Jean-Jacques “J” Cabou, a litigator at Perkins Coie, will be at the Winter Expo to join in the discussion about virtual currency. Jean-Jacques has been a legal presence at the center of the dialogue entrepreneurs involved in Bitcoin and state and federal regulators. He will bring an important, and often overlooked element to the discussion of virtual currency: compliance with regulation.
“My expertise is in white collar criminal and regulatory defense. I do a tremendous amount of work in asset seizure or forfeiture, and those are some specialties that became very relevant in the digital currency sphere after the Mt. Gox related seizures. People started asking a lot of questions about seizures, forfeitures as relates to digital currency businesses.” Jean-Jacques said.
The biggest milestone to date in the relationship between Bitcoin and the US government was the recent Capitol Hill hearing.
“I’m encouraged by the constructive conversations that were had on capital hill between the law makers and members of the Bitcoin ecosystem. I think it’s commendable to see people at a very high level of government taking an interest in hearing from people who are the technology experts and who are really familiar with the Bitcoin space, rather than simply trying to proceed on rumor and innuendo that’s often present in the press.” Jean-Jacques said.
But the obstacles that Bitcoin faces are still multifaceted. There is not yet a happy marriage between the many federal law and Bitcoin. But the more daunting legal briar patch is collection of state laws.
“There’s a patchwork quilt of fifty different state laws that may or may not apply in certain spaces depending on the business model. There are a lot of things for Bitcoin companies to be aware of.” Jean-Jacques said.
The other obstacle that Bitcoin has to face is the skepticism from established financial institutions that guard entry into the economy, such as banks. The fear of risks associated with Bitcoin, such as money laundering, still clings to the many bank’s perception of virtual currency, and until that changes Bitcoin is going to have a slow go of things.
“It’s a stretch to really get a traditional banking institution to bank a bitcoin company. That’s the challenge for these companies, especially for companies in the United States, because at some point they need a normalized banking relationship where the bank knows what their business is and understands it.” Jean-Jacques said.
But despite these challenges, Bitcoin has proved so far to be a tenacious new solution to financial and economic problems, a solution that laws and regulations will eventually have to come to terms with.
“I don’t think virtual currency is just a flash in the pan, it’s here to stay. I think it has an important contribution to make to the global payment ecosystem with its ability to reduce transaction cost, offer finality, and offer a great degree of certainty across international boundaries. Both regulators and law enforcement are appropriately interested in trying to figure out what tools they need to have in place, both legal and investigative, to root out and detect criminal behavior that is taking advantage of virtual currency. The technology is revolutionary.” Jean-Jacques said.
At the Expo, Jean-Jacques hopes to bring his wisdom as a lawyer who is very familiar with legal regulations and the pitfalls that can lead to startups being criminally charged.
“I don’t want to be the ice bath on top of innovation. This a pretty unique situation where you have a technology driven industry that is led by incredibly innovative and passionate people with this incredible entrepreneurial spirit, and they tend, in my experience, not to focus on things that will limit their success, but rather to focus on things that can grow their success as quickly as possible. By virtue of the fact that financial services is a highly regulated industry, it’s not an industry in which you can really grow significantly without dealing with the regulatory compliance side.” Jean-Jacques said.
Don’t forget to register for our Bitcoin EXPO on December 5th, where you can check out Jean-Jacques and our other speakers, along with pitches from Bitcoin startups and other financial technologies.
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