11 May 2020

Carlton Fields launches dedicated blockchain consultancy

Concept illustration depicting blockchain

Blockchain holds immense potential for improving efficiency, providing real-time information,' according to Huhnsik Chung

SQrBlock Solutions will be led by the firm's fintech practice co-chair Huhnsik Chung

Top 200 US firm Carlton Fields is opening a blockchain consultancy, SQrBlock Solutions, as it seeks to capitalise on growing client demand for legal and regulatory advice related to distributed-ledger technology.

Huhnsik Chung, co-chair of Carlton Fields’ fintech and P&C insurance regulatory and transactional practice, has been named chief executive and president of the new venture, with fellow co-chair Barry Weissman named executive vice president. 

Chung said: “Blockchain holds immense potential for improving efficiency, providing real-time information, and reducing costs. Business leaders around the world are recognising the compelling cases for blockchain technology. In fact, more than half of surveyed senior executives say blockchain has become a critical priority.”

One challenge, said Chung, is that the novelty of distributed-ledger technology and its technical nature means organisations can find it confusing to embed blockchain into their everyday business functions. Carlton Fields’ blockchain consultancy aims to solve that by giving clients access to the legal and technical expertise needed to build blockchain-powered apps, products and services.

The consultancy is partnering with South Korean blockchain-as-a-service provider and developer B-square Lab to help clients integrate blockchain technology with their legacy IT systems.

Weissman said: “Having the technical and consultative know-how to deliver comprehensive blockchain solutions across industry is powerful.”

Chung joined Carlton Fields’ New York office in February having previously been a partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan for just under two years. Prior to that he was chair of Baker McKenzie's North American insurance practice.

Weissman has been at Carlton Fields for the past five years of a career spanning more than four decades, which has also seen him work in partner roles at Edwards Wildman Palmer, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, and Graham & James.

Blockchain technology is being used to disrupt a range of industries, including trading platforms, supply chain monitoring and insurance. 

A number of other firms are stepping up their blockchain advisory efforts. Last year Bird & Bird published a blockchain report outlining the potential regulatory hurdles of various blockchain applications. 

Last week Facebook’s digital currency project Libra, which will run on blockchain technology, named HSBC’s chief legal officer Stuart Levey as the CEO of the Libra Association.

Further reading on cryptoassets

Around the house: Kraken appoints crypto currency pioneer as CLO — Marco Santori joins top bitcoin exchange; Eastman Chemical and Emirates Airlines also make key legal appointments

High-stakes Telegram cryptocurrency case nears final determination — Peter Stewart analyses the impact SEC vs Telegram may have on the regulation of digital currencies

Blockchain payments provider BitPay hires its first general counsel — Eden Doniger joins Atlanta-based cryptocurrency leader as it bolsters leadership team

UK gives landmark statement on cryptoassets — Lawyers welcome UK legal statement on the status of cryptoassets and smart contracts given by the chancellor of the High Court Sir Geoffrey Vos

Terminological confusion impeding crypto regulation — Lack of standard terminology for cryptoassets hampers global regulatory response says a new Cambridge University report

Email your news and story ideas to: news@globallegalpost.com