A growing number of law firms working with startups are beginning to accept their payment in cryptocurrencies, according to a new report by the trade-focused outlet Law.com.
The lawyers suggest that they increasingly have no choice. In order to land the growing number of businesses launched by cryptocurrency entrepreneurs, they have to show that they’re invested in what their clients are building. Often, too, the founders’ wealth has been accumulated in bitcoin, which makes it unavoidable.
It’s an interesting shift, and one that’s very reminiscent of service providers who were paid in equity during the go-go dot.com days of the late ’90s — a move that paid off hugely for some and far less profitably for others. A practitioner who was paid last year in Bitcoin, for example, would have seen the value of that payment bounce all over the place in recent months if they didn’t cash out of it immediately.
It isn’t just solo practitioners accepting cryptocurrencies, says the report. The international law firm Perkins Coie has apparently been accepting bitcoin payments since 2013. Other firms to accept cryptocurrency include Steptoe & Johnson and Frost Brown Todd.
Some of the attorneys surveyed in the story say they’re perfectly happy with the development. Others worry about the cryptocurrencies’ volatility — among other things. For example, as the story notes, accepting bitcoin can involve having to trace it to ensure it hasn’t come from illegal activity.
“I like the anonymity of it,” criminal defense attorney Jay Cohen tells Law.com. “But at the same time, I had to decline to represent people who wanted to do it because I don’t want to be investigated by anyone.”
The story, which involves interviews with a number of attorneys about a spectrum of related issues, is worth reading in its entirety. (Note that it’s for subscribers only, but we believe Law.com offers trial memberships, too.)