Head of FinTech, United States
Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
Related services and key industries
- Corporate, M&A and securities
- Information governance, privacy and cybersecurity
- Financial services and regulation
- Tech sector
Stephen Aschettino is an accomplished business lawyer and trial attorney with more than 20 years of experience handling a wide variety of complex technology transactions and high-stakes litigation matters. His practice includes a particular focus on legal, business and regulatory issues impacting payments technology, including global payment systems, digital transformation and e-commerce solutions.
A payments-industry veteran and former Chief Legal Officer to a leading payments processor, Stephen is uniquely equipped to counsel financial institutions, technology companies, payment processors, merchant acquirers, ISO's/MSP's/ISV's, marketplaces, cryptocurrency issuers and exchanges, FinTech start-ups and other players in the payments space. He also works with some of the largest retailers, manufacturers, entertainment and social media companies, consumer brands, airlines, energy providers and sports franchises to develop and implement PayTech solutions.
Stephen assists clients with matters involving electronic payments, mobile wallets, prepaid cards, digital currency, blockchain technology, money transmission and related licensing issues. He has extensive experience with new product development, negotiating key sponsorship and processing agreements, structuring intercompany transactions, performing regulatory due diligence and resolving contractual disputes. Stephen regularly counsels on federal and state payments, financial and consumer regulatory issues, data privacy and security and compliance with PCI-DSS, card-network and NACHA rules.
In addition to his payments experience, Stephen maintains a diverse business litigation practice. He has served as lead trial and appellate counsel in commercial, insurance, products liability and bankruptcy cases and has been responsible for national and regional litigation portfolios for companies in a variety of industries, including financial services, e-commerce, manufacturing and insurance. Stephen's clients have ranged from Fortune 500 to early growth companies, as well as corporate executives. He has also represented courtappointed fiduciaries in bankruptcy and other distress situations.
Stephen is widely recognized as a thought leader on payments, blockchain and cybersecurity issues. He is a frequent speaker, has published numerous articles, and has been interviewed or quoted in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, American Banker, Buzzfeed, Law360, Payments Source, The National Law Review, Payments Compliance, Inside Counsel, Transaction Trends, ISO & Agent, Investors Business Daily and SC Magazine. Stephen was recognized as one of the top five payments-industry attorneys nationwide by ISO & Agent, and he was the only attorney to serve as a judge for the 2016 and 2018 "Payments Pitch-Off" competitions at the Electronic Transactions Association's TRANSACT conferences.
Stephen is a long-standing member and supporter of the Hispanic National Bar Association and was a speaker at the 2020 Corporate Counsel Conference and Annual Convention.
JD, American University, Washington College of Law, 1991
BS, Cornell University, 1988
- New York State Bar
- Served as corporate and regulatory counsel to a US payments company acquiring a global money transmitter.
- Negotiated a global customer brand agreement with a leading US payment card network.
- Served as corporate and regulatory counsel to a Canadian payments company acquiring a US payment processor.
- Prepared agreements for and provided regulatory advice to one of the leading mobile wallets.
- Assisted cryptocurrency exchange to obtain state money transmitter licenses.
- Performed 50-state regulatory analyses for start-up money transmitters.
- Provided regulatory advice to a foreign currency exchange provider doing business in the US.
- Advised cannabis marketplace regarding implementation of PayTech solutions.
- Represented a public company in the payments industry in TCPA litigation.
- Litigation counsel for national ATM company.
- Counseled a bank on the issuance of its first credit card products.
- Prepared all consumer-facing electronic banking and disclosure documents for a multi-national bank.
- Negotiated a new core platform agreement for a regional bank.
- Provided US regulatory device to a multi-national bank based in Eastern Asia.
- Negotiated a cryptocurrency cold storage agreement for a bank holding one of the largest known cryptocurrency portfolios.
- Advised company providing white-labeled crypotocurrency solutions for banks.
- Represented a digital advertising company negotiating a change of its payments services provider.
- Advised a global online travel services provider on minimizing its US payments regulatory footprint.
- Counseled a technology service provider for rental apartments on the proposed imposition of surcharges for credit card payments.
- Advised technology platform for landlords on applicable anti-money laundering regulations and card-network rules.
- Provided counsel to wireless telephone carrier with regard to payment facilitator issues.
- Provided US regulatory advice to various EU and Israeli-based start-ups.
- Served as Outside General Counsel to numerous start-ups.
Entertainment and social media companies
- Advised global, short-form mobile video social networking service on payments regulatory issues impacting US launch of new product.
- Provided guidance to one of the largest social media platforms with regard to cryptocurrency and NFT regulatory and advertising issues.
- Counselled one of the largest media content providers on implementation of a blockchain-based data repository.
- Advised broadcast television network on development of tokenized distribution platform. Counselled one of the largest talent agencies on cryptocurrency issues.
- Represented artificial-intelligence-based technology company in various matters with regard to royalty payments due to artists, labels and streaming services.
- Negotiated core payments technology agreements with various payments services providers for a national pharmacy chain.
- Advised US airline with regard to its payment processing agreements and mobile payments integration.
- Assisted national, membership-based discount retailer on implementation of digital membership card, with associated payments capabilities.
- Advised national pharmacy chain on payments regulatory and AML compliance issues.
- Counselled numerous Fortune 100 companies on potential money transmitter issues arising from gift card promotions.
- Represented large retailer conglomerate with regard to its proposed rollout of payroll cards to its employees.
- Performed multi-state regulatory analyses for numerous retailers seeking to implement payments solutions.
- Counsel to a US automobile manufacturer regarding its payments and mobility platform products.
- Negotiated the US portion of multi-national cosmetics company's payments technology platform agreements.
- Advised US automobile manufacturer on card network compliance issues.
- Represented bicycle manufacturer on agreements with a financial institution to provide financing to customers.
- Represented a cosmetics company in a dispute with a payment card network.
- Negotiated payment facilitator agreement for a US automobile manufacturer.
- Performed multi-state regulatory analyses for numerous manufacturers seeking to implement payment solutions.
- Created a PCI-DSS compliant Payment Card Acceptance Policy for an affiliate of one of the largest US energy companies.
- Advised a major US sports league regarding blockchain-based gaming solutions.
- Counselled an esports company on payments integration issues.
- Assisted a major-league baseball team regarding PCI-DSS requirements for POS terminals in a new stadium.
- Advised various estates holding cryptocurrency portfolios and the implications thereof.
- Assisted estates in disposition of crypto assets.
- "The Lummis-Gillibrand crypto bill provision that has banks on edge," American Banker, June 7, 2022
- "Why Emerging Markets Are Leading the Charge on CBDCs," Blockworks, May 26, 2022
- "Shrugging Off Crypto Doubters, Central African Republic Forges Ahead," Blockworks, May 24, 2022
- "Tether withdrawals top $10 billion as regulators raise alarm about stablecoins," CNBC, May 23, 2022
- "Blockchain + Legal Industry Group launches whitepaper series to highlight technology & law," Auto Fin Journal, May 9, 2022
- "Blockchain Legal Industry Group Aims to Raise Awareness of Legal and Regulatory Issues," LawSites, April 28, 2022
- "Industry Group Dedicated to Driving Awareness and Solutions for Legal and Regulatory Issues Related to Blockchain
Releases First White Paper for General Counsels," Associated Press, April 28, 2022
- "As California Readies Automatic Renewal Law, Compliance Efforts May Already Be Falling Behind," Law.com, February 8, 2022
- "US Crypto Regulation Starts To Take Place" (Global Risk Regulator), September 1, 2021
- "Episode 10 of the Regulation Tomorrow Out Now" (Podcast), Regulation Tomorrow, August 26, 2021
- "Would A Digital Dollar Make FedNow Obsolete?" American Banker, June 15, 2021
- "In Check with FinTech" PCN (Podcast), March 18, 2021
- "OCC's Potential Boon for Payments Industry Faces Headwinds," Law360, September 10, 2020
- "Fintech Could See Adoption Bump After Outbreak Eases, " Law360, March 19, 2020
- "Fintech's 2020 M&A Boom Shifts to Consumer-Facing Targets," Law360, February 26, 2020
- "Dueling Fintech Regulatory Initiatives May Work Best Together," Law360, November 20, 2019
- "Industry Will Not Face Censure Over Non-Binding Guidance, Insist U.S. Regulators," Payments Compliance, September 17, 2018
- "Mini Law Lesson: What the Heck is Blockchain?" YouTube (Video), August 21, 2018
- "Lessons Learned: Venmo Reaches Settlement with Federal U.S. Regulator," Payments Compliance, March 9, 2018
- "U.S. Firms Cautioned Over Regulatory Sandbox Hype," Payments Compliance, October 27, 2017
- "U.S. Arbitration Rule Struck Down by Senate," Payments Compliance, October 26, 2017
- "Square Wants To Be A Bank, And Real Banks are Pissed," Buzzfeed, September 29, 2017
- "The Morning Risk Report: Compliance Requirements Loom for Fintech Firms," The Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2017
- "Merchants Are Finally Warming Up to Surcharging," Payments Source, November 4, 2016
- "Little-Discussed Aspect of CFPB Ruling Could Be Boon to Lawyers," New York Law Journal, October 13, 2016
- "Merchants in Legal Hot Water After EMV Shift," ISO & Agent, July 5, 2016
- "On Deck: Predictions for 2016 and Beyond," SC Media, December 14, 2015
- "What Does Your Cyber-Insurance Really Cover?" Inside Counsel, November 9, 2015
- "Lawyers Work to Safeguard ISOs," ISO & Agent Weekly, March 14, 2013
- "Time Has Come for Honesty in Negotiating the Split," ISO & Agent Weekly, March 29, 2011
- "Portability Rights Taking on Greater Importance," ISO & Agent Weekly, July 28, 2010
- "The Do's And Don'ts of Digital Documents," Payments Source, May 26, 2010
- Hispanic National Bar Association
- Electronic Transactions Association
- Blockchain + Legal Industry Group
- Turnaround Management Association
- American Bar Association
- New York State Bar Association
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