New media reports are suggesting that attorneys and legal experts with knowledge of cryptocurrency are very much in demand right now.
“It’s no secret that blockchain and cryptocurrency are fast-growing specializations within the financial industry,” writes MP McQueen yesterday at Law.com, citing the J.P. Morgan Chase proprietary coin as an indicator, “and law firms are busily snatching up lawyers with expertise in the emerging fields.”
At Cointelegraph, Ana Alexandre further covers the burgeoning demand for legal eagles who understand the nature of the blockchain and the cryptocurrencies built on it.
“Additionally, a recent survey conducted by Big Four auditing firm KPMG revealed that most tax and finance executives do not consider adopting blockchain technology,” Alexandre wrote. “At least 60% of respondents claimed they would like to deploy blockchain in their companies to automate some repetitive tasks. Nonetheless, 67% were not using the technology at the time, while the other 27% were not sure whether their company was using it.”
Citing comments by Mary Kay Young, Alexandre suggests that a cryptocurrency crash may have damped down some of the interest in cryptocurrency legal affairs. However, she points out the emergence of blockchain as a bigger portion of the economy in the context of lower rates of adoption.
“As recently published forecasts predict, global blockchain spending could account for almost $2.9 billion in 2019, which is an 88.7% increase from 2018,” Alexandre writes. “The financial sector will purportedly be the leading industry in terms of spending in blockchain development this year. Banking, securities, investment services and insurance services are forecasted to invest more than $1.1 billion out of the total global blockchain spending.”
Some analysts also tie the need for crypto lawyers to regulatory changes.
“ the SEC abandons its ‘light touch’ approach to crypto and investors seek out the comparative security of compliant ICO projects, regulators are looking to the legal profession to ‘get off the fence’ and deliver clients the advice they need to stay on the right side of the law,” writes David McNickel at Brave New Coin March 7.
McNickel chronicles the slow progress of the SEC and other regulators, characterizing their prior work as something that official sfeel can be “sorted out later.”
McNickel further notes remarks by SEC Chairman Jay Clayton indicating that many firms may not get the quality of legal counsel that they need vis a vis cryptocurrencies and blockchain projects.
“In a statement issued last November, the Commission made clear it was moving beyond participants it viewed as intentional bad actors, as in U.S. v. Zaslavskiy, for example, and on to those who might best be described as cavalier or negligent in their attitude as to whether U.S securities laws applied to them,” he writes. “In the conclusion of its release, the agency recommended that ‘those employing new technologies consult with legal counsel concerning the application of the federal securities laws.’”
So what does the road map look like for individuals who are able to meld their legal experience with cryptocurrency knowledge?
Alexandre’s coverage cites Brian Burlant, a recruiter for law firms, who suggests that the underlying technology should be a primary focus. Beyond that, legal pros are free to explore their own options when it comes to bringing “crypto value” to a big market.
For investors, the high demand for cryptocurrency knowledge in the legal field likely means greater blockchain adoption as 2019 progresses.