Bits and Pieces: Greater Legal Clarity About Bitcoin

If there is an expert every crypto-related company needs, besides someone with the technical expertise to mine Bitcoin or leverage the power of the blockchain, if there is a missing but indispensable link in this chain of technology and commerce, it is sufficient legal counsel. The lack of lawyers fluent in this issue makes this subject too volatile than it should be and too vulnerable to attack than it has a right to be.

The latter is the reason why legitimacy still eludes the supporters of Bitcoin, because while the economics may be sound and the soundness of the science may (theoretically) be indisputable, the only thing that matters is what the law says. To the extent that the law favors the opponents of Bitcoin, and to the degree that regulators can—and do—use the law to limit the use of any and all digital currencies, things will change when the champions of Bitcoin champion the need for legal representation.

Only a lawyer can advocate on behalf of his clients. Only a lawyer, who can navigate the culture of startups with the same ease by which he can translate the culture of lawmaking into the vernacular of business communication, can achieve this goal. Without a lawyer, or a team of lawyers, the only thing an entrepreneur can do is lose control of his options before he loses control of his company; before his company cannot raise more money; before his company closes and the foreclosure of assets ensues; before lawsuits begin and subpoenas signal the beginning of the end to not only a company but an entire industry.

According to Wayne R. Cohen, a professor at The George Washington University School of Law and a partner at Cohen and Cohen, P.C., there is too much of a “go-it-alone” attitude among proponents of Bitcoin. That is, companies have more of “a reactive approach to retaining counsel than a proactive policy, which can avoid potential crises and anticipate legal challenges ahead of time.”

I second Cohen’s analysis, not because I also have a law degree and believe a lawyer is a source of immeasurable worth, but because I have seen—and continue to see—the fast undoing of companies through a combination of negligence and outright fraud. Put another way, companies can affect positive change when they have effective counsel.

The more lawyers these companies have, in addition to an increase in the number of lawyers representing the interests of investors, the better off everyone will be. Oversight will be more observant, and compliance will be more compulsory than voluntary, when lawyers are the invaluable professionals they must be; when they serve, as they will, the professional needs of miners and vendors alike.

By these standards, lawyers will be the coin of the realm, so to speak. Their currency in the law will further the adoption of digital currencies. Their influence is important, while the import of their representation is too significant to deny.

Let lawyers show us the path to success.

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