Andrew W. Balthazor is an attorney in Holland & Knight's Miami office practicing in the firm's Litigation and Dispute Resolution Section. Mr. Balthazor's practice focuses on solving problems born of digital-era innovations such as distributed ledger technologies and cryptocurrencies and other high-stakes complex commercial litigation.
Digital Assets and Blockchain: Mr. Balthazor uses his background in computer science and as a military intelligence officer to provide creative solutions to the novel problems arising from the technologies underpinning digital assets and distributed ledgers. In June 2022, Mr. Balthazor proposed and secured the world's first court approval for serving legal papers on an anonymous blockchain defendant via non-fungible token (NFT).
Mr. Balthazor's representations address the rippling consequences of the crypto winter initiated by the collapse of blockchain projects and institutions in early 2022, including representing foreign liquidators in the two most significant liquidation proceedings of the crypto industry. Mr. Balthazor has both plaintiff and defense side experience with crypto scams, Ponzi schemes and pump-and-dump frauds. His work encompasses individual and class actions.
Mr. Balthazor's earliest blockchain-related work involved tracing stolen or misappropriated digital assets and cryptocurrencies. He works with third parties around the world – including law enforcement and cryptocurrency exchanges – to investigate, freeze and recover assets. He has also developed first-of-their-kind cryptocurrency claim and distribution systems for victims of virtual Ponzi schemes and initial coin offering (ICO) securities frauds. In 2018, Mr. Balthazor worked on a case using blockchain and financial records to locate and freeze $1 million in stolen cryptocurrency held in Hong Kong.
Complex Commercial Litigation: Mr. Balthazor has a particular focus in disputes involving multiple jurisdictions, inscrutable business entities and obscure financial transactions or evidentiary trails. His experience includes claims for fraud, breach of contract, promissory estoppel, statutory violations, commercial torts, product liability, breach of fiduciary duty and tortious interference, as well as mergers and acquisitions (M&A) disputes.
Mr. Balthazor served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Cecilia Altonaga of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. During law school, Mr. Balthazor worked as a judicial intern for the Honorable Adalberto Jordan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, as well as the Honorable Jose Martinez of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Prior to law school, Mr. Balthazor served as a military intelligence officer with the U.S. Army from 1999 to 2004 and was deployed to Baghdad during the initial year of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is an active participant in the firm's Veterans Group.
Mr. Balthazor also contributes his time to pro bono efforts, including veterans and community service projects. Additionally, he volunteers as a mentor to pre-law and law students and works with high school students as part of the Federal Bar Association’s (FBA) Civil Discourse and Difficult Decisions program.
- Represent the foreign liquidators of an offshore digital asset hedge fund in a Chapter 15 proceeding, including asset investigations and recovery, and advise the liquidators on blockchain technical and U.S. legal issues relating to claims in the foreign liquidation proceeding
- Represented the foreign liquidators of an offshore digital asset exchange in filing for Chapter 15 recognition of the foreign proceeding
- Represented the receiver of companies in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement action involving $21 million raised via a fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO), resulting in the return of 91 percent of investors' contributions
- Represented the distribution agent of an SEC Fair Fund resulting from the disgorgement of nearly $10 million in assets from an ICO securities fraud, resulting in the return of more than 100 percent of investors' contributions
- Advise individuals and entities in active SEC, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and other governmental investigations and enforcement actions, including responding to voluntary requests and subpoenas for documents, and providing interviews and sworn testimony
- Represented a European digital asset exchange in a post-theft asset recovery action
- Represented a national brand in defending claims that they were liable for damages caused by a meme coin issued by a third party
- Advised a blockchain mining company regarding digital assets-collateralized loans and perfection of security interests
- Represented a major cruise line and crafted legal theories and initial complaint that ultimately led to Florida's largest jury verdict of 2022
- Represented a foreign company defending against claims of security law violations and other claims, and successfully argued that the foreign company was not subject to the personal jurisdiction of U.S. courts
- Florida International University College of Law, J.D., magna cum laude
- United States Military Academy, West Point, B.S., Computer Science
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
- U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
- West Point Society of Miami, Vice President, 2020–Present
- West Point Association of Graduates
- American Bar Association, Litigation Section
- American Bar Association, International Litigation & Dispute Resolution Committee
- American Bar Association, Business Law Section
- American Bar Association, Cyberspace Law Committee
- The Florida Bar, Business Law Section
- The Florida Bar, International Law Section
- Federal Bar Association, Florida International University Chapter President, 2018–2019
- Innovators, Florida Legal Awards, Daily Business Review, 2023
- Holland & Knight Pro Bono All-Star, 2021
- CALI Excellence for the Future Award, Federal Civil Procedure, Florida International University College of Law
- CALI Excellence for the Future Award, Legal Skills and Values (LSV I, LSV II, LSV III), Florida International University College of Law
- Dean's List, United States Military Academy, West Point, 1998-1999