Cynthia M. Gayton, Esq. holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs from The George Washington University and a Juris Doctor degree from George Mason University School of Law. Cynthia is a member of both the State Bar of Virginia and the District of Columbia Bar. She is the owner of Gayton Law, in Arlington, Virginia which concentrates on small business formation, intellectual property, information technology, and business transactions/contracts. In addition, she has worked for the federal government, in the private sector and for non-profit organizations. Ms. Gayton is the author of Legal Aspects of Engineering, Design and Innovation published by Kendall-Hunt in January 2017. She has written three articles on smart contracts and blockchain: “Marriage in Ethereum” (June 24, 2016), “Smart Contracts, Cryptocurrency and Taxes” (July 16, 2016), “Innovators and Regulators Meet to Discuss Blockchain in DC” (August 11, 2016), and Tokens, Branding and Digital Assets (June 30, 2017). She has been interviewed by Dr. Corey Petty of The Bitcoin Podcast. She is the co-host of the Art on the Blockchain podcast with Jeff “DJ J Scrilla” Clarkin and the Art on the Blockchain MeetUp group.


1. What is blockchain? Explain it to me like I’m five.

So you know about Santa Claus, right? How do you think he finds out whether you’ve been naughty or nice? You send him your list, and he checks it twice. How is he able to do that for all the children who write to him from around the world? He uses Santa’s Helpers and Elves. Blockchain technology is like that. You send a letter to Santa. Santa has to check to make sure that the claims that you are nice are true. With blockchain technology, it is as if Santa sends out a team of Helpers and Elves to make sure your letter is true. Once your nice behavior has been proved, you may get what you asked for. If Santa used blockchain technology, all the elves and helpers could be assisted in verifying a child’s letter and once the letter is proven to be true, Santa would rest assured that the right child got the right gift. The lesson is this: write Santa a long list and be nice.


2. What is your role in the blockchain space?

I primarily provide consulting and legal services as it relates to blockchain for small IT and entertainment businesses. In addition, I co-host the Art on the Blockchain podcast and hold Art on the Blockchain MeetUps and related events in the DMV along with Jeff Clarkin, who is an artist, music/video producer and avid cryptocurrency/virtual trading card supporter in the blockchain space.


3. Where do you see Ethereum in the next 5 years?

Ethereum may be too large now to do all the things it could be doing to support the ecosystem it created. I think there will be spin-offs specializing in smart contracts and protocols depending on use-case categories.


4. What problems do you see blockchain solving?

The problems I would like to see blockchain solve are two:  1. Assist with accounting transparency policy and legal goals for publicly traded companies and 2. Supporting open government initiatives.


5. What were you doing with your life ten years ago?

I was doing similar work – heavy concentration on writing and negotiating technology and engineering/architecture-related contracts. Ten years ago I had just finished working on a series of contract documents for the AIA and was working on the next edition of my text book. The 10th edition of that book. Legal Aspects of Engineering, Design and Innovation was released earlier this year.