The National Law Journal has named Paul Architzel—co-chair of WilmerHale’s Futures and Derivatives Group—and Franca Harris Gutierrez—vice chair of the firm’s Financial Institutions Practice Group—to its inaugural list of 2018 Cryptocurrency, Blockchain and Fintech Trailblazers. The list recognizes only a handful of individuals “who have truly ‘moved the needle’ in facilitating these new technologies and digital currencies,” the NLJ said.
Architzel’s Trailblazer profile noted some of his recent successes, including advising the first exchange to be granted Commodity Futures Trading Commission approval to list a bitcoin-based derivative swap. “Architzel sees great potential in the emerging space not just in cryptocurrency as a new asset class but also in the potential of blockchain technology in a variety of industries,” the NLJ profile added.
The NLJ highlighted Gutierrez’s remarkable foresight, including her role in the late 1990s to launch the first solely online US bank, “taking it from concept to going live in just six weeks.” She continues to advise clients developing new products and help federal agencies address novel legal issues “to set precedents for future fintech activities,” the NLJ profile said. “Although there were previous initiatives for banks to work together, Gutierrez sees a rise in consortia as financial services companies increasingly pool resources to take advantage of big data for fraud prevention,” it said.