Tag archives: blockchain technology

The Smart Choice: A Predictive View in Revamping M&A Contracts

The current pandemic presents a unique opportunity to revitalize traditional M&A process and provisions. While we have previously addressed how traditional M&A provisions are impacted by the pandemic, this blog post will explore the key opportunity industries and corporations alike have in improving contractual processes. Specifically, through the use of blockchain technology and smart contracts.

Smart Contract 101

First proposed thirty years ago by computer scientist Nick Szabo who coined the term, smart contracts are drafted using programming languages and software and can be made legally enforceable and binding for all parties involved.  In recent years, smart contracts have been … Continue Reading

Uses of blockchain in the M&A process

We have previously explored some potential uses of blockchain in the M&A process. Generally, blockchain refers to a growing list of blocks linked by cryptography. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to the previous block. When a new block is added to the growing list, it is verified by independent parties on the peer-to-peer network and is by design, decentralized and resistant to modification of the data. The possibilities are immense – but ultimately, what are some of the ways that blockchain can help the M&A process?

One key area may be with the use of “smart contracts” … Continue Reading

Tokenizing securities: is it worth it?

Tokenization refers to the process of converting the right to an asset into a digital token, issued, stored, and transferred on a blockchain (the latter of which we’ve covered previously). Many real world assets can be tokenized, including fine art and real property.

Of particular interest in corporate finance is the tokenization of securities, such as bonds, stocks, and derivatives. A crucial feature of security tokens is that they would be issued in full compliance with securities laws and regulations, making them more appealing to institutional investors.

Lower costs, higher liquidity

Private securities are often significantly less … Continue Reading

Regulators comment on securities law implications for offerings of tokens

On June 11, 2018, the Canadian Securities Administrators (“CSA”) published Staff Notice 46-308 Securities Law Implications for Offerings of Tokens (“Notice”).

The Notice follows from the CSA’s previous guidance in Staff Notice 46-307 Cryptocurrency Offerings, where the CSA explained that many cryptocurrency offerings involve the distribution of securities and are therefore subject to securities laws (including prospectus, registration, and/or marketplace requirements). The Notice expands upon this guidance to focus in particular on offerings of “utility tokens,” which is an industry term often used to refer to a token that has one or more specific functions, … Continue Reading

Taxation of cryptocurrency: unchartered territory and treacherous waters

With the recent market uproar for blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, the tax question is becoming more and more pertinent. Whether one is trading in cryptocurrency, issuing it in an effort to raise capital, hanging onto it as a long term investment, mining it or using it to access software apps, numerous questions arise.

Answering these questions with any measure of certainty, however, is tough. No legislation has been introduced  and no Canadian case law has yet been decided on cryptocurrency (although one surmises that that won’t be the case for long). The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has released … Continue Reading

Smart contract applications in M&A: earn-outs

This blog has previously provided an overview of how blockchain technology and smart contracts might be adapted to the legal industry. In this post, we will explore the specific example of how these technologies may be able to simplify an earn-out agreement in an M&A transaction.

What are earn-outs?

In an earn-out, the seller of a business receives additional compensation after closing if the business meets certain financial goals. To put it simply, an earn-out is a series of “if-then” statements that determine how much the seller is paid based on different factors.

How smart contracts may help

Inherent in … Continue Reading

Regulators take aim at cryptocurrencies

The emergence of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology over the past several years has shaken up the financial services sector in unprecedented fashion, in a corner of the Canadian economy that has been notoriously slow to adopt and adapt to innovative change. This phenomenon has the potential to significantly re-shape many aspects of the modern economy. We have reported on this blog in the past (see here and here) on the evolution of blockchain and cryptocurrency and what it could mean for M&A activity in Canada. It looks like that impact could ramp up in the coming months.

At the … Continue Reading

Smart contracts: how computer programs and blockchain could affect M&A

Smart contracts, which replace traditional paper documents with a computer program that automatically verifies and executes an agreement, are poised to fundamentally alter the way M&A and contract-based legal work is performed. Think of a smart contract as a small army of robot lawyers and accountants: once the parties agree to terms, these robots automatically implement the agreement’s terms (e.g., payment, termination, etc.) as each party performs, or does not perform, their end of the bargain.

What is blockchain?

Blockchain, the technology underlying smart contracts, is a nearly unalterable, decentralized system that implements, verifies and records transactionsContinue Reading

Blockchain technology: an imminent driver of investment and M&A

Blockchain technology has been making headlines since it emerged in 2009 in connection with the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. We’ve covered the potential use of Bitcoin in M&A transactions in previous articles in 2016 and 2014. As discussed in these articles, the volatility and lack of central authority has so far meant that the cryptocurrency plays a niche role in the capital markets.

However, blockchains – the technology behind Bitcoin – has been gaining ground for its exciting enterprise potential. We are already beginning to see companies racing to adopt this emerging technology, as more and more companies acquire the technology … Continue Reading

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