When Bitcoin became Legitcoin

There’s an audible buzz in our funds team at the moment. Not the usual, hum-drum whir of the air-conditioning, but a genuine feeling of excitement that we’re involved in something cutting-edge, something creative and something potentially so disruptive that it could change the way we do business entirely.

When my first client in the crypto-space came to me almost one year ago to discuss the idea of setting up a fund to trade crypto-currencies, my initial reaction was one of curiosity and, perhaps, a little scepticism. I’d been keeping a casual eye on Bitcoin for a couple of years and still thought of it as something for enthusiastic amateurs but never considered it as a place to make actual gains.

How wrong I was. Yesterday, I spoke with five potential new clients about establishing new ventures in the crypto-space, today another four and tomorrow, who knows. And that’s the reason I write this blog tonight. Perhaps this is a serious case of the Emperor’s New Clothes and we will all wake up tomorrow realising that we are walking through the streets naked. But what if it’s not? What if this is the new reality? Perhaps in a few years’ time, we won’t need to issue shares in a company to access capital. Perhaps all that will be required is an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) – a topic for another blog – and perhaps we won’t even need companies at all but groups of people connected by smart contracts – again, a topic for another blog. These are all huge ideas but things that the people we now have the privilege of speaking with on a daily basis are seriously contemplating.

Since establishing my first crypto-fund, we, as a team, have now established numerous others. With this experience comes an understanding of the nuances involved; how to custody the assets (who would have thought of the concept of “cold storage” – again, another blog), can subscriptions/redemptions be made in-kind from/to e-wallets and, if so, do we even need traditional banks any longer? As a team, we’ve learnt a lot along the way and we now feel that we have a strong grasp of the issues and, most importantly, the pitfalls, in establishing funds in this space. Things are moving at a rapid pace, and I’m not going to tell you that it’s easy to keep up, but I can tell you that we’re all loving the chase.

If you’re currently involved or looking to get involved in the crypto-space, either with a view to trading crypto-currencies or issuing your own coins, we’d love to chat and hear what you’re up to.

Lewis Chong
Funds partner Lewis Chong has practised law in London, New Zealand, BVI and Cayman and is now based in Vancouver. A former golden gloves boxing champion in New Zealand, Lewis now focusses his energy on slightly less dangerous activities like touch rugby and hiking.

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