Perkins Coie Selected as a Founding Steward in Self-Sovereign Identity Network

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Perkins Coie is pleased to announce that it has been named a Founding Steward by the Sovrin Foundation, the first law firm to be selected.

The Sovrin Foundation is a private sector, international nonprofit organization established to govern the world’s first self-sovereign identity (SSI) network. Using the network, people and organizations can create and control portable, self-sovereign digital identities that cannot be taken away by any government or organization

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“We’re honored to have been selected as a Sovrin Founding Steward,” said Dax Hansen, Chair of the firm’s Electronic Financial Services and Blockchain Technology & Digital Currency industry groups. “Our involvement in this initiative and others, including the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, shows our continued position at the forefront of new, emerging technologies, and we look forward to supporting Sovrin as the SSI network grows and matures.”

The Sovrin Foundation uses open-source distributed ledger technology, a type of cryptographic database provided cooperatively by a global pool of participants, rather than a single database with a central administrator. The records are protected by strong, industry-standard cryptography and best practices in key management and cybersecurity.

“This is the future of identity,” said Joe Cutler, Partner in the Privacy & Security Group and co-founder of the firm’s Blockchain Technology & Digital Currency industry group. “SSI aims to shift control over your most personal information back into your own hands, and to end this notion that you must sacrifice privacy and security in order to participate in today’s digital economy.”

As a Founding Steward, Perkins Coie will run one of the global network’s interconnected nodes. When mature, the network will be run by public and private sector organizations using a redundant byzantine fault tolerant consensus protocol to ensure that the ledger that keeps records of all identity transactions is reliable, complete and immutable.

The firm’s relationship with the Sovrin Foundation began in early 2017 and was further established while working closely with it on the development of the firm’s white paper, “Self-Sovereign Identity and Distributed Ledger Technology: Framing the Legal Issues.” The white paper was published ahead of Coin Desk’s Consensus 2017, where Perkins Coie hosted an interactive roundtable titled, “How to Solve the Digital Identity Problem”; SSI was featured as one of the key topics.

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.

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

About Richard Kastelein

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015), a partner at ICO services collective Token.Agency ($750m+ and 90+ ICOs and STOs), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of some two dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat. Irish Tech News put him in the top 10 Token Architects in Europe.

Kastelein has an Ad Honorem - Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first Blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute of Software and Technology. In 2018 he was invited to and attended University of Oxford's Saïd Business School for Business Automation 4.0 programme.  Over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the European Commission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division.

Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London (5x), Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, Prague, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara (2x), Shanghai, Singapore (3x), Tel Aviv, Utrecht, Venice, Visakhapatnam, Zwolle and Zurich.

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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