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Home > Actions on Rule Changes and Legal Ethics Opinions > Legal Ethics Opinion 1898, Cryptocurrency.

Proposed | Legal Ethics Opinion 1898, Cryptocurrency. Pending approval by VSB Council.

Update 5/31/22: The Standing Committee on Legal Ethics voted on May 26, 2022, to submit the proposal to VSB Council for approval at its June, 16, 2022, meeting.


Pursuant to Part 6, § IV, ¶ 10-2(C) of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, the Virginia State Bar’s Standing Committee on Legal Ethics (“Committee”) is seeking public comment on proposed advisory Legal Ethics Opinion 1898 – Cryptocurrency.

The proposed opinion provides guidance on some of the technical issues surrounding cryptocurrency and what it means to act competently to safeguard the cryptocurrency.

This proposed opinion concludes that a lawyer may accept client property including cryptocurrency offered as an advance payment for the lawyer’s services, provided the lawyer’s fee is reasonable under Rule 1.5, and this business transaction with the client meets the requirements of Rule 1.8(a), namely, that the transaction is fair and reasonable to the client, the transaction and terms are fully disclosed in writing in a manner the client understands, the client is advised of the opportunity to consult with independent counsel, and the client’s consent is confirmed in writing. When cryptocurrency is being held by the lawyer as an advance fee, the requirements of Rule 1.15 regarding safekeeping client property apply and require that the lawyer take reasonable steps to secure the client’s property against loss, theft, damage or destruction.  

Inspection and Comment

The proposed opinion may be inspected below, or by contacting the Office of Ethics Counsel at (804) 775-0557.

Any individual, business, or other entity may file or submit written comments in support of or in opposition to the proposed opinion with Karen A. Gould, executive director of the Virginia State Bar, not later than May 4, 2022. Comments may be submitted via email to publiccomment@vsb.org.

View proposed LEO 1898 (PDF)

 

Posted Mar 25, 2022

Updated: May 31, 2022