Lawyers within Washington, D.C jurisdiction can now accept cryptocurrency as a means of payment for their legal services according to Bloomberg’s report. Cryptocurrency can now be used as to make payments for legal services as long as there is fair agreement and it is permitted only if the lawyer knows how to store the payment safely; the district of Columbia Bar said this in an ethics opinion.
Attorneys “cannot hold back the change even if they would like to, and cryptocurrency is increasingly accepted as a payment method by vendors and service providers, including lawyers”, the organization said.
The committee acknowledged the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies and included that fairness to the client is important while making fee arrangements. Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies; the transactions are recorded on a public ledger- Blockchain and they are traded on exchanges just like stock exchanges.
However, the acceptance of payments in cryptocurrency comes with certain terms according to the opinion. First is the clear agreement on how the client is to be billed; and decision on who will be cover the gas fee for the crypto transfer, whether the lawyer or the client. The client can seek external counsel on the deal as well.
The lawyer’s fairness to the client is also important as the opinion noted that agreement fairness should be decided at the time of signing. With this, no ethical breach will occur if future events beyond the lawyer’s control occurs and makes the fee unreasonable. Lawyers must be competent and familiar with Blockchain technology, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies so as to be able to ensure and safeguard the payments according to the opinion; the Bar “requires lawyers to understand and safeguard against the many ways cryptocurrency can be stolen or lost.”
It is no longer news that digital currency is the future of money. The phase has been set in motion and new development is reported daily. Bars in other jurisdictions like New York City, Nebraska, North Carolina have approved cryptocurrency as payment previously.
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