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UK Ministry of Justice UK-Africa Legal Services Spring Conference

This conference on Thursday 22 April 2021 will provide an opportunity to hear from general counsel and discover the latest trends in key sectors relevant to Africa, from international trade and financial services to extractives and technology.

MI members Maggie Baingana from Shield Associates in Rwanda, Benson Ngugi from Igeria & Ngugi in Kenya and Ivy Osiobe from Giwa-Osagie in Nigeria will all be participating on panel discussions throughout the day covering international trade, data-privacy and telecommunications and fintech.

An excellent opportunity for MI member firms in the UK and in Africa to network and gain insight.

For further information or to register go to

Keith Heddle

Mackrell International

New initiatives bringing members together 'outside the box'

Mackrell International are proud to launch two new initiatives for members looking to 'think outside the box' and 'be creative and innovative' in an environment not usually known for 'experimental and imaginative'


One of the wonders of the Mackrell International family is that we are not just richly multi-cultural, but we are all different ‘shapes and sizes’ (I’m talking law firms, not individuals!). Often, our smaller firms and our smaller jurisdictions have to battle that bit harder, be a bit more entrepreneurial and work with less – though there are always upsides to having a smaller team.

This meeting will bring member firms together to:

• connect

• look at opportunities

• share challenges and also ideas

• highlight how we do things differently

• help each other out

• see how MI can support you.

Rasem Kamal from Kamal & Associates in Palestine has also kindly agreed to share his experience and his presentation on ‘How to win business when you’re smaller’, which he has previously presented on various IBA forums.

click here to find out more


From conversations with Managing Partners and MI Main Contacts around the world, a number of firms are taking a ‘creative’ and entrepreneurial approach to developing business, both locally and cross-jurisdictionally.

Sometimes, that can be as simple as working trade associations and embassies, sometimes it’s by creating cross-industry alliances or partnerships with recruitment agencies or venture capital firms, or by targeting global personnel movements, immigration and investment.

So we will hold a quarterly meeting of MI ‘entrepreneurs’ and creative business thinkers to:

• share what they are doing

• seek opportunities

• swap ideas

• potentially create partnerships and business initiatives

click here to find out more

For more information and to join these meetings contact Mackrell HQ

Keith Heddle

Mackrell International

Welcome to new member firm for Poland

We are pleased to welcome our latest new member to the Mackrell International ‘family’:

Member for Poland: Konieczny, Wierzbicki Kancelaria Radców Prawnych Spółka Partnerska (KWKR)

Key contacts:

Marcin Wierzbicki
Michał Konieczny

Website :

Another adventurer joins the Mackrell family - and their team of specialists give a whistlestop tour of the on the image

and after that, in a nutshell…..

“If we were to choose one word to best describe Konieczny Wierzbicki Attorneys-at-Law it would be “effective”. We manage challenging, international projects on a daily basis, and we are always proud of the effects. Every case is different, and so are our clients, and for that reason flexibility is our priority. We have great experience in handling various situations, always attaining the expected outcome.

Our efficiency and strength of purpose have been rewarded with many prestigious awards, both local, and international, le.g.: Leading Firm (TMT) - LEGAL 500

At KWKR we try to improve our skills every day, by challenging ourselves to find unconventional solutions to different problems. We know how important it is to be open-minded, and to think outside of the box. Our team consists of experienced, ambitious, and hard-working experts, who are always ready to bring out what’s the best of them. When entering our office you can feel the great atmosphere, based on a support and respect, that we all create. Our complexity is our power.”

All their key information is available on our website

Please do get in touch with them to welcome them to the MI family and to find out more.

Marcin Wierzbicki

Konieczny Wierzbicki Law Firm

Michał Konieczny

Konieczny Wierzbicki Law Firm

What’s the Big Deal with Bitcoin anyway?

Introduction: What Is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is omnipresent in recent media. It is a term that has appeared in The New York Times on nearly a daily basis over the past few months.

What is it? And why are people so interested in it?

As to the first question, bitcoin is what is now known as a cyber-currency.

That is, it is a unit of monetary exchange that exists only in electronic form. There is no paper bitcoin. It does not represent a pile of gold behind lock and key at Fort Knox.

It is an independent financial system that allows users of the currency to buy and sell its units from an endless series of decentralized nodes across the internet.

How Does Bitcoin Work?

Bitcoin and other cyber-currencies work on what is known as blockchain technology.

A blockchain is, in essence, simply an electronic “ledger” that can exist in duplicate form in an unlimited number of locations simultaneously.

The primary feature of an item’s inclusion in a blockchain ledger is that, once in place, it is immutable. In other words, it cannot be changed or altered or re-valued.

Any review of that item in any of the duplicate copies of the electronic ledger will reveal the same information about that item.

Thus, cyber-currencies like Bitcoin (and it is by far not the only one) rely upon this blockchain technology. When the value of cyber-currency is reported by media outlets or by brokerages or other trading houses, that reporter is simply reading the electronic ledger.

Based on the market trading of Bitcoin on a given day, the same value is reported from any and all of the electronic ledgers tracking that value.

It is this technology which allows a cyber-currency to have value at all, free from the mediation of traditional, terrestrial financial institutions.

What Was Bitcoin Intended to Do?

Bitcoin was originally proposed in 2008 on anonymous internet message boards by a mysterious individual writing under the name of Satoshi Nakamoto.

Nakamoto envisioned a blockchain financial system with no trusted center point. It would be a system that could function without any overarching verifier of the data. The system would allow for financial transactions while protecting the privacy of those involved.

Money could be transferred anonymously, without reporting or regulation.

It was intended simply as a medium for electronic transactions.

What Is Bitcoin Now?

With that pseudo-utopian ideal in mind, how did Bitcoin end up as the darling of The New York Times?

Bitcoin has not been utilized so much as a substitute for the dollar or the Euro but as an object of speculation—and that speculation has driven its value to startling heights.

It has become commodified, in other words. As of this writing, the value of a single Bitcoin is over $46,000.

The gamification of retail investment channels, coupled with the recent $1.5 billion investment of Elon Musk and Tesla, has pushed Bitcoin value into the stratosphere.

That sort of value can’t help but attract public interest.

Where Will Bitcoin Go?

While notables such as [Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Janet Yellen remain dubious]( ") about Bitcoin’s usefulness, Tesla will soon begin accepting Bitcoin in payment for its automobiles.

PayPal, Fidelity, Visa, and MasterCard are accepting Bitcoin as well. More will follow.

With well-publicized Bitcoin theft and password-loss incidents, regulators in the U.S. are now paying more attention to the evolution of cyber-currencies. As a result, many investors now view Bitcoin, specifically, as a legitimate component of a good investment portfolio.

It is likely that the various cyber-currencies will coalesce into a single, international coinbase system, but how quickly that occurs and with what cyber-currencies is yet to be determined. That may be in the hands of politicians at this juncture.

What is clear, however, is that Bitcoin’s use increasingly reflects the original intent of its inventors that it function as a vehicle for financial transaction. As our system is increasingly cashless, it is clear that public interest in and demand for cyber-currency is a genie that cannot be stuffed back into its bottle.

Bitcoin is here to stay – even if it remains the plaything of the super-rich and the speculative…

This article is the product of the recent interview of high-tech partner Andrew Updegrove of Gesmer Updegove with Justin Swanson of Bose McKinney & Evans LLP. You can view video clips from this interview on our Bite-Sized Business YouTube channel.

Andrew Updegrove

Gesmer Updegrove LLP

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