March 28, 2017

ABA to host seminar on blockchain technology and digital currency, April 10, in New York

WASHINGTON, March 28, 2017 —  Michael Lempres, general counsel for Coinbase, and Valerie Szczepanik, head of the SEC’s distributed ledger technology working group and an assistant regional director of enforcement, will be among government, industry and company experts speaking at the American Bar Association’s 2017 Blockchain Technology and Digital Currency National Institute on April 10 at New York University School of Law.

2017 Blockchain Technology and Digital Currency National Institute
Presented by the ABA Criminal Justice Section

Monday, April 10, 9 a.m.-4:15 p.m.

New York University School of Law
108 W 3rd Street
New York, N.Y.  10012


This one-day program is dedicated to in-depth analysis of the emerging legal issues and the latest legal events concerning digital currencies, like bitcoin, and blockchain technology. Topics covered will include:

  • Blockchain innovations and opportunities
  • Emerging intellectual property Issues
  • Global regulatory efforts
  • Recent law enforcement actions

Program highlights include:

“Technology Primer Fireside Chat” — Representatives from the MIT Media Lab and Cornell Tech, key technology resources for the industry, will explain how digital currency and blockchain technology function and will discuss the most recent technological developments. Speakers are Neha Narula, director of digital currency research at MIT, and Ari Juels, professor at Cornell Tech. Moderating the panel is Patrick Murck, fellow at the Berkman Center at Harvard University and special counsel at Cooley.
9:15-10 a.m.

“Regulatory Developments” — This panel will discuss the current state of the law and emerging trends in the rapidly evolving blockchain technology and digital currency landscape. Speakers include Mary Beth Buchanan, partner, Bryan Cave LLP, New York; Reuben Grinberg, associate, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, New York; Michael Lempres, chief legal and risk officer. Coinbase, San Francisco; and Yvette Valdez, counsel, Latham & Watkins LLP, New York.
10-11 a.m.

“Blockchain Innovation and Opportunity” — Blockchain technology is expected to fundamentally transform finance, including global payments, as well as other industries like insurance and real estate. Panelists will discuss how that will happen and what types of innovations and opportunities may be on the horizon. Speakers are David Fragale, director, Forensic Services, PwC LLP, Boston; Varun Gupta, chief legal officer of Bitfury, San Francisco; Bryan Reyhani, chief commercial officer and founder, SolidX, New York; and Dana Syracuse, senior counsel, Perkins Coie LLP, New York..
11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

“Intellectual Property Issues” — There are numerous intellectual property issues, including patentability, that are coming into play with blockchain technology and digital currencies. This panel will look at what the hot button issues are now and what the future may portend. Speakers include Grant Fondo, partner, Goodwin Procter LLP, Menlo Park, Calif.; Alexander Greenberg, IP & Technology counsel, Americas Barclays, New York; Theodore Mylnar, partner, Hogan Lovells US LLP, New York; and Kate Walters, counsel, R3 CEV, New York.
2-3 p.m.

“Enforcement Actions” — This panel of government and defense experts will discuss recent law enforcement and regulatory actions, provide insight into how those are being applied and offer thoughts and predictions on the future direction of enforcement actions. Speakers are Brian Klein, partner, Baker Marquart LLP, Los Angeles; Kathryn Haun, assistant U.S. attorney, U.S. Attorney’s Office, San Francisco; Bryan Skarlatos, partner, Kostelanetz & Fink, LLP, New York; and Valerie Szczepanik, assistant regional director, Division of Enforcement, SEC, New York.
3:15-4:15 p.m.

The complete agenda can be found online.

This event is open to members of the press. For media credentialing, please contact Robert Robinson at

With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.