The blockchain industry has been beset regulations and increased friction from financial institutions since it began a few years back. Marco Santori, a prominent lawyer working on financial tech and blockchain cases, now joins one of the industry’s largest startups. Blockchain.info has announced that Santori will join their ranks as chief legal officer and president.
As a legal consultant, Santori’s first forays into the crypto world began in 2013 when he sat as chairman of a regulatory affairs committee at the Bitcoin Foundation.Santori’s engagement with Blockchain.info started when the company approached him to work as their global policy consultant back in 2014. During this time, the crypto market was experiencing a bearish down turn fueled by the collapse of Mt. Gox. Aside from cryptocurrencies, research and development efforts at the time shifted focus, turning their attention to opening blockchain infrastructures for corporations and governments, leveraging the technology for both public and private purposes. Because the waters still had to be tested, legislation and regulation during this phase in the blockchain industry’s evolution was slow and crude.
Santori played a strategic position in helping ease acceptance of blockchain technology in the mainstream. He was key to crafting the legislation necessary for the state of Delaware to deploy its blockchain strategy. This set a precedent, allowing firms registered and incorporated in the state to log and register their assets and shares using a publicly viewable blockchain.
Santori is also recognized as one of the principal authors of SAFT (Simple Agreement for Future Tokens), a controversial protocol for investments in the venture capital space. SAFT deals allow venture capital groups to invest in a blockchain-based startup with a set amount of tokens allotted for them once it opens with an initial coin offering (ICO).
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissions and other financial regulators began a worldwide crackdown on ICOs last year, with SEC chairman Jay Clayton expressing doubt over its legal status, citing its risk due to the overall volatility of the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. Santori responded to these remarks by saying, “The SEC and the bar are in a learning process about how these things ought to be treated, about where the value is, where the risk is,” observing that, “Regulators all around the world are responding primarily to headlines. There’s been a failure on the part of the industry and the bar to explain the value to regulators. We all have a lot of work to do together.”
Having earned the moniker ‘Dean of Blockchain Lawyers’ for his pioneering work in the crypto and blockchain space’s legal side, Santori is now leaving Cooley LLP, where he has been a partner since November 2016. Santori described his work with blockchain technology as a socially-driven passion: “I’m not trying to rebuild Wall Street on top of a blockchain. I’m trying to give ordinary people a better option for finance, a better option for storing their funds and using their funds.”
Santori will now work exclusively with Blockchain, headquartered in London. The company hosts a web-based platform as well as a mobile app which gives users the ability to store and send cryptocurrencies. It is one of the first major cryptocurrency companies to adopt Bitcoin Cash and recognize it as a leading cryptocurrency, describing it as a technology which “empower(s) our users to interact with the digital economy in new, meaningful ways.”
Santori’s commitment to work towards financially empowering ordinary people through technology is consistent with the Bitcoin Cash community’s goal of providing unrestricted growth, global adoption, permissionless innovation, and decentralized development, bringing access to sound money to the whole world.