In the conclusion of this fascinating interview Benjamin C. Yablon explains how to use bitcoins and the benefits for all consumers on a local and worldwide basis
KP: Can regular consumers accept Bitcoins for payment? Example, items for sale on craigslist or at a garage sale?
Benjamin Yablon: Yes, they can be used just like cash. You make a payment from your wallet to the sellers wallet using a few simple steps.
KP: What do you recommend for consumers to do to keep their wallet safe?
Benjamin Yablon: At a minimum you should store them offline. Do not leave your wallet on a computer that is attached to the internet. If you are dealing with a significant amount of coin, you should consider using a “cold storage” service, like the one I offer, which not only provides highly stable storage but also offers to insure the value of your coins.
KP: What do you see as the biggest benefit for consumers?
Benjamin Yablon: Again, the lack of transaction fees is a major benefit. Also, the fact that Bitcoins are nearly impossible to seize if you can’t located the physical wallet. For law abiding American’s this is not a big deal. But for people in countries with unstable or corrupt governments, this is a game changing benefit. In places like Venezuela the government seizes the bank accounts of political dissidents with impunity. With Bitcoin this is impossible unless you know where the physical wallet is stored.
KP: How do you see Bitcoin affecting everyday people?
Benjamin Yablon: It gives people more payment options. It also provides a nearly transaction free payments option. The crowdfunding opportunities from places like Kickstarter (which as of yet is not taking bitcoin but will soon) are amazing. For people that need to wire money to other countries, Bitcoin is a terrific tool. The cost is the same to send Bitcoin to a person across town to buy their used car or to send it to a family member in another country. Western Union makes billions on its money transmission services for no good reason. It’s not like they are physically transferring anything anymore. They are using the same mathematical principals and algorithms that Bitcoin transfers use. It was really only a matter of time before something like Bitcoin erupted on the scene.
KP: Can you assist businesses and consumers with setting up their bitcoin wallets?
Benjamin Yablon: Business and consumer clients can pick and choose from a few different services. My typical services include the set up of a bitcoin wallet on my clients laptop and smart phone, linking of bank accounts through a coin exchange, a hosted tutorial of how to use bitcoin, an explanation of bitcoin basics (what it is, how its ‘mined’), the establishment of a mining contract, and cold storage of bitcoin wallets. For business my clients I also offer advice and guidance on the specifics of corporate structure, taxation, and capitalization.
KP: Are there other lawyers, that you are aware of, practicing this Bitcoin law?
Benjamin Yablon: To the best of my knowledge I am one of five lawyers in the country practicing Bitcoin law.
KP: How do you see Bitcoin affecting the world economic climate?
Benjamin Yablon: For people in third world countries the potential benefits are staggering. Somalia has not had a central government since 1991. Without a government you can’t possibly have a stable currency. Bitcoin is poised to fill the vacuum in Somalia and other improvised nations for one simple reason: cell phones. All you need to have a bitcoin wallet is a cell phone. According to the World Bank, Africa is now home to 650 million cell phone subscribers, more than both the US and the EU. Africa essentially went from having no phones at all to having hundreds of millions of cell phones. With a currency like Bitcoin Africa could experience the same kind of massive leap forward. When viewed through the lens of the world financial picture, the adoption of Bitcoin by American consumers begins to seem like a moral imperative.
Crypto-currencies, like Bitcoin, are changing the financial paradigm by altering the way we view and interact with money. As adoption becomes more wide spread it seems crypto-currencies are poised to affect every transaction of exchange we conduct throughout the world.
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