Fintech & Blockchain


As a thought leader and a trailblazer in the industry since 2014, Sullivan & Worcester represents more than 100 blockchain clients whose size varies from top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap and large enterprises to smaller startups. We help our clients pursue business ideas never done before. These new ideas involve unseen regulatory uncertainty and have forced us to think beyond traditional ways of practicing law.

We help clients navigate emerging legal issues and regulatory uncertainties, manage risk, identify opportunities and proactively plan for the future. With deep financial, regulatory and technological expertise, we ascertain the implications blockchain will have on our clients’ operations and prepare them to offer new services and products. Working with entrepreneurs, investors and established companies in a range of industries, we provide strategic guidance to help clients finance, develop and capitalize on the promises of blockchain technology while gaining a competitive edge in the marketplace.


Watch video of "The Future of Blockchain and Trust" on April 19, 2018
The Future of Blockchain and Trust
April 19, 2018
Watch video of "Blockchain to the Bahamas" on March 1, 2018
Blockchain to the Bahamas
March 1, 2018
Watch video of "Developments Involving FinTech and BlockChain Initiatives" on May 18, 2017
Developments Involving FinTech and BlockChain Initiatives
May 18, 2017

Specifically, our practice group is best known for:

Pioneering legal advice

  • Joel Telpner structured some of the first ICOs and blockchain-based applications. He is famous for structuring the first issuance of digital securities utilizing blockchain technology for and helping in launching Overstock’s distributed ledger platform, tZero.
  • Our practice is highly adaptable, working on unique, often first-impression issues: a novel two‑token ICO structure that incorporates utility and security tokens; a net-positive environmental and social-impact offset token; asset-backed token offerings; a retail crypto exchange; and others.

Rapid growth of the practice group

  • As a result of the practice group’s success in the last 12 months, our client roster has expanded to more than 100 blockchain and cryptocurrency clients.

Regulatory policy initiatives

  • We are at the forefront of regulatory development in the blockchain space. Joel Telpner works on global policy initiatives with the Blockchain Research Institute, the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance, the Blockchain Global Business Council and Wharton Reg@Tech, among others to develop guidance on best practices for ICOs and manage the legal issues surrounding digital currency and distributed ledger technology.

Governmental advice

  • In one of the more unanticipated developments this year, we have begun advising various governments interested in blockchain and digital currency applications in regard to monetary policy, legislation, citizens’ identity creation and management, property record keeping, and additional state-related issues.

Wide client base

  • We advise clients on nearly all aspects of fintech and blockchain transactions, including some of the largest cryptocurrencies, enterprises, startups, funds, central banks, and digital asset exchanges.
  • We also advise regulatory bodies worldwide on emerging fintech and blockchain issues.

Representative Client Work

  • Representing and negotiating on behalf of one of the world’s largest banks in connection with its global derivatives exposure to the Lehman estate
  • Representing a global bank in the disposition of its asset management business
  • Structuring and negotiating the program documentation for an $8 billion origination and $6.5 billion commercial mortgage securitization business
  • Representing a consortium of some of the world’s largest asset managers in negotiations with the CFTC and SEC in connection with various Dodd-Frank regulatory issues
  • Representing bank creditor committees in connection with the restructuring of the public sector debt of Mexico, Argentina and Brazil
  • Representing a public company in a $1.5 billion convertible note issuance with a call-spread overlay
  • Structuring a $1.2 billion Peruvian toll road structured note financing
  • Structuring the first issuance of digital securities utilizing blockchain technology
  • Representing the City of Detroit in the unwinding of various swap transactions as part of Detroit’s bankruptcy filing 
  • Starting the U.S. legal department for one of France’s largest financial institutions and overseeing the launch of its structured finance, commercial paper, securitization, derivatives, municipal finance and hedge funds U.S. lines of business
  • Structuring one of the first LBOs in France
  • Successfully negotiating for a global bank the return of $5 billion of collateral from AIG immediately prior to its U.S. government bailout
  • Structuring a $175 million senior convertible note private placement
  • Structuring a $500 million synthetic loan-linked total return swap facility
  • Structuring a $150 million equity-linked note issuance
  • Structuring a CDO-linked credit opportunity fund
  • Structuring a $250 million credit default swap facility acting as back-stop to a structured investment vehicle
  • Negotiating accelerated share repurchase transactions on behalf of multiple public companies
  • Structuring a $50 million total return swap facility backstopping a commercial paper conduit
  • Structuring a multi-asset revolving repurchase facility for mortgage whole loans, GNMA securities, participation certificates and other assets
  • Structuring a $90 million leveraged hedge fund of funds linked total return swap with embedded liquidity facility used to make monthly purchases of reference assets and notional adjustments to offset total return shortfalls
  • Structuring a repo facility secured financing intended to take out SPV-issued B notes issued to finance a pool of cross-collateralized hotel loans
  • Advising a global investment bank in structuring its real estate financing activities to satisfy Volcker Rule and risk retention requirements
  • Representing a CDO/CLO asset manager with respect to negotiating engagement letters, asset management agreements, warehouse lending agreements and other related documents
  • Structuring and documenting a $6 billion benefit-responsive investment contract program and $3 billion municipal guaranteed investment contract program
  • Structuring and documenting a $1 billion floater/inverse floater tender option bond program
  • Advising a non-U.S. bank’s asset manager arm on unwinding its hedge fund business and closing down a number of hedge funds
  • Advising a Singapore-based bank on its U.S. asset management activities and U.S. investment adviser requirements
  • Advising a non-U.S. bank on its U.S. commodity pool and commodity trading advisor activities
  • Advising a large U.S. bank on CFTC regulatory issues with respect to its registered swap dealer entity
  • Advising a large mutual fund group on restructuring its non-U.S. fund operations to conform to Dodd-Frank
  • Advising large foreign public sector pension plans on conforming their U.S. activities to comply with Dodd-Frank, investment adviser and commodity pool law requirements