Blockchain Solicitor Declan Goodwin on his experience working on The Royal Mint's blockchain project the RMG - Royal Mint Gold

How did you get into crypto and blockchain?
My focus used to be on supporting clients in the Transport and Energy & Utilities sectors with Tech based projects. I started writing blogs in 2016 on how blockchain could impact these sectors. I learnt the ropes by reading anything and everything I could about blockchain technology and the use cases for these sectors. I switched firms and soon landed myself with a full time six month secondment to work on a major blockchain project for The Royal Mint. A fantastic experience, but unfortunately the project was cut short prior to its launch. Of the back of that I have worked on ICO’s and several enterprise blockchain projects.

How long have you been working in the legal sector?
I started out as a paralegal in 2007 and qualified as a solicitor in 2010.

What made you or your firm decide to focus on for blockchain?
I lead the Tech sector practice for Vistra Corporate Law. I work with Tech companies or their customers on a range of projects. I like working in the Tech sector as it’s so fast paced. Blockchain is the fasted moving sector I’ve ever worked in, there’s a great buzz, the people I meet are energetic and enthusiastic. The legal issues are challenging too! Unfortunately, being a lawyer is nothing like what you see on Suits! The subject matter and people you deal with that make things interesting and the blockchain world certainly makes things interesting.

What type of people and companies are you working with?
I’ve worked on a few Initial Coin Offerings/Token Issue Events as well as private pre-sales, but it’s the enterprise type projects that I enjoy the most. The experience withThe Royal Mint was invaluable, partnering with a number of global player – CMEBitGoLedgerAlphaPoint etc. My current blockchain client base operate in a number of sectors including financial service, communications and pure tech. There’s a mix of owner managed start-ups and heavily funded start-ups.

What advice would you give regarding legal for blockchain startups and companies?
Take advice on the regulatory status of what you’re doing as early as possible. There’s no point going down a path for a number of months only to find a regulatory roadblock. At the same time, be prepared to form your own view about regulatory status – there’s a lot of bad lawyers out there that will point out all the issues without having the confidence to advise on what you should do. People who sit on the fence and charge for it are one of my pet hates! If you’re looking to appoint a lawyer, ask for references or speak to some of their clients that operate in the blockchain sector before making your mind up.

What advice would you give regarding getting a lawyer for blockchain startups and companies?
If you’re looking to appoint a lawyer, ask for references or speak to some of their clients that operate in the blockchain sector before making your mind up. Make sure they have the right experience – you wouldn’t hire a Dev to write PHP when they only have experience with Java. Don’t be afraid to cherry pick the best lawyers from different firms for different things – one firm might have particular expertise for one piece of work, where another might excel in a different area – you’re not wedded to anyone. Ask them to quote for a piece of work, rather than comparing law firms by their hourly rates.

What are you most excited by in the space?
Enterprise blockchain projects. I like seeing great use cases put into action and working through the issues you need to overcome to do that. I’m also interested in seeing whether there will be wide spread uptake in the ability to use cryptocurrency in everyday life rather than just trade it. 

How do you think Crypto Curry Club is pivotal to the community and growing crypto and blockchain adoption?

It brings people together in a relaxed, friendly and engaging environment. Nobody succeeds on their own these days, making connections with people at Crypto Curry Club helps to share ideas

Declan Goodwin

Jordans Corporate Law | Associate Director, Solicitor 

Erica Stanford