FacultyFaculty/Author Profile

Marco A. Santori

Cooley LLP

New York, NY, USA

Marco Santori leads Cooley’s fintech practice, and is an authority in the law of blockchain technology. He is an author of the SAFT Project whitepaper, the Legal Ambassador for the Delaware Blockchain Initiative, and an advisor to the International Monetary Fund. Called “The Dean of Digital Currency Lawyers” by an American Banker journalist, Marco focuses his practice on structuring innovative products into existing regulations, as well as crafting new regulations where required. He counsels on compliance with and disputes over money services, securities and derivatives laws, with both high-growth fintech companies and international financial institutions.

Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation Regulatory Affairs Committee since 2013 and Global Policy Counsel for Blockchain, Marco is a highly sought after advisor to the fintech and blockchain industries. He is a frequent speaker on the topic, including recent engagements at the ABA’s 2016 Digital Currency and Blockchain Technology National Institute, the Cato Institute’s Cryptocurrency: The Policy Challenges of a Decentralized Revolution Conference, the North American Bitcoin Conference and the Consensus Conference.

He is also a frequent contributor at CoinDesk, and has appeared on CNBC, Al Jazeera America’s Real Money with Ali Velshi and Bloomberg TV. He has also been profiled by the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Bloomberg, Reuters, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Wired, Entrepreneur.com and Crain's New York Business.

Before beginning his legal career, Marco founded and operated a successful home-decor distribution company, which imported textiles from India, China and Canada and sold to institutional customers in the Americas and across Europe.

Money Transmission, Payment Processing, Prepaid Access, and Loyalty: Marco advises his clients on compliance with money transmission, payment processing and prepaid programs. Marco has assisted clients with structuring these products as well as obtaining licenses and registrations for their continued operation. Marco has advised on and structured customer affinity programs in a variety of industries and contexts. These programs can touch on – and unintentionally trigger – money services laws that expose the offeror to liability as a financial institution.

AML, KYC, OFAC: Marco is well versed in the Bank Secrecy Act and Patriot Act’s application to a variety of fintech business models, including Know Your Customer and Anti Money Laundering regulation. Marco has drafted anti-money laundering policies and anti-crime policies and provided independent risk assessments that satisfy both federal and state requirements. He also advises financial institutions and fintech companies on compliance with the Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") regulations that prohibit doing business with certain targets of economic sanctions.

Regulatory Defense and No-action Letters: Marco has successfully defended enforcement actions from state and federal regulators including FinCEN, the Department of the Treasury, IRS and state banking commissions. He has also successfully obtained licensing and registration determinations, known as “no-action letters” for his clients.

Securities and Derivatives Product Structuring, Crowdfunding: Marco has advised startups on the use of decentralized ledgers, including blockchains, to raise funds and clear and settle transactions in securities and derivatives. He has counseled clients on how to comply with the securities and derivatives laws and also how to avoid them altogether.


University of California, Berkeley
BA, 2004, Philosophy, California Leadership Award

University of Notre Dame Law School
JD, 2008

Bar Admissions

New York
U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York


Bitcoin Foundation – Chairman, Regulatory Affairs Committee, 2013 – Present

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