It has been said that we tend to overestimate the impact of a new technology in the short run, but we underestimate it in the long run. Whatever the impact of advances in AI (artificial intelligence), distributed ledger technologies, cloud computing, robotics and countless other technologies that are still to come, you want to make sure that you are positioned to benefit from them commercially, whilst maintaining full regulatory compliance. We have a team that can:
- ensure that your commercial contracts fully reflect the nature of the technology/product you are implementing
- set up and manage the patent portfolios that will protect the IP that you develop or acquire
- correctly value risk and structure transactions involving innovative technologies
- use its experience and understanding of the regulatory landscape to ensure that you remain compliant throughout.
The application of technology to the financial services industry is arguably most obvious in the area of crowdfunding, with this tool being hailed as a democratising force in finance. Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platforms are disrupting finance at a phenomenal pace. At the same time they are stretching the boundaries of existing regulation and demanding fresh approaches to corporate structuring.
CMS has advised on numerous crowdfunding ventures, spanning property, investments and wealth management, consumer finance and sport. Ours is a market leading practice for market leading and challenger clients. Combining our expertise in start-up support, IP, regulatory, technology and payments, we can ensure that a new platform gets off to a strong start.
The various crowdfunding ventures we have advised include:
- Property Partner, who we supported on their journey to regulatory sign-off with the FCA to operate a multilateral trading facility, making them the first crowdfunding platform to achieve this
- Brickvest, a platform for professional and high net worth investors
- IntroCrowd, a crowdfunding platform that focuses on strategic land investment
- UK Bond Network, having acted for the platform itself and also advised on deals that take place through the platform
- Fineqia, a platform that showcases debt and equity investment opportunities
- Envestors, having acted for the platform itself and also advised on deals that take place through the platform
- Ratesetter, a peer-to-peer lending platform that focuses on lending to businesses
- LendInvest, a property investment platform
- Octopus Choice, a peer-to-peer lending platform that focuses on the property industry
- Shojin, an investment platform which brings together investors with property developers.
This emerging technology has already had a disruptive effect on the financial services industry, with some comparing it to the emergence of the internet in the nineties. Various regulators have already expressed views relating to the potential ramifications of cryptocurrencies entering the mainstream and how to regulate the industry in the future. This means that organisations looking to launch their own cryptocurrency must make particularly sure they are being given the best advice.
The CMS FinTech team has advised a number of clients in the cryptocurrency industry. This includes advising on a number of initial coin offerings (ICOs). The CMS FinTech team has developed a substantial body of knowledge and experience.
Some examples of our work in relation to cryptocurrencies include advising:
- on the establishment of a bitcoin mining company
- B2C2, a crypto-currency trading business based in Belgium and the UK
- Crypto Facilities, an FCA-authorised crypto-currency derivative investment platform
- London Football Exchange on its ICO, relating to the launch for a football share trading platform and associated football related services
- Zonafide on its ICO, relating to a digital wallet for securing activities using blockchain technology
- Evident on its ICO, relating to an Ethereum and token-based service that turns data into proof of evidence chains
- EnvisionX on its ICO, relating to digital advertising empowered by blockchain
- various overseas companies in relation to market an ICO and cryptocurrencies in the UK
- payment services firms and e-money providers on launching payments products that can be used by the cryptocurrency industry
- crowdfunding platforms on establishing blockchain based investment trading platforms.
We are also currently working with various other clients to develop and establish businesses in the cryptocurrency industry.
For more information on our experience with cryptocurrencies, click here.
You can return to the FinTech expertise section.