The Washinton DC Bar Association has released an ethical opinion report that endorses crypto payments to lawyers operating in the U.S capital. It becomes the fourth bar association to give the go-ahead for digital asset remunerations after New York, North Carolina, and Nebraska.
Despite skepticism on crypto assets due to volatility and ethical ambiguity, the DCB noted that crypto might be in everyone's future. It, therefore, makes sense for lawyers to adjust with the change in tides as well,
“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.”
Nonetheless, DCB was keen to highlight some provisions, such as reasonable and fair client fees. It goes on to dub cryptocurrencies as the property that must be safeguarded by the lawyers receiving payment services in this form.
“In the case of cryptocurrency, competence requires lawyers to understand and safeguard against the many ways cryptocurrency can be stolen or lost.
Because blockchain transactions are unregulated, uninsured, anonymous, and irreversible, cryptocurrency is regularly targeted for digital fraud and theft.”
With around 100,000 active members, the DCB is one of the most significant bar associations to consider crypto payments as an ‘ethical' option. However, its definition of crypto transactions is pretty different from New York's. The latter defined crypto payments as ‘business transactions' back in July 2019 compared to the DCB ‘payment in property' view.
Going by these developments, crypto adoption in service payments may have just raised the bar higher than stakeholders expected. In North Carolina, the bar association even highlighted that BTC might be legitimized though not soon,
“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.”