Perkins Coie Adds SEC Attorney in San Francisco with Fintech and Blockchain Experience

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Perkins Coie is pleased to announce that Michael S. Didiuk has joined the firm’s Investment Management practice group as a partner in the San Francisco office. Mike joined the firm after almost eight years at the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), where he served in a number of roles in the Washington, D.C. and the San Francisco’s offices.

“Mike’s extensive experience will be a terrific complement to Perkins Coie’s market-leading fintech practice”, said Michael Glaser, Chair of the firm’s Corporate practice. “Mike is poised to make immediate contributions in our clients’ leading-edge crypto-currency and distributed ledger projects, and we enthusiastically welcome him to the firm.”

During his tenure at the SEC, Mike headed examinations of registered investment advisers to cryptoasset funds, hedge funds, private equity funds, registered investment companies and family offices, counseled on issues under the Investment Company Act of 1940 and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, and coordinated across divisions on, among other things, digital currency and marketplace lender matters. Michael also worked extensively in providing consultative assistance to non-U.S. securities regulators and various international bodies, including the International Organization of Securities Commissions and the Financial Stability Board, on international matters relating to the asset management industry. Michael was a member of the SEC’sDistributed Ledger Technology and Structured Products Working Groups. He also served as counsel to two SEC Commissioners.

“Mike’s government and regulatory agency credentials and reputation strengthens our fintech, blockchain and investment management capabilities on the West Coast,” said Barbara Schussman, Managing Partner of Perkins Coie’s San Francisco office. “His decision to join us underscores that Perkins Coie is a destination for talent and a market leader in these complex and growing areas.”

With more than 15 years’ experience practicing in the financial services and investment management space, Mike has focused much of his recent time on issues related to distributed ledgers and fintech technology. As part of Perkins Coie’s Investment Management, Fintech and Blockchain teams, Mike will represent clients on various federal securities laws and complex regulatory issues raised by blockchain technology and in connection with the emergence of digital asset sales and digital securities.

“Mike is an exceptional addition to the firm’s fintech and blockchain practices,” said Dax Hansen, Chair of Perkins Coie’s Blockchain and Fintech industry groups. “His deep experience and understanding of the complex regulatory, enforcement and investment issues in this  fast-moving space  will allow Mike to provide insightful and strategic counseling to our wide range of clients focused on fintech and crypto.”

Prior to his time with the SEC, Mike was a senior associate at Wilkie Farr & Gallagher LLP where he worked on a team assembled by a former director of the SEC’s Division of Investment Management, in some of the most complex and revolutionary matters in the investment and asset management industry. Mike earned his J.D. from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, and received his B.S. from Fairfield University.

“I’m very excited to join a firm of Perkins Coie’s caliber and to work with the deep bench of attorneys in the Investment Management and the Blockchain and Fintech groups,” said Mike. “It’s a particularly exciting time to be joining given Perkins Coie’s leadership in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space and I look forward to helping our clients successfully navigate the complexities of the regulatory landscape.”

With lawyers located in Washington, D.C., New York, Seattle, Denver and San Francisco, Perkins Coie’s Investment Management group represents registered and unregistered funds, investment advisers, family offices, and multibillion dollar mutual fund complexes and their independent directors in all aspects of their operations.

Perkins Coie’s Blockchain Technology & Digital Currency industry group was publicly launched in May 2013 as the world’s first legal practice focused on decentralized cryptocurrencies and shared ledger technologies. The Blockchain Technology & Digital Currency industry group is an outgrowth of Perkins Coie’s long history representing fintech, internet, mobile and other technology companies. This multidisciplinary group is on the front lines of industry developments, helping clients address the complex legal issues faced by blockchain and digital currency businesses. Attorneys in this practice provide product counseling, regulatory investigations and compliance counseling, litigation support, consumer protection counseling and business transaction assistance. Clients include shared ledger consortia platforms, exchanges, wallet providers, payment processors, investors and industry associations.

Perkins Coie’s Virtual Currency Report provides news and analysis on legal developments relating to blockchains and digital currencies. Content includes insight on the complex regulatory, enforcement, investment and consumer protection issues arising in the shared ledger ecosystem. To read the Virtual Currency Report or to sign up for a customized RSS feed from the blog, please visit https://www.virtualcurrencyreport.com/.

Founded in 1912, Perkins Coie LLP has more than 1,000 lawyers in 19 offices. The firm provides a full array of corporate, commercial litigation and intellectual property legal services to a broad range of clients, from technology startups to FORTUNE 50 corporations, as well as public and not-for-profit organizations.

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About Richard Kastelein

Founder of industry publication Blockchain News, partner at ICO services collective CryptoAsset Design Group (helped raise over $200m+), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) and ICO event organiser at leading industry event  CryptoFinancing (first ICO event in Europe) – Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of half a dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1200 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat.
 
Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London, Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, San Mateo, Shanghai,Tel Aviv and Venice. His network is global and extensive.
 
He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He’s written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and Virgin.com and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French.
 
A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein’s professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he’s travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world.
 
In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Seas’ travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he’s raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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