Category: Commercial & Business

Bitcoin and the Law: What does this mean for you?

You may have seen the recent news that Stanley & Co will now be accepting Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, as a method of payment for our legal services. But what exactly is Bitcoin? How can it be useful to you? Hopefully this article can help shed some light on the advent of Bitcoin and its relationship with the legal profession.

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is one form of ‘cryptocurrency’, a type of currency that is decentralised from any central bank or administrator. Cryptocurrencies are digital currency and work with encryptions to provide security and scarcity. They can be purchased, through a public distributed ledger, and then exchanged for products, services and even other currencies. Their value, like other currencies, can vary depending on use and demand.

Cryptocurrency in Australia

As of July 2017, the Australian Government confirmed in their budget summary, that Bitcoin will be treated “just like money”, preventing double taxation. The Australian Tax Office have since released general guides on how and when Bitcoin can be used, and taxed. The law is certainly ‘playing catch-up’ to the crypto-market, but there are regulations and proposed laws being discussed at every term. As the regulation grows, Bitcoin will become more popular and normalised for every day transactions. As Bitcoins origins came from the ‘dark-web’ and its original users enjoyed its lack of regulation or centralisation, this change may not please everybody. However, even with regulation, it still remains detached from any singular Government body or Authority. If you are unsure of how and when to use Bitcoin, Stanley & Co can advise you on the potential pitfalls of using cryptocurrency.

Why should you use Bitcoin?

Much of Bitcoin’s popularity can be attributed to its steady rise in value. Since its introduction in 2011, people’s investments have risen exponentially. It has been, in this sense, akin to an incredibly stable stock investment, with more practical use in purchasing services. For the consumer, buying Bitcoin at a low price and paying for their goods and services yields a net profit as they have potentially paid less than what they would have with Australian Dollars. For businesses, the opposite is true, and once they have had enough customers use Bitcoin as payment, they will have hopefully built a steady Bitcoin portfolio.

 

If you are looking for advice regarding cryptocurrencies, or interested in a firm willing to accept yours as payment for services, contact Stanley & Co Lawyers today.


As a business, how should I collect the debts?

Act immediately. In our experience, the faster the debt is acted upon, the better the result.  

Our initial consultation will explore what service would best suit your needs. Different clients have different needs.   

We can also help you to find your missing debtor. Our trace experts utilize the latest cutting edge technologies to develop leads on your debtor’s whereabouts.  

 How will my debt be collected? 

 We offer ‘5 levels’ of service: 

  • Non-legal – we will issue Final Demand Letters; make contact with the debtor, negotiate on your behalf where a repayment agreement is required 
  • Legal – when all other options are exhausted, we will start the court process by issuing a claim through the appropriate court 
  • Defended – if the debtor defends the claim, we will build your case and represent you at trial if the matter has not settled beforehand 
  • Undefended – if the debtor does not respond or defend the claim, we will apply for judgement in your favour 
  • Enforcement – once a judgement has been achieved in the court, we will enforce the judgement. This can be accomplished in the following ways: 
  • Examination Hearing 
  • Charging Order 
  • Garnishee Order 
  • Issue winding up notice/bankruptcy proceedings 

Where possible, we ask that you provide us several pieces of information. The more information we have, the higher the chances of a quick turnaround: 

  • Contact details of the debtor; 
  • Copies of written agreements;  
  • Invoices; 
  • Terms and conditions; 
  • Correspondence; and any 
  • Director’s guarantee. 

 Facts that may help you 

 If the debt can’t be collected… 

If you obtain judgment over the debt with the courts, that judgment will remain active for 6 years. A debtor will have to pay the debt to remove the judgment and try to clean up his or her credit history. 

We have had many occasions when a debtor will call the creditor 4 or 5 years later offering to pay the debt so that he can go ahead and obtain finance over a vehicle, for example.  

When should I call a lawyer? 

 We recommended that you call a lawyer when: 

  • Your customer exceeds your credit terms and you have contacted them more than 3 times 
  • You have invoices owing for 90 days and have had no response or payment; and 
  • Your customer(s) are refusing to pay your account and they have exceeded your credit terms.  

 What are our fees and who pays for them? 

We will provide you with a personal fixed fee agreement to recover your debt. 

If you have terms and conditions in place with your customer, which states they are to pay any debt recovery or legal fees in the event of non-payment, we will recover these fees too, where possible. 

Legal action fees are mostly recoverable however they are charged to you first and all recoverable costs are collected from the debtor (plus any interest).  

If you are in need of legal assistance, please contact us on 08 7132 5636 to seek advice from our experienced Adelaide lawyers.