Bitcoin is a digital currency (also called cryptocurrency) used to transfer value, or “bitcoins,” anywhere in the world. It is not controlled by a bank or government and is a completely open payment network that anyone with an Internet connection can use. Unlike other new forms of payment, bitcoin does not use the dollar as currency. Large companies such as Microsoft, Expedia, Subway, and Dell all accept bitcoins. Should you?
Having a basic understanding of non-traditional methods of payment, even if you choose not to implement them, will help you discharge your ethical duty to keep up with technology. The Model Rules of Professional Conduct make it clear that keeping up with new technology is part of a lawyer’s ethical duty to provide competent representation. And if you do accept bitcoins, an understanding of them will help avoid potential risks.