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Maurice Crespi, CEO.
Virtually building on ideas, exponential technological shifts and how it all began, one business at a time.

Maurice joined Schindlers Attorneys in October 1997 and became a partner of the firm in December 1998. He is a highly experienced and established corporate litigation attorney with several reported judgments in both the Supreme Court of Appeal and Constitutional Court. Famously, he was the lead attorney in achieving the legalization of marijuana in South Africa. He is an equally experienced legal practitioner with a sound knowledge of commercial, property, labour, IP, tax, corporate and fintech law. 

In 2017, recognizing the impact that exponential technology would have on the world, Maurice began to pivot from litigation attorney to a specialist in fintech, blockchain technology and blockchain law, having founded Schindlers Blockchain Department, it being the first in South Africa in 2017.
 

Maurice joined Schindlers Attorneys in October 1997 and became a partner of the firm in December 1998. He is a highly experienced and established corporate litigation attorney with several reported judgments in both the Supreme Court of Appeal and Constitutional Court. Famously, he was the lead attorney in achieving the legalization of marijuana in South Africa. He is an equally experienced legal practitioner with a sound knowledge of commercial, property, labour, IP, tax, corporate and fintech law. 

In 2017, recognizing the impact that exponential technology would have on the world, Maurice began to pivot from litigation attorney to a specialist in fintech, blockchain technology and blockchain law, having founded Schindlers Blockchain Department, it being the first in South Africa in 2017. His ideation processes and methodologies were further ignited whilst he attended the annual Singularity University Summit in October 2019, where futurists and technologists inspired him to look deeper into technological disruption and within the legal industry. He grew increasingly concerned that law and technology would not converge, in the same way it had in other industries, or, at least, anytime soon.
 
Maurice immersed himself into various online digital courses, shifted his focus and was determined to understand how future technology and the legal system could work more beneficially and cohesively together. His ideation process thrived, and he began forming collaborations, with lawyers from Los Angeles and Silicon Valley, world-renowned technologists and academics from Oxford University. During 2020, the cryptocurrency and crypto sphere kept on gaining momentum worldwide, with technologies like Ethereum, smart contracts and NFTs quickly becoming even more popular and in demand. With more technologies becoming accessible,  Schindlers Innovation (Si) Group was founded by Maurice, to recognise anticipated technology pivots that would be required for industries like law to remain competitive, and recognition that legal practice in its current form (especially within South Africa) will simply not survive the near future.

He then formed Virtual Nation Builders, NFT Auditors, Dispute-It, Collab Technologies, Schindlers Forensics and Schintech to address the increasing need for legal advice and auditing in respect of NFTs, Cryptocurrencies, ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings), Smart Contracts (including their creation by his tech-team), the minting of NFTs with their Smart Contracts embedded in their metadata, the auditing of real word assets in respect of their legal relationship to crypto assets and smart contract auditing. Dispute-it is aimed at addressing the worlds’ need for a new judicial system. It is presently being trialed.

Maurice, being the leading attorney at the forefront of the convergence of tech and law, has created and coined the terms used for certain NFT legal Instruments, including:

  • NAO : NFT Asset Option

  • NASTI : NFT Assets Sale Transaction Instrument

  • PAN : Perpetual Assignment NFT

  • PARN :  Property Assignment of Rights NFT

  • PIN :  Personal Identity NFT

  • VTN : Value Transfer NFT

  • FON : Fractional Ownership NFT

  • PRN :  Perpetual Royalty NFT

 
With exponential technological advancements and the creation of legal foundations, Maurice and his team embraced his most ambitious project yet, to build a Virtual Nation for the Ndebele Kingdom. His legal-tech offerings and collaborations virtually grew overnight, and his specialist mixed reality team took their very first steps in the creation of a Metaverse, by creating  the first step in a digital twin of the Ndebele’s Heritage Site, Komjekejeke, with extraordinary photorealism, colour and detail. See Alkebulan. Our African Digiverse.

The Ndebele Virtual Legal Resource Centre and Ndebele Online Education Centre were also formed  by Maurice's legal team and VNB’s team of educators.
 
VNB’s Blockchain team are developing the Cowrie Coin, the Ndebele Cryptocurrency, linked to a real-world regenerative economy which will be launched in the fourth quarter of 2022.
 
Maurice has also been instructed as lead attorney in the Ndebele Land Revitalisation Project, aimed at utilising blockchain technology to segment millions of hectares of the Ndebele Tribal Trust land into land right NFTs. Unlocking the value in tribal land occupied by South Africa’s previously disadvantaged will address one of the major legacies of apartheid. The terms of the NFTs will be agreed with the major South African Banks, to ensure that they meet the banks’ lending criteria and hopefully in the near future, the land will be more easily tradable than any other land in Africa. 

  
Running parallel to these digital projects, are the formation of public benefit organisations, companies and trusts for the various Ndebele Upliftment Projects. The latter, all requiring legacy legal work, including corporate, intellectual property, local and international tax, trust, escrow arrangements, law on jurisdictions, collective investments schemes, property law and requirements by the FSCA, render the necessary convergence of legal and tech advice obvious.

Maurice has also advised Black Rock Rhino Conservation in creating the world’s first NFTs of Rhino horns to conserve the Rhino. See the world’s first rhinos-one. His team attended to the legal terms in the NFTs required in the metadata, the legal audit of the NFT, the legal work required for the assignment of its intellectual property and the consideration of whether to use a NAO to link the crypto asset to a real-world asset. 

Maurice’s team did the same for the world’s first heritage NFT, the O.R Tambo Spy Gun Pen (see Spy Pen) on behalf of Liliesleaf Museum. He was instructed by Liliesleaf Farm Heritage Site, South African Heritage preservation and location where Rivonia Trialists were arrested in July 1963. His VNB Mixed Reality team were instructed to attend to the creation of Heritage NFTs that began with the scanning of Liliesleaf artefacts in early August 2021 to sell them to local and international collectors (the NFTs, not the artefacts themselves) to preserve as well as maintain South Africa's Heritage and history for the South African nation. Scarcity affidavits, necessary corporate resolutions, chain of custody reports, the NFT assignment terms and the NFTs auditing were all attended to by Maurice’s legacy law team.

Maurice has been embedded to work with South Africa’s largest NFT exchange, Momint (http://www.momint.so/), in the creation and listing of their NFTs, and as a platform to deploy Maurice’s clients’ legal instrument and Property Right NFTs. 


His team have also built an app for a virtual company module, that legally integrates with real world company MOIs (memorandums of incorporations). It utilizes a dynamic share register that is updated in real time. By utilising this new legal tech model, real-world companies can operate in or outside virtual layers of governance. The Collab-Tech app operates by utilising the principles of holacracy, coupled with decision making by the collaborators using the Dispute-It (www.dispute-it.ai), ‘Wisdom of the Crowds’ engine, that requires diversity, independence and reduced influence by alpha decision-makers. Maurice can now list any sized company, as though it were on a stock exchange, without having to go through the red tape and cost ordinarily associated with a listing on an exchange, with the shares transferrable instantly on a smartphone. The management algorithm is empirically wiser than current corporate decision-making modalities.

Maurice has also been tasked with creating the legal framework and creation of Cannabis NFTs, using NAOs as their basis for trade. This will allow for the legal trade of cannabis rights in markets where it remains a crime to deal in cannabis. The NFTs will also allow for logistical certainty in marijuana distribution.

Maurice formed COBRA (Covid Business Rescue Assistance) in 2020, the largest pro-bono initiative in South Africa’s history. He hosted over one hundred webinars for Cobra in 2020. COBRA spawned SAtion, that has been endorsed by Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), as well as the South African Government, as South Africa’s Official Digital Revitalization Strategy. SAtion in partnership with Microsoft has secured free Microsoft-365 licenses and 5 terabytes of storage to South African’s younger than the age of 25. COBRA has assisted over 500 companies, large and small.

As a further pro bono initiative, he formed Schindlers Eco Forensics to assist anyone that requires pro-bono assistance in protecting and preserving our environment. This is South Africa’s largest environmental pro bono initiative. ECO Forensics is currently at the forefront of the legal challenge against Recon Africa’s fracking ambitions in the Okavango swamps. Eco Forensics has also undertaken to act for all journalists who require legal protection as a result of them reporting on environmental transgressions. Such protection has been afforded to the lead National Geographic journalist reporting on the Recon Africa story, Jeffrey Barbee. ECO Forensics also assists communities, such as the San and Khoe, in preserving their right to a safe environment.

Globally, technology firms and legal firms find themselves on the other sides of the professional spectrum. He offers a convergence of both, virtually building ground-breaking solutions. 
 
Some of Maurice’s department solutions include:
 

  • Building Decentralised and Autonomous Virtual Layers of Governance

  • Creation and listing of Cryptocurrencies, fungible and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

  • Creation of Smart Contracts and NFTs for use in a real digital market

  • The listing of NFTs on multiple exchanges

  • The auditing of NFTs (both legal and tech)

  • Creation of Distributed Autonomous Organizations (DAOs)

  • Legal Integration in respect of the Internet of Things (IOT)

  • Creation of Photo Realistic Metaverses with embedded legal systems

  • Creation of Photo Realistic Art NFTs with IP legal terms embedded in their metadata

  • Land reform through Land NFTs

  • Insurance NFTs

  • Forensic AI

  • NFT Property Registries

  • Mixed reality in Law

  • Fractional Ownership NFTs

  • Preemptive Forensic solutions

  • E-discovery

  • Legal Data Management

  • POPIA AI Management solutions

  • Human Resource AI management solutions

  • NFT Asset Options

  • Creating and minting of marketing, promotional and ticketing NFTs in compliance with legislation such as the Communication and Electronic Transaction Act, Consumer Protection Act and Protection of Personal Information Act.

  • NFT Assets Sale Transaction Instruments

  • Asset class NFTs

  • Property Assignment of Right NFTs

  • Personal Identity NFTs

  • Legacy legal and tax advice

  • Litigation support

  • 4IR legal and tech banking solutions

 
In short, globally, technology and legal firms find themselves on the other sides of the professional spectrum. Maurice offers a convergence of both, virtually building ground-breaking solutions. 

In further advancing his skills and offering, he is currently deep learning, Machine Learning at Stanford University, Unity Development at UC San Diego, Crypto/Blockchain at Princeton and Mixed Reality at the University of London

Maurice provides guidance to international banks, companies, governments, NGOs and other global pillars of society in respect of the legal and tech gauntlet that is required to become competitive in the fourth industrial revolution.