Former NYDFS Counsel Joins Perkins Coie Blockchain Practice

A former attorney for the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) involved with the development of the state’s BitLicense regulatory regime has been hired by international law firm Perkins Coie.

Dana Syracuse, who joined the firm last week, is now senior counsel for Perkins Coie’s Technology Transactions and Privacy practice, based in New York. There, according to the firm, he will help spearhead its work in the blockchain and digital currency space.

Syracuse will be working on both legal issues related to blockchain as well broader fintech, describing it to CoinDesk as an even split in the near-term. However, he indicated that as blockchain applications gain traction in the finance space, this balance could shift – particularly as both Wall Street incumbents and regulators begin to grapple more directly with questions related to the technology.

He said in an email:

“This will require wrestling with some very tough questions about the applicability of old laws to the movement of value and data in new ways, and whether new laws are needed – particularly in the areas of identity and anti-money laundering. Answering these questions will require a deep understanding of the technology and the law.”

Syracuse played a role in the creation of the BitLicense, a framework that New York financial regulators began crafting more than two years ago. He departed the agency last year.

The NYDFS released its final version in June 2015, and to date has only granted a few BitLicenses to startups like Circle and Ripple. When released, the BitLicense drew criticism from some quarters of the digital currency and blockchain space, prompting several companies to cease operating in the state.

Before joining Perkins Coie, Syracuse had joined law firm BuckleySandler LLP as a counsel for its New York offices. There, according to press materials published at the time, he worked on cybersecurity and digital currency issues. Prior to his work at the NYDFS, Syracuse served as assistant attorney general for New York, working for its Taxpayer Protection Bureau.

Image via Shutterstock

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