Expert Legal Panel: Hot Topics in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency



Albany Law School Online Graduate Programs presents:

Expert Legal Panel: Hot Topics in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

Wednesday, October 27
1 - 2 p.m.
Zoom - (Link to be sent in confirmation email)


Deborah Hoffman ’96
Managing Associate General Counsel of the TIPPRE Team at Western Union; Adjunct Professor at Albany Law School  

Expert Panel

Robert Musiala
Blockchain Counsel, BakerHostetler

Pratin Vallabhaneni
Partner, White & Case Global Financial Services Regulatory and Fintech Practice

Yev Muchnik
Of Counsel, Jason Wiener P.C.

Kayvan B. Sadeghi
Partner, Schiff Hardin LLP

Blockchain, the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies, is evolving rapidly due to its efficiencies in data storage, transfer and financial liquidity. Companies and industries are leveraging blockchain technology to revolutionize core businesses. With this, cryptocurrencies have exploded and there is still more to come.

Lawyers and policy professionals are buzzing to understand – and sometimes to determine – the legal implications around this revolution within the financial industry and elsewhere. This expert legal panel will discuss current events and look into the future of blockchain and associated regulations.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understand the difference between underlying blockchain technology and products it has led to.
  • Learn about the movements currently underway that will continue to shape this space beyond what we know.
  • Survey the regulatory landscape including, but not limited to, current activities in banking and securities regulation.

About the Expert Moderator and Panelists

Deborah Hoffman ’96 - Managing Associate General Counsel of the TIPPRE Team at Western Union; Adjunct Professor at Albany Law School

Debbie Hoffman

Debbie Hoffman ’96 is an Adjunct Professor at Albany Law School where she taught an inaugural course on blockchain, cryptocurrency and the law. She is the Managing Associate General Counsel of the TIPPRE Team at Western Union and is on the advisory boards of tech companies Elphi, DomiDocs, BlockDrop and FinLedger, an affiliate of HousingWIre publications. Hoffman is an experienced executive leader who has built and led teams in financial services, legal/compliance and technology innovation, including blockchain and cryptocurrency. 

In 2017, Hoffman founded and operated Symmetry Blockchain Advisors, Inc., where she worked with clients in cryptocurrency and blockchain endeavors. She was a Visiting Professor at Barry University School of Law from 2019-2021. Before founding Symmetry, Hoffman was the Head of Legal, North America, for Mphasis and the Chief Legal Officer of Mphasis' wholly owned subsidiary, Digital Risk, LLC.

Hoffman founded Orlando’s Blockchain Technology and Business Meetup in 2018. 
In 2019-2020, Hoffman served as the Education Chair for the Mortgage Banker Association MISMO's Blockchain Community of Practice. From 2017-2018 Hoffman was the Chair of the Association of Corporate Counsel Financial Services Committee and was involved in the ACC's initial blockchain initiative. She served as Associate Editor of Blockchain Media Magazine was a cabinet member of The Masters Conference™.

Robert Musiala - Blockchain Counsel, BakerHostetler

Robert Musiala

Robert Musiala is the co-leader of the Blockchain Practice at BakerHostetler.  Musiala has worked with blockchain and cryptocurrency markets since 2012. 

He has extensive experience in cryptocurrency investigations and regulatory compliance, as he worked with a U.S. national security community client, advising blockchain clients on compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act, GDPR, SEC and CFTC regulations, alternative trading system applications, and as the court appointed receiver to investigate and secure assets related to a cryptocurrency fraud scheme.  

Musiala was granted a blockchain patent with another pending.  

In his practice he works directly with technical teams to design solutions that meet legal and regulatory requirements. 

Pratin Vallabhaneni - Partner, White & Case Global Financial Services Regulatory and Fintech Practice

Pratin Vallabhaneni

Pratin Vallabhaneni is a partner in White & Case's global Financial Services Regulatory and Fintech practices. He represents both US and foreign fintech, banking, broker-dealer, exchange, insurance, asset management and specialty finance companies, directors, senior officers and investors, on transactional, enforcement, and regulatory matters. Vallabhaneni strategically navigates cutting-edge fintech issues that are complex, rapidly evolving, and multijurisdictional.

Vallabhaneni’s transactional practice focuses on public and private M&A, capital raising, debt finance, commercial agreements, and activism matters. Prior to joining the firm, Vallabhaneni was an investment banker at Morgan Stanley, where he advised clients on valuation and execution of M&A, capital markets, debt finance, securitization, activism defense, and restructuring mandates.

Vallabhaneni’s financial regulatory and enforcement practice focuses on advising financial services clients on matters before the Federal Reserve, OCC, FDIC, SEC, CFTC, CFPB, FTC, Treasury Department, FinCEN, OFAC, and state banking and securities agencies. Earlier in his career, Vallabhaneni served as an attorney at the FDIC during the global financial crisis where he worked on numerous crisis-related, private equity-backed bank M&A transactions, bank receiverships and enforcement actions against banks, consumer finance firms, and directors and officers. He was also actively involved in the interagency implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Yev Muchnik - Of Counsel, Jason Wiener P.C.

Yev Muchnik

Yev Muchnik is an experienced transactional and securities attorney with a focus on early and growth stage for mission-forward technology companies innovating across different sectors. Muchnik is motivated by unconventional companies led by entrepreneurs that challenge the status quo and considers herself to be somewhat of a legal practitioner mongrel, in that she is an entrepreneur at heart and has recently tested the waters with early state investing.

Muchnik is driven by innovation across all sectors and is an early adopter, particularly drawn to new shiny tech gadgets (VR currently).

Kayvan B. Sadeghi - Partner, Schiff Hardin LLP

Kayvan Sadeghi

Kayvan Sadeghi is an accomplished trial and appellate lawyer with more than 15 years of experience in complex commercial and securities litigation, investigations, and enforcement proceedings. He has served as lead counsel in proceedings nationwide, and regularly defends clients before the U.S. Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), state attorneys general, and other government agencies. He also advises corporate boards and special committees in connection with internal investigations and corporate governance matters.

His clients have included leading global companies, directors, and officers, across a range of industries including financial services, media, technology, energy, and consumer products. He has successfully defended clients against billions of dollars in claims and has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars as plaintiffs’ counsel. He is often called upon to address novel applications of federal securities laws and to address emerging technologies.

Sadeghi is also an active member of the blockchain community, advising clients on securities litigation, enforcement, and other legal issues. He is a member of the Legal Working Group of the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance, and has enjoyed teaching cryptocurrency litigation, enforcement, and regulation as part of a graduate-level Fintech course.

Primary Contact

Office of Graduate Programs