Supply chain blockchains are one of the strongest use cases for blockchain technology , like the Walmart and IBM supply chain blockchain beta in which they could track a box of sliced mangos to its origination point in seconds. Its amazing what this can mean for tracking contaminated foods/products down quickly and getting out appropriately narrowed recalls to specified parties.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Morvareed Salehpour, founder of Salehpour Legal Consulting , a boutique law firm which provides big firm representation at small firm prices. She specializes in handling a diverse range of complex legal matters both in and outside the courtroom. She is experienced in negotiating a variety of contracts and legal agreements and handling cases from inception to trial and appeal. Ms. Salehpour also acts as general outside legal counsel for businesses given her breadth of experience. She previously worked in biglaw and has represented clients across the nation ranging from entrepreneurs and small businesses to Fortune 500 companies and works in a variety of industries, including blockchain, technology, entertainment, media, banking, manufacturing, real estate, fashion, retail, cannabis, food and beverage, and healthcare, among others.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I was one of the few people who knew that I wanted to be a lawyer since I was relatively young — probably around junior high. I knew that I enjoyed having to come up resolutions to difficult situations and that is what drew me to the law. I am good at finding innovative solutions for my clients in developing areas of law where there are gray areas and there may not be a clear answer and I enjoy the creativity that goes into that. That is what drew me in into working with tech and blockchain clients since early in my practice. Indeed, my involvement with the Silicon Beach community in LA led me to first learn about digital currencies around 2011 and 2012 and I have been interested into cryptocurrency and blockchain and the legal implications there ever since.
Can you tell me about the most interesting projects you are working on now?
Some of my most interesting work right now is assisting clients in handling the developing legal issues in the blockchain space so that they can minimize legal risks while maximizing their business interests.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I would have to say the support of my parents has been really helpful. They have had my back from the beginning and it was really great to have them support my decision to leave biglaw in order to take the entrepreneurial route of building my own practice.
What are the 5 things that most excite you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
I am most excited by:
(1) blockchain technology’s ability to create transparency in transactions because it will provide more information to users/consumers (i.e. individuals can know where their goods are coming from and what kind of labor has gone into creating those goods and thus, make more informed decisions about purchases);
(2) it’s ability to remove intermediaries in transactions because it will lower costs and increase efficiency;
(3) the potential use of blockchains to allow individuals to monetize their own data because it can allow individuals to decide who can access their personal data and for what value;
(4) supply chain blockchains because I think they are one of the strongest use cases for blockchain technology (i.e. the Walmart and IBM supply chain blockchain beta in which they could track a box of sliced mangos to its origination point in seconds. Amazing what this can mean for tracking contaminated foods/products down quickly and getting out appropriately narrowed recalls to specified parties.); and
(5) government adoption of blockchain technology because it will allow government agencies to function more efficiently and effectively (i.e., CDC exploring blockchain technology for influenza tracking).
What are the 5 things worry you about blockchain and crypto? Why?
I think the areas of concern are:
(1) Jurisdiction — Jurisdiction is a difficult issue in disputes that arise in such decentralized system because arguably a disputed transaction could be subject to the jurisdiction and laws of every country where a node is physically located. Logistically, this creates a mess of laws and regulations (potentially conflicting) that would apply to transactions on the blockchain.
(2) Liability — In addition to jurisdictional issues, there are issues with establishing liability in a decentralized system. Who would any parties affected by a smart contract error pursue for damages in a decentralized system? If a private blockchain, would it be the entity managing it? The developers/coders of the smart contract? What about in a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (“DAO”) in which there is no central actor? Indeed, law makers are likely to pass rules and regulations limiting use of DAOs given these questions and the logistical issues involved with liability and jurisdiction in such cases.
(3) Enforcement –For example, a plaintiff has asked for a court-ordered “rescue fork” in the Eastern District of New York, Brola v. Nano f/k/a RaiBlocks et al., to compensate victims of a $170 million in Nano token theft from an Italian digital currency exchange. Even assuming the Court grants an order for a rescue fork, how would the court effectuate a fork when it does not have jurisdiction over persons in other countries? Further, how would the Court realistically disallow proceeding forward with the unforked protocol as some users and developers may want to do?
(4) Copyright Protection — In such decentralized systems, copyrighted materials can be pirated through embedding in blockchains without permission from copyright holders and then distributed. As an initial matter, it will be difficult to identify the culpable parties to issue Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown requests to and then there is the difficulty of how to even effectuate compliance with such a request when dealing with an immutable ledger entry. Secondly, infringement actions in such cases may be difficult to pursue given the decentralized nature of blockchains. Indeed, there will be issues of determining liable parties and how far that liability goes. Potentially, every node on which the embedded infringing material/pirated data is stored could be a source of liability.
(5) Blockchain Integrity — Inclusion of embedded illegal material on a blockchain can take on various forms and span from links to child pornography to leaking of classified state secrets. As all operators of blockchain nodes are forced to keep a copy of the embedded illegal material, this creates potential liability for those blockchain users from just possession of that illegal material even if unaware. This can create an untenable situation where it is illegal to even participate in a subject blockchain once unlawful content has become embedded within it so that node operators are faced with the choice of being subject to liability or forced to delete the unlawful content from the blockchain which in turn threatens the blockchain’s reliability as it is no longer immutable.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share a story?
I devote time to working on bringing awareness to existing issues of gender and racial inequality in our society with the goal of creating more opportunities and a better world for future generations.
What 3 things would you advise to someone who wanted to emulate your career? Can you share an example for each idea?
Work hard, be willing to take risks, and try to work on something you are passionate about which for me is working in developing areas of law and blockchain in particular.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂
Larry David just because it would be so awkward and fun!
Originally published at medium.com