Episode 1 — A complex decentralized global technology challenges traditional legal principles around the world.


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Read the transcript

Host:
Chitra Ragavan
Chief Strategy Officer
Gem

Guest:
Morvareed Salehpour
Attorney and Public Speaker
Salehpour Legal Consulting

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When Los Angeles-based attorney Morvareed Salehpour first became aware of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency way back in 2012, it was in the context of role-playing games (RPG) in which the virtual currency was used to buy virtual beers in virtual bars.

If only life were as simple today.

Over this past year, as cryptocurrency technology and markets moved at breakneck speed, as forks became more than just something you use to stab a steak with, and as so-called Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) rose then fell like a meteor, the courts in the United States and around the world began seeing all kinds of novel crypto and ICO-related lawsuits.

During the course of the year, U.S. and foreign regulators ruled repeatedly against the legality of ICOs in the face of egregious conduct including hacks, false advertising, and outright scams. This emboldened investors to initiate numerous class action lawsuits to get recourse for their investment losses. For their part, cryptocurrency operators moved aggressively to protect themselves from legal exposure and potentially massive damage, both to their reputation and bottomline. Lawyers and judges around the world grappled with the challenge of applying traditional legal principles relating to jurisdiction, liability, and enforcement of this complex technology.

All this roiling of the courts has kept lawyers such as Morvareed happily engaged.

In this, our signature episode of our new podcast and video series called Running with Unicorns, Morvareed explains the many legal challenges of blockchain and cryptocurrency technology and touches on some of the precedent setting lawsuits that will define the crypto legal landscape for decades to come. There have been some new developments regarding a few of the lawsuits. The latest is reflected in the articles in the Resources section of our podcast transcript.

Topics Covered

  • How she got started in this space
  • Biggest legal issues of blockchain technology
  • Cases now working their way through courts
  • Case law being developed
  • How various countries are handling legal challenges
  • The questions around intellectual property
  • How can businesses protect themselves
  • The rise of cryptocurrency lawsuits
  • How average investors are affected
  • Top three takeaways

Future Episodes

I hope you enjoy this and upcoming episodes of Running with Unicorns, your portal to all things crypto. We’ll be talking with cryptocurrency thought leaders, newsmakers, regulators, lawmakers, investors, and analysts who will offer their insights into the biggest events and forces shaping the industry.

Future episodes include a holiday special on how to donate your crypto to some of the amazing charitable causes that are helping those in need; a very useful tax primer from a leading crypto tax forensic accountant that will be timely for your 2018 tax filings; the most important industry trends and predictions for the New Year, and more!

About Your Host, Chitra Ragavan

A little background about me — I’m the Chief Strategy Officer at Gem, a Los Angeles-based crypto portfolio startup. Prior to Gem, I was Senior Counselor to the CEO of Palantir Technologies. Before entering the software startup world as advisor to CEOs, I was a long time journalist at WTTW/Public Television in Chicago, National Public Radio (NPR) and U.S. News & World Report Magazine (U.S. News).

In addition to software technology and journalism, my passion is photography. I’m delighted to report that at Gem, thanks to the encouragement of my CEO, Micah Winkelspecht, I have found a home where I am able to bring all my expertise to the table in television, radio, print, photography, software startup strategy and public policy to help us all explore and better understand this fascinating new world order that we’re entering, thanks to Satoshi Nakamoto!

My goal is to provide independent and thoughtful analysis of the events and news shaping the industry.

By way of full disclosure, I am a crypto investor, albeit a modest one. If we ever mention a specific cryptocurrency in the context of a discussion, I will fully disclose my investments, if any, in that currency and expect the same from my guests. I’ll avoid any and all conflicts of interest in the course of these discussions.

You can learn more about me on LinkedIn or on my website or follow me on Instagram.

Enjoy your crypto journey, unicorns!

Chitra Ragavan