Brain Inkster: Why Inksters will not be taking payment in cryptocurrency
A fee-share law firm this week announced that it is the first top 200 UK law firm to take payment in cryptocurrency. It claims this means it can work with a wider variety of clients and its ‘partners’ (self-employed consultant solicitors) can be paid how they choose.
Other firms, however, have done this as early as 2013. Brian Inkster, CEO of Inksters – one of the first fee-share law firms in Scotland – said that his firm will not be following suit. He gave five reasons why:
Cryptocurrencies can fluctuate widely in value. Inksters would not expect its consultant solicitors to agree a fee in Ether that might end up being a small fraction of the pound sterling equivalent upon payment.
2. Lack of regulation
The current lack of regulation in the cryptocurrency market has seen many scams, hacks and market manipulations. It is therefore not an area that Inksters would wish to be seen in or have their consultant solicitors be part of.
3. Money laundering
Cryptocurrencies are susceptible to money laundering activity. The predominant reason is anonymity. Individuals and criminal organisations can mask their true identities by using different aliases and pseudonyms, essentially allowing transactions to be conducted anonymously.
4. Slow and cumbersome
Due to their complexity and their encrypted, distributed nature, blockchain transactions can take a while to process, compared to “traditional” payment systems such as cash or debit cards. Bitcoin transactions can take several hours to finalise.
5. Environmental harm
Cryptocurrency transactions use a huge amount of computing power and vast amounts of energy. The electricity used per year to mine bitcoin surpasses the annual energy usage of many countries in the world.
Mr Inkster said: “For these reasons Inksters will continue to take payment, and pay our consultant solicitors, in good old fashioned pounds sterling.”