As cryptocurrencies continue to gain recognition, more and more industries have started to accept it as a valid means of payment. Traditional payment methods are slowly becoming obsolete in comparison to crypto-based payments, and the world of international commerce is moving faster than ever as it is switching to crypto.
Amidst the worldwide financial revolution, the latest to announce plans about switching to cryptocurrencies is the DC Bar association. As of now, four bar associations throughout the United States have now issued opinions that they are not hesitant to accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment for legal services.
The District of Columbia Bar Association (DCB) is the latest to have released an ethics opinion stating that the advocates in the nation’s capital can accept cryptocurrencies as payment as long as the fee is reasonable and fair to clients.
The DCB also notes that lawyers who accept payments in cryptocurrency must take “competent and reasonable security precautions to safeguard that property”.
With approximately 100,000 members, the DCB is one of the larger bar associations in the U.S. and it is “not unethical for a lawyer to accept cryptocurrency.”
Prior to this, the New York City bar association had addressed crypto payments as “business transactions” in a statement issued in July 2019. However, DCB refers to it as “payment in property” rather than in fiat.
Othe Bars accepting Crypto
The earliest bar association to have issued statements in favor of crypto payments were those in Nebraska and North Carolina. Both the associations issued statements back in 2018.
The Nebraska Bar singled out Bitcoin (BTC) in particular and raised concerns about the illegal uses of digital currencies, highlighting Silk Road, the online contraband market infamous for its associations with crypto, as one example.
One the other hand, the North Carolina Bar was somewhat skeptical about its opinions regarding the ethics of crypto as payment. Even though it agreed that a cryptocurrency is a form of property, it advised against investing in virtual currency:
“The bulk of people we know regard Bitcoin as “shady money,” and they may well regard lawyers accepting Bitcoin as “shady lawyers.” Will Bitcoin be legitimized one day in the eyes of average Joes and Janes? Maybe—but not soon.”
The DCB has also referred to cryptocurrencies as “volatile alternative currency” that “raises ethical challenge for lawyers,” but ultimately it agrees that it is the future:
“Lawyers cannot hold back the tides of change even if they would like to, and cryptocurrency is increasingly accepted as a payment method by vendors and service providers, including lawyers […] the rules are flexible enough to provide for the protection of clients’ interests and property without rejecting advances in technologies.”