James Wigginton

Senior Associate


Read full biography at www.orrick.com

Blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies have caused business leaders to rethink the way we own, govern and share the benefits of enterprise. James advises entrepreneurs and investors as they pioneer new, more inclusive operating models in professional sports, finance, social media, gaming, agriculture and other industries.

To do this, James draws from two complementary sources of experience. The first is his practice assisting public companies, private equity funds and venture capitalists with registered and unregistered securities offerings; high-stakes M&A; corporate governance; and Exchange Act reporting. The second is his experience advising clients outside the Wall Street and Silicon Valley mainstream, including cooperatives, limited cooperative associations and nonprofit corporations. By combining these two worlds, James is able to offer unexpected legal solutions to blockchain-based companies as they seek venture financing, design and issue tokens, and select business entities for DAOs.

James also appreciates the inherently global reach of blockchain and cryptocurrency. After law school, he spent two years clerking for the US Court of International Trade in New York City. Before that, James lived for two years in the eastern Ukrainian cities of Dnipro, Donetsk, Kharkiv and Mariupol. James is fluent in Russian and maintains ties with his friends in the war zone.

Posts by: James Wigginton

Cooperatives: An Ownership Model for Digital Networks

Turbulence in crypto and blockchain has shed light on a question that has received increasing attention: how web3 companies share ownership in digital networks, including through tokens.

As the industry wrestles with this question, builders and investors should consider adding cooperatives to their ownership structures. A handful of web3 projects have done so, but the model is not widely understood in the web3 context.

Credit unions, rural utilities, insurance companies, and agriculture producers often organize as cooperatives. In web3, projects that add cooperatives to their ownership structures could boost participation and reduce regulatory risk while giving users more control of the digital networks they use and a share of the value they create.

The SEC has consistently declined to classify cooperative memberships as securities, enabling cooperatives to distribute ownership to users quickly and easily, while also offering important protections to their members.

A new white paper from Orrick, KPMG and Upside Cooperative explores whether a legal structure common to credit unions and rural utilities could help revitalize blockchain and realize the web3 vision of a new digital world.