US: Nebraska lawyers allowed to accept payment in cryptocurrency

Lawyers in Nebraska may accept cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as payment for legal services, a local state ethics committee has determined.

The eight-member Lawyers’ Advisory Committee said in an advisory dated 11 September 2017 that Nebraska attorneys can accept a cryptocurrency as long as they immediately convert it to US dollars to “mitigate the risk of volatility and possible unconscionable overpayment for services”.

However, cryptocurrencies can be held in escrow, as they “are property rather than actual currency” in that context.

Third-party cryptocurrency payments can also be accepted “so long as the payment prevents possible interference with the attorney’s independent relationship with the client” and the third party is identified.

The advisory also makes recommendations regarding security, for example using multi-signature wallets to secure cryptocurrency held in escrow, or “maintenance of the wallet in a computer or other storage device that is disconnected from the Internet”.