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Michelle Ann Gitlitz

Partner

mgitlitz@crowell.com
Phone: +1 212.895.4334
590 Madison Avenue, 20th Floor
New York, NY 10022-2544

Michelle Gitlitz is the Global Head of Crowell & Moring’s Blockchain and Digital Assets practice, and a partner in the White Collar and Regulatory Enforcement and Corporate groups. She is located in the firm’s New York office. 

An experienced regulatory lawyer and litigator, Michelle’s practice focuses on the legal and regulatory issues facing both emerging and established companies that invest in and incorporate blockchain technology and digital assets into their businesses. Her experience includes advising clients on the legal, regulatory, and risk management issues surrounding coin/token offerings (including launching new offerings and remediating prior offerings); working with clients in connection with digital currency exchanges and platforms; establishing new blockchains and nodes; and advising clients on navigating federal and state money transmission laws.

Michelle also has experience in handling federal and state government regulatory inquiries and enforcement actions relating to financial services, securities, and disclosure issues.

Michelle is a sought-after leader, speaker, and writer who frequently collaborates with federal legislators on blockchain and digital asset issues. She has experience in virtual currency money transmission and authored “An Introduction to Virtual Currency Money Transmission Regulation in the Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Regulation, a treatise published annually by Global Legal Insights. She is a board member of the MIT Computation Law Report and a member of and contributor to the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance and the Digital Chamber of Commerce. She also founded and serves as president and director of Diversity in Blockchain, Inc., a nonprofit organization committed to creating equal, open, and inclusive opportunities in the blockchain industry. In recognition of her leadership, the National Law Journal and New York Law Journal named Michelle a Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, and Fintech Trailblazer in 2018. She has also been named a “Rising Star” in Business Litigation by Super Lawyers (2012–2016).

Representative Matters

  • Counsel both emerging companies and established businesses on the legal and regulatory issues that arise when companies invest in and incorporate blockchain technology into their businesses.
  • Advise clients on legal, regulatory, and risk management issues surrounding coin/token offerings, including launching new security token offerings and remediating prior offerings.
  • Advise clients on coding issues associated with using Ethereum tokens in capital raising ventures, including providing guidance on related restrictions required under the federal securities laws.
  • Advise clients in connection with digital currency apps, including assistance with regulatory compliance, user agreements, and privacy policies.
  • Advise clients on the formation and regulation of platforms and exchanges to trade digital/cryptocurrencies.
  • Advise clients on federal (FinCen) and state (including New York State BitLicense) money transmission licensing issues.
  • Counsel clients on money transmission issues relating to digital wallets for both person-to-person (P2P) and person-to-business (P2B) payments.
  • Advise clients in connection with the formation of new blockchains, including representing node participants.
  • Advise charitable organizations on the receipt of cryptocurrency donations.
  • Advise hedge funds that invest in emerging technologies including, distributive ledger technologies, blockchain, artificial intelligence, as well as digital currencies.
  • Represent companies, officers, and directors in connection with investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission (OCIE and Enforcement divisions), Department of Justice, FINRA, National Futures Association, and other state and federal regulatory agencies arising out of possible violations of law.
  • Represent founder and former CEO of an electronic communication network (ECN) in connection with an employment dispute.
  • Represent one of the country’s premier banking and financial services institutions to recover damages for repudiation of customer obligations under interest rate swap agreements.
  • Represent an energy company in connection with the repudiation of an asset purchase agreement.
  • Represent former partner in an investment banking and consulting firm in connection with failure to pay him money owed under a separation agreement.
  • Represent a manufacturer of nutritional supplements in connection with a formal order of investigation issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • Represent a Special Committee of a mining company in connection with a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of possible violations of the securities laws by the company and its officers, directors, and affiliates.
  • Represent independent trustees of mutual fund trusts in connection with allegations relating to violations of Section 15(c) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 for alleged failure to evaluate factors to be considered when approving or renewing investment advisory contracts on behalf of shareholders.
  • Represent the board of trustees and the investment adviser to a family of mutual funds in connection with the policies and practices with respect to investments by certain funds in IPOs of equity securities.

Education

  • Cornell University, B.S. (1998)
  • Brooklyn Law School, J.D. (2004)

Affiliations

Admitted to practice: New York, U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York

Professional Activities and Memberships

  • Co-Founder, Diversity in Blockchain, Inc.
  • Member, MIT Computational Law Report Advisory Board Member
  • Member, Chamber of Digital Commerce
  • Member, Wall Street Blockchain Alliance

View More

"FinCEN Issues Final Rule Establishing Anti-Money Laundering Requirements for State-Regulated Banks," International Trade Bulletin (September 28, 2020). Contacts: Carlton Greene, Caroline E. Brown, Michelle Ann Gitlitz, Nicole Sayegh Succar, Erik Woodhouse
Client Alert / Newsletter
New York Law Journal Names Michelle Gitlitz a “New York Trailblazer” (Sep.23.2020)
Firm News / Announcement
"SEC Continues Enforcement Push against ICO Issuers by Imposing Penalty Against Unikrn of Substantially All its Assets," White Collar Alert (September 21, 2020). Contacts: Michelle Ann Gitlitz, Richard B. Holbrook Jr., Jorge Pesok
Client Alert / Newsletter
The National Law Journal Presents 2020 New York Trailblazers (Page 9) New York Law Journal (September 21, 2020)
Media Mentions
Federal Payments Licensing Push Could Boost Crypto Adoption Cointelegraph (September 11, 2020)
Media Mentions
How A Federal Payments License Could Encourage Cryptocurrency Adoption CryptoDaily (September 11, 2020)
Media Mentions
OCC's Potential Boon For Payment Industry Faces Headwinds Law360 (September 10, 2020)
Media Mentions
"INSIGHT: Blockchain Can Be Ally In Race For Covid-19 Vaccine, Safety," Bloomberg Law (August 31, 2020). Authors: Cheryl A. Falvey, Michelle Ann Gitlitz, and John Fuson.
Publication
"Supply Chain Considerations for Retail’s New Normal," Crowell & Moring Webinar (August 5, 2020). Presenters: Michelle Ann Gitlitz, Holly A. Melton, David R. Stepp, and Helen Osun.
Speech/Presentation
"Blockchain & the Retail Industry: Product Safety and Counterfeiting Use Cases," Crowell & Moring’s Retail & Consumer Products Law Observer (July 24, 2020). Authors: Michelle Ann Gitlitz, Cheryl A. Falvey and Justin Porter.
Publication

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Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with more than 500 lawyers representing clients in litigation and arbitration, regulatory, and transactional matters. The firm is internationally recognized for its representation of Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation, as well as its ongoing commitment to pro bono service and diversity. The firm has offices in Washington, DC, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, London, Brussels, and Shanghai.

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