Blockchain Law Group, founded by Katrina Arden was Crypterium´s alleged escrow company.
Escrow is a legal company that acts as an intermediary between the members of the ICO and its organizer. It is the escrow that holds money from the participants. This money can not be used without the permission of an escrow — therefore scammers will never work with such a company. The escrow will not also cooperate with the scammers, as this can seriously damage the reputation.
In our ICO, the escrow role is played by Blockchain Law Group and personally the founder of its company.
Let´s have a deeper look at this company, its representatives and especially its founder.
Web page: http://blockchainlawgroup.com
Company presents itself as "a leading group of legal practices with presence in multiple countries". Sounds great.
Company webpage looks very simple, you can see few lines of "About" and "Services", then there is a section "News" in which you can find some outdated news (first one dated 2017/07/25, last one dated 2018/07/02 and that´s it). On the webpage you can also "calculate a possible number of years in jail you may face if you sell your tokens to the U.S. residents without appropriate registration". There is no company address, no registration number nor contact person. When you click on "Contact us" a pop-up contact form is displayed.
On the top of the webpage there is a tab "Attorneys", when you click on it, it takes you to the end of page, where no attorenys are shown. Interesting. Let´s have a look what happens when you try to view page source:
In a page source you can see a now hidden section with four attorneys: Irina Heaver, Aleksey Miller, Frank Grant and finally Katrina Arden who is a company founder.
1. Frank Grant
Attorney Frank Grant has been practicing law for over 20 years and was most recently a Partner with Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, a leading law firm, which has more than 130 attorneys in 10 offices across California, Colorado, Nevada, and Washington. Prior to that, Frank was Senior Counsel with Perkins Coie LLP, which has more than 1,000 lawyers in 19 offices across the U. S. and Asia and provides a full array of securities and tax law, corporate law, commercial litigation and intellectual property legal services to a broad range of clients. From 2011 to 2015, Frank led the Blockchain Technology and Digital Currency Practice for Perkins Coie LLC in Los Angeles. Since 2015, Frank has been consulting tech start-ups on matters involving raising capital and attracting financing.
His LinkedIn and AngelList profiles say he worked for both Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth and Perkins Coie LLP and now he is a Managing Director at Interstate Venture Capital (https://www.interstatevc.com/about-us). There is not a single mention about Blockchain Law Group or blockchain related fields.
2. Irina Heaver
With over 15 years of experience, attorney Irina Heaver specializes in the broad spectrum of commercial and corporate work including the emerging technology. She advises on regulatory framework, intellectual property rights, funding matters as well as general matters relating to contractual arrangements. Irina regularly represents Blockchain and AI enterprises, RegTech and FinTech startups, IT infrastructure and cloud services, software and tech development companies, e-commerce and online marketplaces of various sizes starting from the concept stage and those that are already established market leaders across Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region. Irina currently advises multiple blockchain and crypto enterprises located or operating in the MENA Region.
Irina´s LinkedIn profile and personal webpage say she is very active in blockchain space but there is not a single mention about Blockchain Law Group.
3. Alexey Miller
Aleksey Miller is an attorney in the Russian Federation focusing on tax and securities law. His expertise is in structuring investment deals (investment and project loans, direct investments, mixed financing deals). He has successful experience in negotiating investment agreements with consideration of the banking, trade and corporate regulations. Aleksey worked on development of legal structuring of the deals involving capital and provided detailed analysis of transactions from the legal risks prospective. His extensive experience in working with attorneys from various jurisdictions allowed him to learn intricacies of the foreign laws and regulations. He has been advising and working with the technology companies, including Blockchain-based startups, since 2013.
Aleksey´s LinkedIn profile is the only one mentioning Blockchain Law Group however there is no other (past or present) experiences listed.
4. Katrina Arden
A founder of Blockchain Law Group, Katrina Arden is a licensed attorney in the United States and in the Russian Federation. She has been practicing law successfully for over 10 years. She has extensive experience handling various domestic and international issues, including tax compliance and securities regulations, structuring international transactions and working on the multimillion-dollar lawsuits involving securities fraud. Katrina is an author of a number of professional publications. In addition to her legal education, she has an MBA with an emphasis in Financial Management, which allows her to provide complex advice to the clients. Since 2016, Katrina has been involved in the Blockchain community and consulted multiple companies on token sale projects.
Katrina´s LinkedIn profile shows no experiences (past or present) and there is not a single mention about Blockchain Law Group. Hidden section of Blockchain Law Group webpage says that"Katrina is an author of a number of professional publications" however it is impossible to find any of these publications on internet.
What we can find is that Katrina now works as an attorney at Aliantlaw company with practising areas in blockchain law and business law:
There is another webpage saying Katrina works for Valant company with specialization for blockchain law and immigration:
Katrina participated in few ICO´s as an legal advisor and escrow:
- Crypterium (raised $51M) - escrow
- Coinlancer (raised $11.86M) - legal advisor
- KYC.Legal (raised $22.5M) - advisor
- Genexi (raised $20k) - escrow
- Connectius (raised $5.1M) - legal advisor, escrow
- INS Ecosystem (raised $45.95M) - legal advisor, escrow
We will have a look at these projects in another article later.
Now let's get back to the point.
Crypterium says that Blockchain Law Group was their escrow:
This is a Crypterium´s statement from 7/4/2018:
Note that Crypterium stated, that the founders made sure that they had enough money to get a final app and WILL NOT RELEASE ICO FUNDS FROM ESCROW until we are able to provide our service. The ICO money WAS NEVER FOR THE DEVELOPMENT of the app but rather money that is needed for fiat transactions within full app"
This one is from 7/25/2018:
This one is from 7/16/2018:
Now some later statement that "funds have been withdrawn and are in use for development":
Now let´s Google do some work and find this:
What we can see is that Blockchain Law Group address was just a virtual office and the company was dissolved on 05/07/2018,exactly one year after setting up (05/08/2017)
Two months after Blockchain Law Group dissolution Crypterium claimed ICO funds were still locked in escrow...
More than one year after ICO there is still no working product and working app even though Crypterium claims funds from ICO ($52M) are now being used for development (contrary to their previous statements that ICO funds would never be used for development).
The escrow will not also cooperate with the scammers, as this can seriously damage the reputation. Until the escrow itself is part of the scam...