Jesse writes about NFTs, DAOs and Intellectual Property Law for Creators & Platforms. He has a newsletter on substack and a site dedicated to his legal practice. One of the rare legal minds who owns a cryptopunk, Jesse wrote the NFT Legal Guide for Creators, an educational guide for artists and creators entering the world of NFTs (it’s great).

Dan Robinson

Another rare coder/lawyer, Dan works at Paradigm as a Research Partner. At Paradigm, they are working to create a new kind of investment firm. Dan’s research is focused on crypto investments and open-source protocols. He previously practiced as a litigation attorney at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. Dan writes extensively about crypto and is extremely knowledgable about the space.

Tonya Evans

Tonya is an expert in NFTs and the laws surrounding them. A frequent contributor to all things crypto law, she is a “global leader, accomplished academic and administrator, and world-renowned speaker with over twenty years of experience in law, innovation, academia and entrepreneurship.” She also runs a popular course “From Cash to Crypto” and hosts (and cohosts) two podcasts. Not your typical Professor.

OTHERS YOU SHOULD BE FOLLOWING

Thanks for reading! Hope this helps you curate your Twitter to learn more about all things blockchains & the law.

Did I miss anyone? Let me know who should be included in the comments below.

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One thought on “The Who’s Who of #CryptoLaw Twitter – 2021

  1. I’ve been writing patents for Ethereum since before the crowdsale but I’m not well connected in the space. I’d love to get some advice on the projects I’m currently working on. I’m looking for a lawyer that specializes in ERISA law for a paid sick leave startup solution that uses Ethereum. If you have time to chat that would be awesome.

    Like

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