Gabriel J. Shapiro, a US attorney focused on mergers and acquisitions (M&A), venture, governance, Infosec, and digital assets, is arguing that it’s pretty much “pointless” to be a lawyer in the crypto and blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) space.
He points out that professionals with computer programming or trading skills are able to make a lot of money or get a chance to explore their creative side. However, he claims that law is “irrelevant” to these people and argues that it’s also not relevant to crypto-related tech.
He acknowledges or understands how most lawyers “either go native or become no-coiners,” meaning they do not hold or invest in speculative cryptocurrencies but are actively involved in the DLT sector in other ways.
Shapiro notes that many young people ask him about a potential career in “crypto law.” He admits that it may be more appealing or interesting than other law, however, he questions whether people want to “feel close to completely pointless in everything you’re doing and make chump change while working for newly minted millionaires?”
He notes that these developers or coders and investors are going to ask you (the lawyer) “if x,y, z is illegal and yes it’s illegal and then they’re going to ask you if being outside the U.S. would help…like, it’s really just pointless.” He suggests that teams should just operate anonymously, avoid fraudulent activities, keep away from VCs, and just “do what they want.”
“It’s a lot worse for me because my ability to delude myself into thinking that I’ve discovered some weird loophole in the law that miraculously makes exactly what my client wants to do perfectly okay….I don’t have that ability, which is either a + or – depending on your point of view.”
“I’ve been very consistent since pretty much my first article in crypto–this tech is really an anti-law tech. If you don’t get that your money probably depends on it–e.g. you probably work in enterprise blockchain or you’re Vlad Zamfir.”
(Note: Vlad Zamfir is a highly-skilled Ethereum developer, mathematician, and has been interested in legal issues related to the crypto and blockchain space for a long time, based on his social media activity.)
“In all seriousness, to my fellow members of the cryptobar, on some level this is really just a weird protection racket, isn’t it? Most of the advice for like a DeFi project would just be ‘put a band-aid on your gunshot wound’ it might help…can’t hurt.”
Decentralized finance (DeFi) has emerged as an extremely fast-growing area of finance. The entire ecosystem was valued at only $1 billion earlier this year. However, it has now grown to nearly $9 billion at the time of writing, and includes various so-called decentralized protocols for lending, asset management, and operating non-custodial crypto trading platforms (among other use cases).
“The regulators failed on every possible level. They could’ve created a compliant path for Reg A+s and Reg CFs on Ethereum and they just sat around and went after Kik and Telegram. They’ll be totally lost on DeFi, I don’t think they’ll know where to start, it’s way beyond them.”
Regulation A+ facilitates investment crowdfunding for up to $50 million. Both accredited and non-accredited investors may participate in securities offers.
Meanwhile, Reg CF (or Regulation Crowdfunding) is a securities exemption that allows small companies to raise up to $1.07 million in capital online. It recently had the best month ever regarding investor commitments at $23.2 million (as reported in July 2020).
Shapiro further claims that lawyers might just be content with getting paid to deal with these so-called DeFi projects and their never-ending issues (both hacks and scams and other technical problems).
He claims that lawyers may “create some nonsense analysis, but if there’s no law on the subject you’re really just speculating, and there’s really no law on the subject–someone will make it up later, probably 2 years from now.”