Financial Services Spotlight

Joel S. Telpner

Joel is a highly sought-after legal advisor in the blockchain space, actively working with a large number of clients in structuring token distributions and enterprise blockchain applications. Joel brings more than 30 years of legal experience in a career that includes time as an AmLaw 100 partner, the former U.S. general counsel of a global financial institution and a venture capitalist. Joel is leading policy initiatives on global regulatory issues for blockchain on behalf of the Global Blockchain Business Council and the Blockchain Research Institute. He is also a member of the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance’s Legal Working Group, which is developing guidance on best practices for ICOs. He is recognized for his ability to deftly manage complex financial transactions, especially those involving sophisticated structured finance and derivatives matters, and has an extensive and unique combination of transactional and regulatory experience. Joel gave the key note speech "ICOs – Best Practices" at the World Economic Forum’s Blockchain Central in Davos, Switzerland in January 2018. He represents a diverse client base, including financial institutions, top 10 cryptocurrencies, governments, dealers, corporations, investment managers, mutual funds, hedge funds and pension plans. His practice focuses on the following: Complex, structured finance and derivatives transactions Private mergers and acquisitions transactions Capital raising transactions in public and private U.S. and foreign markets Risk management and assessment Advising early-stage companies on business and strategic plans, budgets, capital structures and raising capital Advising senior management on corporate governance, regulatory and compliance matters Developing compliance and regulatory policies and procedures Providing road maps for managing complex and conflicting financial global regulatory requirements
Find me on:

Recent Posts

"Low Risk, High Potential Rates of Return are Achievable"

Posted by Joel S. Telpner on Aug 16, 2018 12:23:04 PM

Really? According to the website created by Tomahawk Exploration LLC (Tomahawk), in connection with its Initial Coin Offering (ICO) for its Tomahawk tokens (TOM), the ICO represented “a substantial investment opportunity . . . capable of producing significant risk-adjusted rates of return.”

Once again, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had no choice but to remind the world that ICO issuers cannot act with impunity and that fraud is, well, fraud. On August 14, 2018, the SEC issued a Cease and Desist Order to Tomahawk (Order) in connection with its ICO that initially took place between July and September of 2017. Tomahawk sought to raise $5 million through the sale of TOM tokens to fund the cost of drilling oil wells. According to Tomahawk’s whitepaper, TOM tokens were “directly backed by oil production” and gave their holders an option to convert into Tomahawk equity at a later date. The SEC had no trouble concluding the tokens constituted “investment contracts” and were thus securities, but the Order gives us more than that.

Read More

Topics: finance, Securities and Exchange Commission, ICO

How Many Times Does the SEC Have to Repeat Itself Before the World Listens?

Posted by Joel S. Telpner on Dec 19, 2017 3:51:22 PM

Remember in July of this year when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said in its Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) Report that "U.S. federal securities laws may apply to various activities, including distributed ledger technology, depending on the particular facts and circumstances, without regard to the form of the organization or technology used to effectuate a particular offer or sale"?[1] No? Well, apparently no one else did either.

Read More

Topics: Munchee, blockchain, crypto currency, bitcoin

A Shot Across the Bow—and a Welcome One

Posted by Joel S. Telpner on Jul 27, 2017 11:09:07 AM

In the wild west of token sales, that some refer to as "initial token offerings," on July 25, the SEC finally jumped into the fray and said . . . well, actually, not that much. The SEC investigated Slock.it, a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) organized under German law, and issued a Report of Investigation in which the SEC concluded that Slock.it violated U.S. federal securities laws in issuing its tokens because, in the view of the SEC, the Slock.it tokens are securities under U.S. securities laws and were sold without being registered with the SEC or pursuant to an effective exemption from registration. 

Read More

Topics: SEC, U.S. Securities Laws

Sullivan 4c

About the Spotlight


The Financial Services Spotlight examines the regulatory and technology developments impacting banks, asset managers and other financial services providers—where challenges meet opportunities.

The material on this site is for general information only and is not legal advice. No liability is accepted for any loss or damage which may result from reliance on it. Always consult a qualified lawyer about a specific legal problem.

Subscribe to Blog

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all