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Justin S. Wales

Blockchain and Virtual Currency Experience

Successfully defended first-of-its-kind litigation against the creators of a Decentralized Finance platform by a protocol’s user on claims that a court should enjoin planned development of the platform because of an alleged dispute by a user of the platform.
Represents centralized and decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges in connection with corporate formation and a global regulatory strategy, including issues relating to SEC and CFTC licensure.
Advises DeFi protocols and platforms on regulatory issues regarding yield farming, liquidity pools, and the deployment of governance tokens.
Represented digital currency exchanges, lightning network facilitators, and numerous money transmitters in 50-state analysis of application of state money transmitter rules to cryptocurrency focused-business models.
Represented cryptocurrency companies before various state regulators, including the New York Department of Financial Services, in order to obtain or receive clarity on application of state money transmission licenses.
Represented multi-million dollar brands in connection with the development and sale of non-fungible tokens including analysis of relevant IP issue, contract negotiation with artists and NFT platforms, and technical and marketing strategy.
Advised numerous digital currency payment processor on issues pertaining to capital formation and early-stage financing, as well as corporate formation issues such as registration in foreign jurisdictions including Gibraltar, Malta, Taiwan, Singapore, Mexico, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and Cayman Islands.
Advised high-frequency/algorithmic trading funds dealing in various digital currencies on issues related to fund formation and regulatory compliance.
Counseled several digital currency payment processors on anti-money laundering and "know your customer" compliance including assisting in the development of a global AML/KYC policy.
Counseled numerous companies in conducting technical analysis, building “minimum viable ecosystems” and token design.
Represented contingent of “Small Blockers” with regard to liability associated with attempts to hard fork the Bitcoin blockchain.
Analysis of securities and other regulatory issues related to token sales, including analysis of regulatory implications of governance tokens, security token offerings, initial coin offerings, token curated registries, airdrops, forks, and applications using the Lightning Network.
Provided numerous instances of litigation and regulatory mitigation strategies for completed token sales including counseling individual defendants against charges from the SEC and DOJ.
Provided analysis and privacy counseling regarding application of the GDPR and other privacy regulations to data stored on decentralized networks.

First Amendment and Constitutional Litigation Experience

Zoological Wildlife Found., Inc. v. Humane Society of the United States, Inc., No. 1:15-cv-23529 (S.D. Fla. 2017). Successful defense of Humane Society in libel suit brought by founder of zoo who was also convicted of multiple felony crimes.
Wollschlaeger. v. Governor, Fla., No. 12–14009 (11th Cir. 2016) (reh'g en banc pending). Counsel for American Bar Association seeking rehearing of panel opinions and seeking en banc affirmance of district court injunction precluding enforcement of Florida Firearm Owners’ Privacy Act.
Hoefling v. City of Miami, 811 F.3d 1271 (11th Cir. 2016). Reversed district court order dismissing Section 1983 suit of mariner against city that alleged it violated mariner’s Fourth and Fifth Amendment Rights after it seized and destroyed his vessel without notice.
Obergefell v. Hodges, Nos. 14-556, 14-562, 14-571 and 14-574 (U.S. 2015). Represented the Campaign for Southern Equality and Equality Federation in support of marriage equality before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Pareto v. Ruvin, No. 2014-1661-CA-01 (Fla. Cir. Ct. 2015). Represented plaintiffs in constitutional challenge to Florida’s same-sex marriage ban.
Int'l Players Championship v. Matheson, 190 So. 3d 643 (Fla. 3d DCA 2015). Moved for summary judgment on professional tennis center developer’s challenge to decades-old development restrictions on Crandon Park. Decision affirmed by Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal.
Club Madonna, Inc. v. City of Miami Beach, No. 1:13-cv-23762, 2015 WL 5559894 (S.D. Fla. Sept. 22, 2015), awarding attorneys’ fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988 in the amount of $102,460.660; No. 13-23762, DE 45 slip op. (S.D. Fla. 2014), granting dismissal with prejudice in frivolous civil rights action.
Eisenberg Dev. Corp. v. City of Miami Beach, 95 F. Supp. 3d 1376 (S.D. Fla. 2015), finding entitlement to attorneys' fees and costs pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988, 28 U.S.C. § 1927, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11, and the court’s inherent authority; No. 13-23620, DE 172 slip op. (S.D. Fla. 2014), granting final summary judgment in favor of defendant; 54 F. Supp. 3d 1312 (S.D. Fla. 2014), granting in part motion for judgment on the pleadings; 1 F. Supp. 3d 1327 (S.D. Fla. 2014), granting in part motion to dismiss.
Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper v. United States Army Corps of Engineers (2014). Represented various environmental organizations in suit against Army Corps of Engineers challenging their failure to comply with specific Endangered Species Act requirements.
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