Nebraska Ethics Advisory Opinion Regarding Digital Currencies
In what is reported as the first ethics body opinion on the topic law firm use of digital currencies, three important questions are addressed. May an attorney receive digital currencies such as bitcoin as payment for legal services, receive digital currencies from third parties as payment for the benefit of a client’s account, and hold digital currencies in trust or escrow for clients? Subject to described cautions, limitations, and conditions the answers to these questions are generally yes. The opinion make clear that lawyers receiving payment in digital currencies should take three steps. First, the lawyer should notify the client that the payment will be immediately converted to U.S. dollars. Second, the lawyer should make the conversion through a payment processor. And third, the lawyer should credit the client’s account at the time of payment. It is likely other states will need to issue guidance for the questions addressed in Nebraska as well as others as the technology progresses in the future.