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What structure to “blockchain” your activity(ies)?

Integrating blockchain in companies’ business models can be carried out in many ways. Companies should anticipate these practical modalities taking into account specific  operational and legal issues each of them might be facing.

Integrating blockchain in a company’s business model is a strategic move as regards its development. How such integration is carried out, however, is of vital importance to optimise organisation and ensure correct operation.

The very nature of the chosen blockchain is essential. Depending on the underlying objective for integrating blockchain, companies can choose between private (or “owner”) blockchains, public blockchains (e.g. Bitcoin or Ethereum) or hybrid blockchains. The characteristics of each type can be more or less appropriate depending on the project’s end purpose.

Similarly, if blockchain is chosen to finance the development of an activity via a coin offering, it is necessary to define the nature of such tokens, their characteristics and degree of liquidity that will be necessary on the secondary market where these tokens could be exchanged once they have been issued, to further support the proper development of the project.

More broadly, using blockchain and tokens can be ensured either directly or by intermediaries whose status and assignments can vary depending on the situation. Given market practices, it appears that certain assignments, such as implementing a mechanism on client knowledge, combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism, or ensuring liquidity on the secondary token market, can be handed over to outside service providers. Nevertheless, structuring these links with the blockchain and potential intermediaries via, for instance, delegation or externalisation of these assignments, determines the liability regime and the obligations resting with the company.

Additionally, a number of questions pertaining to territoriality are raised, considering the creation, in many cases, of new chains of intermediaries operating around these new protocols.

An in-depth analysis of the project on both technological and economic aspects, is therefore essential to determine the entire ecosystem and related legal structuring that will be necessary to the proper functioning of the project.