ATLANTA—A decade after the publication of the Bitcoin whitepaper, blockchain and cryptocurrencies remain wildly misunderstood. In an era when conventional trust is collapsing, the blockchain offers powerful new opportunities — but also creates serious new risks.

Womble Bond Dickinson’s Atlanta office hosted a discussion on “Can We Trust Blockchain?” featuring Wharton Professor Kevin Werbach, author of the new book “The Blockchain and the New Architecture of Trust”. The event was presented by the Wharton Club of Atlanta and organized by Womble Bond Dickinson attorney Nikul (“Nik”) Patel.

In addition, Womble Bond Dickinson attorney Steve Middlebrook also spoke and introduced the firm’s new Blockchain and Virtual Currency Map.

Werbach is a Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. A world-renowned expert on emerging technology, he examines business and policy implications of developments such as broadband, big data, gamification, and blockchain. Werbach served on the Obama Administration’s Presidential Transition Team, founded the Supernova Group (a technology conference and consulting firm), helped develop the US approach to internet policy during the Clinton Administration, and created one of the most successful massive open online courses, with over 450,000 enrollments.

Nikul (“Nik”) Patel guides domestic and international public and private companies in mergers, acquisitions, financings and other corporate transactions. His M&A experience includes deals of up to $1 billion. In addition, Patel represents companies in corporate governance and general business matters.

Steve T. Middlebrook has an extensive background in emerging payment technologies, prepaid and stored value products, mobile payments, web-based financial services, virtual currency and distributed ledger technology. His prior experience includes being General Counsel at two FinTech companies, and a decade’s service at the US Department of the Treasury. He also served as an advisor to the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) committee which drafted the Uniform Regulation of Virtual-Currency Businesses Act. The Uniform Act was recently approved by the ULC and is now being considered for adoption by a number of states.

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