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Crypto assets, blockchain, AI & machine learning

Financial services (FS) sector clients at Shoosmiths include crypto asset market participants, crypto asset businesses and relevant service providers.

What differentiates Shoosmiths from other legal providers is a recognition that each element, asset class and technological application in the sector is unique and demands input from various and different specialists: it is a multifaceted area which permits Shoosmiths to deploy its specialist teams in providing clients with the most effective advice in the most efficient way.

UK regulators are in the process of attempting to clarify and develop the current regulation of digital currencies within the UK, and its potential impact on firms and consumers. As more mainstream financial services firms enter the market, innovation in this area continues to accelerate and those in the FS sector who have exposure are becoming more concerned about scope and application from a regulatory perspective.

Our team will assist on whether activities in the crypto and broader fintech sectors are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Financial Services and Markets Act or other legislation and any applicable guidance. We are also able to help you with any applications for regulatory permissions under the UK regime, and provide ad-hoc advice on marketing crypto assets.

There has been an increased trend in artificial intelligence (AI) and its subset, machine learning, due to its ability to improve operational practices for financial services firms. This is on the UK regulator’s radar as issues such as governance, data privacy and anti-money laundering (AML) need to be considered by firms before deploying AI within their businesses. Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLT) are also growing in popularity, resulting in this also being on the FCA’s list of priorities.

Our team works closely with colleagues in tax, corporate, banking and finance, investment funds, employment, data privacy, technology/IP and regulatory investigations and enforcement, providing areas of linked expertise.

Specific areas of expertise

  • Advice on the regulation of emerging or disruptive products/technologies such as crypto assets, blockchain and DLT including good practice measures
  • Assistance with Part 4a regulatory permissions under FSMA with regards to crypto assets
  • Guidance on regulated activities under FSMA, specifically the general prohibition and whether any exemptions apply to crypto asset-related activity
  • Promotion of crypto assets

Insights

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