John leads the firm’s Technology Industry Team. He focuses on technology-related commercial agreements with a particular interest in blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies and the automotive space. He also has unique experience helping companies forge cross-cultural contractual agreements around the world using industry best practices and western style contracts. An essential element to his approach is to let the business terms, rather than the legal structure of a business opportunity, define the relationship.
John represents scores of clients across the blockchain ecosystem, including issuers of digital tokens through Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), providers of distributed applications (DAPPs) cryptocurrency hedge funds, exchanges, consultants and marketers. John also represents OEMs and suppliers in the automotive industry as they interact to build best practices and hold each other accountable in the rapidly emerging connected car/autonomous vehicle arena. Finally, John has extensive experience handling complex cyber security incidents and serves as chair of the firm’s China desk.
John has hands on experience with all types of software and technology agreements including: blockchain-based distributed applications, software development, licensing, subscription and reselling agreements; digital tokens and cryptocurrency; outsourcing (onshore and offshore) agreements; hosting agreements; private and public cloud infrastructure and application hosting; service level agreements; maintenance and support agreements; training and installation agreements; software acceptance procedures; commission agreements; data sharing and privacy agreements; IT security policies (BCP and VTA); Value Added Reseller (VAR) Agreements; Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Agreements; and open source software.
John joined Frost Brown Todd after serving seven years as General Counsel and EVP to Freeborders, Inc., a California-based technology services company with offices in North America, Europe and Asia. Freeborders, now Symbio, specializes in custom software development and consulting services. John has also served as a professional staff member of the United States Senate Committee on the Budget and as Staff Director of a Subcommittee of the United States Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. In these positions he focused on non-Medicare health care funding and led numerous investigations in waste, fraud and abuse in federal programs, including health care reimbursement, the General Services Administration and the Department of Defense.
Represents scores of ICOs and issuers of digital tokens through all aspects of the token generation process from entity set up, pre-sales, crowd sale, state and federal regulatory compliance, bank secrecy act (AML/KYC) compliance, intellectual property management and vendor relationships.
Represented a retail restaurant chain handling all legal aspects of a nationwide payment card data breach, including establishment and coordination of an incident response plan, management of IT vendors, negotiations with franchisees, vendors, payment processors, banks and card brands, compliance with state and federal notification requirements, and coordination with law enforcement.
Represents automotive OEMs and suppliers with research and development contracts related to connected car technologies and autonomous vehicles.
Represented European and Chinese domiciled entities in the sale of connected car applications to OEMs in the US and Europe.
Provided legal, strategic and management assistance to Freeborders, Inc. from the start-up phase to 850 employees, while expanding from one office in California to 11 offices in seven countries.
Negotiated the largest (at the time) U.S. to China technology outsourcing deal with a total contract value of $270 million.
Negotiated a U.S./Swiss/China technology outsourcing deal that won the Forbes Magazine/Everest Group Outsourcing Excellence Award for Europe.
Negotiated the federal government lease and helped arrange the $300 million financing for the Portals Building in Washington, D.C., current home of the Federal Communications Commission.
Initiated and led a number of waste, fraud, and abuse investigations on behalf of U.S. Senate Committees resulting in policy changes and budget cuts worth tens of millions in federal savings.
Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1994
University of Mississippi, B.A., 1984
The Best Lawyers in America®, International Mergers and Acquisitions, 2023
“Trailblazers in Cryptocurrency, Blockchain and Fintech,” National Law Journal, 2018
Nashville Chamber of Commerce, International Business Council, Board Member
American Bar Association
Tennessee Bar Association
International Association of Privacy Professionals
First Presbyterian Church, Elder
Delta Waterfowl Association, Middle Tennessee Chapter, Co-Chairman
Nations Ministry Center, Board Member (Chairman Emeritus)
“Laying a Foundation for Success: State Initiatives in Blockchain,” Distributed: Health 2017, September 25, 2017
Business Without Borders, HSBC and The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles, CA, April 20, 2011; San Francisco, CA, April 21, 2011
Protecting Intellectual Property, the Facts Behind the Buzz, Webinar, The Center for CIO Leadership, November 9, 2010
“SEC loses a battle to win the war? Ripple dissociates from pumping XRP,” Cointelegraph, April 18, 2021
“US Authorities Eager to Deter Citizens from Unregistered Crypto Exchanges” Cointelegraph, December 16, 2020
“What’s the Deal With Yam Finance?” Cointelegraph, August 21, 2020
Author, “The Rise of Decentralized Finance and Why Banks Should Start Paying Attention,” Banking Exchange, July 16, 2020
“Is DeFi a Bubble? Experts Weigh In On Hype vs. Value,” Finance Magnates, July 9, 2020
“The US Congress’ Digital Dollar Hearing is Today: All You Need to Know,” Finance Magnates, June 11, 2020
“French Court Moves the BTC Chess Piece – How Will Regulators Respond?,” Cointelegraph, March 15, 2020
“What Blockchain Companies Need To Do To Succeed,” CMS Wire, June 21, 2019.
“What Are The Benefits of Blockchain in the Music Industry,” Disruptor Daily, May 18, 2019.
“#BlockchainProfiles – Meet John Wagster of Frost Brown Todd LLC,” FintekNews, April 15, 2019.
Co-Author, “When Sharing is Not Caring, How to Protect Data When Outsourcing”, Co-Author Paul Liu, Globalization Today, March 2010; China Information World, January 17, 2011.
Publication: Venture Nashville Connections
Publish Date: January 20, 2022
Associated Attorneys: John S. Wagster
Publish Date: April 19, 2021
February 11, 2021
Publication: Banking Exchange
Publish Date: July 16, 2020
April 9, 2020
October 15, 2019
Publication: BAD Crypto Podcast
Publish Date: October 10, 2018
September 24, 2018
March 14, 2018
December 18, 2017
November 15, 2017
August 28, 2017
March 30, 2017