HLSBFI is excited to host the Third Annual Blockchain, FinTech & Law Conference. In 2019, our first conference brought over a hundred participants from across the country. This year, our public conference will host leading academics, industry professionals, regulators, and lawyers from around the world. Our conference is one of a few  uniquely suited to discuss blockchain and FinTech legal and regulatory issues.

View our panelists’ bios here.

Blockchain, FinTech & the Law 2021 Agenda

Please use the Zoom links below to join the panels. If you have issues joining or the webinar reaches maximum capacity, you may still view the session live on our YouTube channel.

We welcome attendees to ask questions using the Q&A feature on Zoom. Each of the panels will have an opportunity to answer some of these questions at the end of the session. We ask that you please keep your questions relevant and respectful. We will only be viewing questions asked on Zoom and will not be able to answer questions submitted on the YouTube livestream.

12:00 pm EST: KEYNOTE: The Pioneers of Crypto Bank Charters

1:00 pm EST: Promising Blockchain Ventures and Institutional Investment

2:00 pm EST: Censorship Resistant Bitcoin as a Sponsor of Social Change

3:00 pm EST: Taking Down Terrorists in Cyberspace – A Case Study of the Largest Action Against Cyber-Enabled Terrorist Financing

4:00 pm EST: KEYNOTE: The Rise of Decentralized Finance

March 4, 2021

12:00pm EST

KEYNOTE: The Pioneers of Crypto Bank Charters

In September of 2020, the first ever crypto bank charter was approved in the state of Wyoming, and awarded to cryptocurrency exchange Kraken. As a bank, Kraken can now offer digital assets services to retail and institutional customers. This monumental step towards a more seamless integration of fiat and cryptocurrencies presents opportunities for wider acceptance and use of cryptocurrencies in daily life. Even more recently, in January of 2021, the OCC approved the first ever federal bank charter, and awarded it to Anchorage.

Discussion topics include: what are the differences between these two charters? What are the benefits to each, and how do they change the landscape for emerging crypto-based projects? How big of a step forward is this in legitimating cryptocurrency in the current regulatory framework?


Moderator: Mandy Mengyu Li, HLS ’22

1:00pm EST

Promising Blockchain Ventures and Institutional Investment

Since its inception in 2009, an immense amount of blockchain applications have emerged for a variety of different use cases. Some of them have been successful, others are still working out the bugs. This panel features blockchain venture capital experts who can discuss which areas of blockchain development seem promising at the moment, and which areas seem to be dead ends.

Discussion topics include: which new blockchain developments look to be the most interesting and why? Which blockchain ventures haven’t gone as expected, and what obstacles are keeping them from success? Opinions on DeFi, Voting, NFTs, and basically anything else.


Moderator: Reshma Lutfeali, HLS & HBS ’21

2:00pm EST

Censorship Resistant Bitcoin as a Sponsor of Social Change

In this past year, there has been an unprecedented amount of political fervor. Social movements and protests erupted across the world for a variety of reasons. In many circumstances, it is difficult for these “rebellious” groups to gain access to funding, because more often than not monetary institutions to not like to be involved. Bitcoin is censorship resistant, and, for better or worse, has played a huge role in financing movements such as #EndSARS in Nigeria, political opposition in Russia (Navalny), the Hong Kong Free Press and protests there, and even the insurrection at the United States capital earlier this year. More than ever, individuals are realizing they don’t have as much control over their money as they thought they did.

Discussion topics include: what are the dangers of allowing individuals absolute autonomy over their own finances? What are the dangers of restricting what they can spend money to support? Are there any meaningful lines that can be drawn here, or is it a zero-sum game? How would we enforce that line, even if we could draw it? Are there any Freedom of Expression, First Amendment constitutional issues presented here?


Moderator: Thomas Hopkins, HLS ’21

3:00pm EST

Taking Down Terrorists in Cyberspace – A Case Study of the Largest Action Against Cyber-Enabled Terrorist Financing

U.S. law enforcement agencies announced a sweeping takedown of cyber-enabled financing campaigns tied to multiple terrorist organizations. U.S. agencies targeted and dismantled efforts by Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Al Qassam Brigades who were fundraising via cryptocurrencies and social media, seizing millions of dollars and over 300 crypto wallets in the process.

In this case study session, hear from the IRS-CI, HSI, and FBI Special Agents and former federal prosecutor who helped lead the investigation and prosecution of the landmark case. You’ll get an inside look at how law enforcement followed digital trails back to terrorist financiers, conducted undercover operations to take over the terrorists’ infrastructure, leveraged the blockchain, and utilized public-private sector collaboration to counter threat actors utilizing new technologies.


Moderator: Maude Wilson, HLS ‘22

4:00pm EST

KEYNOTE: The rise of Decentralized Finance

Decentralized finance has promising applications and use cases as financial institutions and blockchain applications continue to develop. This panel will focus on the rise of these decentralized finance applications, and discuss how important they are, and what we can expect from them in the near future.


Moderator: Kayla Blaker, HLS ’21