Over the last few years, Cryptocurrency has garnered more and more attention. Just last month, El Salvador became the first country in the world to make Bitcoin legal tender. While story after story has been written about the unpredictability and significant value fluctuations of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, state legislatures throughout the country are beginning to tackle the challenge of regulating the cryptocurrency market. It appears that Cryptocurrency is here to stay in some form.
Accordingly, should the burgeoning legal issues surrounding Cryptocurrency be something you may want to add to your legal skill set?
The answer is ‘yes,’ and this article will discuss a few reasons why. Let us first begin, however, with a quick review of some cryptocurrency basics.
What Is Cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency is a type of virtual or digital currency based on blockchain technology. It can be used to purchase products and services. Cryptocurrency has three key characteristics:
- Completely digital – Cryptocurrency assets are all virtual; thus, there is no such thing as a physical “Bitcoin.”
- Two-party consent is all that is required – Parties complete transactions with one another without the reliance or enforcement of any third-party organization or government. It is an entirely decentralized system that exists within the Blockchain network.
- Transactions are immutable – Cryptocurrency transactions cannot be reversed.
As you likely have heard, the cryptocurrency movement is widely regarded as a “disrupter” of traditional methods and systems. Indeed, Cryptocurrency is where financial and legal sectors intertwine.
Why Cryptocurrency Might be of interest to your career development plan
With Cryptocurrency on the rise and the supporting technology increasing more quickly than ever before, attorneys need to keep their eyes on the conversation. Indeed, here are few indications as to why Cryptocurrency Holds relevance:
Financial Companies Are Hiring Lawyers Who Focus on Cryptocurrency
Financial services companies are hiring in-house attorneys in response to the increased scrutiny coming from various regulatory sources, governments, and even private litigation.
Investors are taking legal action as a result of platform outages purportedly causing trading losses on various days. Investor relations are filing multimillion-dollar “aiding and abetting” suits, contract breaches, and launching new products such as “lending products” in new territories such as Hong Kong all demonstrate the need for legal support.
Continued financial company growth in Cryptocurrency means keeping up with compliance, expanding into new markets, and developing new product and service offerings that will be at the forefront of corporate needs. As such, crypto-knowledgeable lawyers will be in high demand for both in-house and law firm positions.
- Keeping Up with Regulatory Agencies
As mentioned above, financial companies are facing developing regulatory changes amid the cryptocurrency expansion.
We can expect financial companies to keep gearing up for regulatory and compliance shifts as nations begin to take digital currency more seriously. As the legal framework materializes, lawyers who understand Cryptocurrency will be incredibly valuable to companies that need to keep a close eye on compliance.
- An Expanding Industry Likely Means More Legal Opportunities
In recent years, we have seen an explosion of businesses come out of the rise of Cryptocurrency. That means more attorneys will be needed to help pave the way for that continued growth. As regulation and compliance changes and global transactions increase, the need for cryptocurrency-focused attorneys can only multiply. In short, there will likely be increased demand in cryptocurrency-focused law firms, cryptocurrency task forces within Big Law firms, and financial companies in need of in-house counsel.
Which Practice Areas Will Crypto Impact?
While you might think that cryptocurrency expertise is only needed in the financial sector, that is not the case. Increased use of Cryptocurrency in the market will impact many areas of the law, including:
- Corporate and securities
- Estate planning
- Real estate
- Family law
- Intellectual property law
- Employment law
In short, if your practice area in some way touches upon financial transactions, you will likely need to have some proficiency in Cryptocurrency shortly.
As one CEO, Brian Brooks, recently stated, “We are on the cusp of mainstream adoption of blockchain technology and digital tokens by individuals, institutions, and governments alike.” That means, in no uncertain terms, that attorneys who understand blockchain technology and the legal issues surrounding it will be in high demand. So, do you want to open up more career doors? Consider adding cryptocurrency expertise to your career development plan.