The 1inch decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) voted to hire permanent legal counsel from a Geneva-based Web3 solutions provider, Storm Partners. The legal team should help 1inch to “face the many challenges its decentralized nature poses.”
The single-choice voting on obtaining the “comprehensive legal support” from Storm ended on Jan. 9, with an overwhelming majority of 96.45% in approval. The legal services provided by the Swiss firm will include regulatory compliance checks, entity structuring, governance policy development, contractual support, intellectual property protection and legal defense against external claims.
Among the principal motives for getting permanent legal counsel, the 1inch statement cites the court’s tendency to apply traditional legal principles regarding corporate liability and regulatory obligations to decentralized entities, as evidenced by recent cases in Europe and the United States.
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The DAO notes that there are regulatory risks, liability concerns, contractual ambiguities and enforcement of rights matters that would probably demand legal counsel in the future:
“An organisation with ambitions to shape the future of finance and empower individuals to take control of their wealth must confront and address its legal challenges.”
However, Storm Partners will also participate in the internal regulation of 1inch, drafting governance rules and policies “in accordance with the decisions of the community.” The DAO will immediately pay a law firm 50,000 USD Coin (USDC) in a retainer fee.
Speaking to Cointelegraph, Nicola Massella, director of the Legal and Compliance department at Storm Partners, said the engagement of Storm is thought to complement, rather than replace, the community’s self-regulatory abilities:
“The community retains full control over the governance of 1inch DAO, making key decisions about its operation and future. Our task is to convert these decisions into a structured set of rules and legal frameworks.”
That claim is hard to check, although DAOs have hired legal teams for specific court cases in the past, and there is no lack of commercial advertisements for representing DAOs among law firms. The decision to engage a legal team is primarily proactive, Massella explained to Cointelegraph:
“By proactively managing these legal challenges, we aim to safeguard 1inch DAO and its members against unforeseen legal issues […] Most notably, we must address the potential personal liability risks for DAO members.”
According to the 1inch statement, its partnership with Storm sets a “historic precedent” for DAOs, as it is the first time a DAO has hired a legal team directly.
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