Meet David Kemp
BlockCAT’s General Counsel
Ever since my very recent move from private practice to my current position as General Counsel for BlockCAT, I’ve been on the business end of a lot of confused questions.
“I don’t get it — you work for a tech company now, but you’re still a lawyer?”
In writing this, I aim to explain why I took the leap from running a successful practice to joining a fledgling tech company, why I believe in the team, and what I actually do on a day-to-day basis.
After finishing law school at the University of British Columbia, with a brief stint at Peking University, I started my own private practice out of a small, local business law firm in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.
It was there that I received a call from a fellow lawyer along the lines of “Hey…I have this guy who has some questions and I don’t know the first thing about what he’s got going on. You want to take it?”
Obviously, intrigued, I said yes.
Enter BlockCAT Technologies Inc.
The lawyer forwarded along a booklet from the clients, complete with a full summary of blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, Ethereum, smart contracts — and a full page of focused questions.
This had my attention — it’s any lawyer’s dream to meet a client who is this aware of the legal issues affecting them.
I spent the night cramming, trying to learn as much as I could about the blockchain industry and poring over the whitepaper to make sure I was well-prepared for the meeting the next day.
When I first met Eric, I was surprised not only by how young he looked when considering the thoroughness of the booklet and whitepaper, but also by the maturity with which he held himself, spoke about his product, and fielded the questions I asked.
Eric Huang, sat down at the boardroom table wearing a hoodie and sneakers and we started chatting about his BlockCAT project. He had a quiet, understated charm, and a confident, efficient way of speaking — he considered questions carefully before he spoke, got directly to the point, said only what he needed to, and made sure he’d been understood before continuing. He had the rare gift of being able to explain complicated programming concepts in a way that total newbies to blockchain could understand.
I knew from the start that Eric was the real deal, and his file immediately became my top priority.
Making it Official
After a few months working with BlockCAT as a client, it became clear that it was more cost-effective to simply hire me on full-time and so Eric made me an offer.
After seeing the company grow, it was an easy choice — I believed in the industry, I believed in the project, and I believed in the team.
Though it was, in retrospect, a huge risk to completely close my practice down and join BlockCAT, it felt easy, because I knew we were in it for the long run, and we were building something big.
Day to Day
First off, to clear the air — yes, it is unusual for an early-stage tech company to have a General Counsel working full-time for the company. But, as cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiasts know only too well, this industry is…unique.
From securities law, to intellectual property, to corporate structuring, to employment, to financial services regulations, there are enough areas of law involved in this industry to keep me busy for a long time.
However, as no one (except maybe Harvey Spectre) can be an expert in every specialized area of law, it also falls to me to research and hire specialist counsel when needed. Securities law and intellectual property are two examples of areas where I need to hire specialists.
Above and Beyond
On top of the strictly black letter law, my role with BlockCAT involves an aspect of public engagement. Firstly, BlockCAT intends to join blockchain advocacy organizations and to contribute to the conversation around creating a regulation regime for blockchain technology.
Secondly, we intend to educate our local community and tech scene on getting involved in the rapidly-expanding blockchain industry.
Lastly, I hope to contribute a legal perspective to the online conversation around blockchain tech by writing blog articles, answering questions in our Discord and Telegram channels, and other avenues.
In other words, feel free to give me shout if you’d like an article for your publication, or want me to join you on your podcast!
Feel free to leave comments or questions below and I’ll try to answer them either directly or in a future blog post. I’m looking forward to being a small part of building this exciting industry!