Benjamin C. Yablon splits his time between being a lawyer and author of fiction books. His books are known for exploring alternative currencies centering on the moral and ethical implications of futuristic medicine. In this exclusive interview we caught up with Benjamin Yablon to talk about accepting Bitcoins as payment for legal services and being one of 5 practicing Bitcoin Lawyers in the United States.
KP: How did you learn about Bitcoins and why did you decide to accept them for your legal services?
Benjamin Yablon: The decision to accept them was an outgrowth of the two halves of my professional life: I split my time between practicing law and writing fiction. My series of novels, www.PureLifeNovels.com, explore alternative currency aboard a floating hospital. As a lawyer that handles bankruptcy cases, I have watched thousands of clients suffer because of the interest rates that their credit card issuers were legally entitled to charge them.
We pay an astounding 30% extra for the consumer purchases that we put on credit cards. In a single year, that amounts to trillions of dollars. Bitcoin offers a new way. Your example of the six million dollar transaction that was done in bitcoin which resulted in a six cent fee illustrates my desire to get involved perfectly.
I’m fascinated by crypto-currency and I want to help people understand that there is a better way. Banks, not consumers, have so far reaped the benefits of the technological revolution. Online banking has allowed our banks to eliminate costs in the form of employee wages. They have been able to replace workers in every part of their business models with automated systems. But do we see lower fees as a result? Absolutely not.
Don’t misunderstand me. I support a company’s right to make a profit. But the same technological tools that have allowed banks to make unheard of profits are now available to the average consumer. The same encryption tools that the banks themselves use to protect online transactions are used by crypto-currencies like Bitcoin.
KP: Where would you recommend consumer go to learn more about Bitcoins?
Benjamin Yablon: Bitcoin.org is the semi-official website. Also, an organization called the Bitcoin Foundation provides advocacy and information on Bitcoin. They are the closest thing the payment technology has to an official voice. A man named Gavin Andresen, who is currently the project's lead developer, was a close associate with the anonymous developer that created the Bitcoin source code. Andresen now works under the auspices of the Bitcoin Foundation.
KP: Why did you make the decision to practice Bitcoin Law?
Benjamin Yablon: Bottom line, there are many resources out there, but it is up to the individual to sift through them for reliable information. That is a big part of why I’ve moved my practice toward the Bitcoin space. I am happy to answer any consumer and or business questions about Bitcoin. There are businesses that want to accept bitcoin, and there are payment businesses that want to enter into the bitcoin and crypto-currency economy in general. I can help both.
KP: Is wallet set up different for personal use verses business use?
Benjamin Yablon: Yes, the set up I recommend is different for consumer versus business use. When you are dealing with a business that wants to accept bitcoin, you need to have added layers of security in terms of how the wallet is legally held.
KP: What is the first thing a business should do if they want to accept bitcoins? What protections would you recommend to any company wanting to set their business up to accept bitcoins?
Benjamin Yablon: You might think that the first thing you want to do is create a bitcoin wallet. This is partially true, but I think some real thought needs to go into how you plan to use it. You may want to create a test wallet in your own name and start using it for practice. For the actual business wallet, a more detailed process should be considered. A strategy I’m putting together for clients involves creating a new legal entity under which to register the businesses bitcoin wallet.
KP: Are there any protections for businesses or consumers? Do you see this as a hindrance to their adoption?
Benjamin Yablon: Once a transaction has been consummated, it cannot be undone without the consent of both parties. Bitcoin is truly a buyer beware currency. It is most akin to spending cash. You need to know what you are buying and trust the seller. Bitcoin itself is an open source platform, meaning that the software code that makes it run is completely open to the public. It can be reviewed and audited by anyone at any time. All transactions made in bitcoin are also open to the public in what is known as the Blockchain.
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