Lawyers practising within the jurisdiction of Washington D.C. can now take cryptocurrency as payment for their legal services. This becomes the fourth American city to allow crypto payments for lawyers.
A report on Bloomberg Law published on June 30, 2020, says it is not unethical for lawyers to accept cryptocurrency. This should be the case as long as the fee is reasonable and lawyers can safeguard that virtual property. The DC Bar stated:
“Payment of fees in cryptocurrency is more akin to payment in property than payment in fiat currency […] cryptocurrency is, ultimately, simply a relatively new means of transferring economic value.”
The committee took cognizance of the fact that cryptocurrencies are still volatile. It encouraged lawyers to treat their clients with fairness in fee arrangements. Clients of D.C. lawyers can therefore confer with outside legal counsel in matters to do with crypto-payment deals. However, attorneys must have written consent regarding the said fee arrangement with clients.
The organization urged lawyers to educate themselves on matters of blockchain, the underlying technology behind cryptocurrencies. This, according to the Bar, will guarantee the safety and protection of the lawyers’ advance fees. The D.C. Bar, “requires lawyers to understand and safeguard against the many ways cryptocurrency can be stolen or lost.” The committee said:
“Attorneys cannot hold back the tides of change even if they would like to. Cryptocurrency is increasingly accepted as a payment method by vendors and service providers, including lawyers.”
Cryptocurrencies Have Continued To Evolve
Leading law firms have now started accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment for service. This is happening despite the risks and volatility associated with the cryptosphere. Washing D.C. joins the likes of North Carolina, Nebraska, and New York City bars. The four have issued advisory opinions in favour of accepting the virtual currency as payment.
Once referred to as the Darknet coin, cryptocurrencies have continued to evolve over time. For a long time, people associated cryptocurrencies with the purchase of stuff like drugs and other items available on the dark web. However, digital assets are now widely used as a means of exchange. More people have even started investing their life savings into the cryptocurrency market.