Lawyers who handle securities law or financial litigation matters may find that their practices are increasingly impacted by bitcoin. Regulation compliance, criminal law, white collar crime, and cross-border transactions are all implicated by this technological development.
Biglaw attorneys and corporate counsel should pay particular attention: if blockchain is widely adopted, it reduces the need for many complex transactions that attorneys are currently involved in, from the use of escrow accounts to title checks. Fortune 500 companies are looking at how they can integrate blockchain into their financial operations. Ethereum (a bitcoin iteration), for example, is already being developed with corporate finance applications in mind. Attorneys should begin thinking about how they might incorporate this technology into their practices to catch the trend.
Finally, a major part of the work of many attorneys requires facilitating a secure transfer of assets. These will be affected by bitcoin. From mortgage closings and business sales to divorce proceedings and securities law, if you want to stay on top of developments, you should pay attention to bitcoin.