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London law firm 'accepts payment in bitcoin'

Posted by: Laurence Simons 19/02/14

Who knows what the future will be like? For most of us, it will probably be exactly the same - cripplingly monotonous work for low wages, crowded public transport (albeit on jet buses), unreasonable robot landlords, corporate-subsidised leisure activities to stop us from rioting.

If you're incredibly wealthy, you might get the good stuff - bionic legs, or a floating mansion with an invisible jacuzzi.

One London law firm has done its best to look into the high-tech world to come, though, by accepting much-hyped virtual currency bitcoin as payment.

Sheridans, which provides services to the IT sector, said it had been invited to accept the digital currency by a number of clients, although it still issues its invoices in sterling.

Concerns have been raised over the stability of bitcoin, which so far has mainly been used to buy things on the burgeoning online black market. However, it is beginning to enter the mainstream to some extent, as this not-at-all-an-advertising-gimmick move by Sheridans shows.

Eitan Jankelewitz, an associate solicitor in Sheridans' digital media group, told Legal Futures the firm links up with a payments processing company that converts the currency into good old-fashioned sterling.

Clients making payments do so based on a calculation that is only valid for 15 minutes, which helps off-set any concerns on the fluctuation of the currency's value.

"It wasn't a decision that was made overnight; we considered it in depth and consulted all the relevant members of the partnership," added Mr Jankelewitz.

Nigel Miller, a founding partner of Fox Williams, said caution will be needed when utilising bitcoin for business transactions but admitted that it could become important in the future.

"It shows a direction of travel for digital currencies. I think there is a future for it - not necessarily bitcoin but for some form of electronic currency," he declared.

A recent report by financial services company JPMorgan called bitcoin "vastly inferior" to its real-life counterparts, but they'll be the first against the wall when the robot revolution comes.