Cryptocurrency in business ethnics
Kevin Werbach, Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics, is the faculty of emerging blockchain-based systems, cryptocurrencies, and digital assets. Cryptocurrencies are similar to other ACs in the way that they challenge First, plenty of authors in business ethics have described how. Journal of Business Ethics: JBE; Dordrecht Vol. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, SETLcoin, Ether, Solar Coin, or Liberty Reserve exist since HONIGSTEIN BETTING PREVIEW
The rise and fall of cryptocurrency prices has not deterred interest in the technology or the space, but is leading to every more practical, accessible and useful applications of blockchain technology. This course uses several case studies to illustrate the audit and ethical considerations in the newly emerging sector. Few accountants and auditors are conversant with cryptocurrency technology and this course is designed to improve your level of awareness and deepen your understanding of issues associated with issuing an audit opinion for clients in this space.
He shares stories of his successes, failures, and lessons learned to all those who share a passion for further developing their own financial leadership qualities. His focus is on defining and developing a career path for financial professionals aspiring to the Office of the CFO and the Board of Directors.
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Over cryptocurrencies have emerged in the last decade Taskinsoy. Bitcoin being the most well-known. Several years since its inception, Bitcoin remains a nascent payment system. Traditional economists continue to find the concept difficult to grasp Taskinsoy. Yet, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin pose a challenge to the current economic order.
Figure 1: Comparing Bank Transfers and Bitcoin Some scholars see cryptocurrencies as a potential disruption to the established financial system. The other side of the debate deems this notion presumptuous. Cryptocurrencies are both highly volatile and far too unstable to be a dominant payment system.
Therefore, cryptocurrencies remain largely an investment asset. Many are concerned about significant ethical issues as cryptocurrencies increase in prominence and popularity. A few months later, one of the most prolific supporters of cryptocurrencies surprised investors when he tweeted that Tesla would suspend purchases of its vehicles through Bitcoin. Musk cited environmental concerns as the reason behind his sudden decision.
Recently, the Chinese government summoned officials of major banks to reiterate a ban on cryptocurrency services. Both China and Elon Musk have previously been significant supporters of cryptocurrencies. But their U-turns raises major ethical concerns about digital currency. Bitcoin is the preferred method of payment for criminal activity.
Thus, are cryptocurrencies ethical? Answering this question is akin to examining whether a knife is an ethical utensil or not. The object or the digital currency in itself is not the problem. The ethics lies in but how it is used. On the one hand, cryptocurrencies raise significant legal and environmental concerns. On the other, they provide tremendous benefits for the Global South. Bitcoin provides migrant workers from the developing world with an innovative medium of transferring remittances.
Remittances are the funds migrant workers send to relatives in their home countries. The estimated average price is 10 per cent of transactions Beck and Peria. Remittances prices have a consequential effect on funds available for both migrants and their families. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are a novel solution to this problem. Figure 2 shows from remittance costs have steadily decreased. However, the costs of remittances vary significantly depending on the region.
For example, the cost had substantially decreased from 6. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most expensive corridor for remittances. Bitcoin can help improve financial inclusion in low-income and middle-income countries. It provides an alternative for impoverished households with access to limited financial services. Despite these benefits, many issues obstruct cryptocurrencies from being the primary method of transferring funds across borders.
Some developing countries lack the digital infrastructure to support cryptocurrency payments. Several countries do not accept Bitcoin. India encouraged its citizens not to use Bitcoin. The Bank of Thailand asked financial institutions not to engage in cryptocurrency transactions. Both Iran and Nepal officially banned cryptocurrencies. The lack of uniformity can negatively impact vulnerable people in the poorest regions of the world who rely on cryptocurrencies to send funds to their home countries.
The banning of Bitcoin is driven by ethical issues surrounding Bitcoin being the favoured payment method for criminals. Users have reported their Bitcoins stolen due to hacking. Cryptocurrencies pose significant ethical challenges in regards to their use in illicit activities. However, the ethics concerns arise from the lack of regulations, not from blockchain technology per se. Remittances and Development There are various definitions of remittances.
The International Organisation for Migration sees remittances as a personal money transfer from migrant workers to their families in their home countries. Figure 4: Population, migrants, remittances and past decade growth rates Remittances are a significant form of income for many low-income households in low and middle-income countries.
Figure 5: International Capital Flows to Africa A study conducted by the World Bank in found that recorded remittances grew significantly faster than FDI or development assistance. In , remittance flows in low and middle-income countries increased by an estimated 8. The funds drive economic growth and help finance investment in developing countries.
They also raise household income and lead to higher levels of consumption. They have a multiplier effect on aggregate demand and output. Remittances are a preferable means of reducing poverty over development loans. Loans come with liability and obligations, while remittances do not Pradhan et al. For these reasons, multilateral institutions such as the World Bank, IMF, and the UN are eager to encourage remittances and reduce costs. Clearly, higher costs reduce the money that relatives of migrant workers can receive from transferred funds.
Banks are arguably the most secure form of transferring remittances. Banks can guarantee transfers will successfully cross-borders. Therefore transfer fails are extremely unlikely. However, in rare circumstances where the transfer does fail customers can be reimbursed Metzger et al. But banks are also the most expensive method for funds transfers. On average customers pay Post offices are cheaper costing 7.
Bitcoin is significantly cheaper at a rate of less than 0. Zulhuda and Sayuti. Figure 7: Remittances costs and volume There are several reasons why banks and other non-digital currencies have substantially higher remittance costs. The lack of financial infrastructure is a contributing factor to high remittance costs. Cash-based transactions demand at the first mile and the last mile of remittance delivery also plays a critical role in costs.
A considerable amount of funds are used for consumption purposes rather than savings or investment. The lack of financial services drives the popularity of cash-to-cash practices over cash-to-account. A migrant worker hands the cash over to a money transfer operator.
Her relatives receive the funds in cash as they do not possess a bank account. Regulatory compliance is another contributing factor. However, this increase in compliance costs has increased the loss of money transfer operators. The increase in regulatory standards has led to many banks cutting ties with money transfer operators.
This phenomenon is known as de-risking. Companies incur regulatory costs from registration requirements designed to deter fraudulent practices. The lack of uniformity regarding registration requirements among countries has led to cost increases. Driven by technological innovations such as digital currencies entering the international money transfer markets, the cost of remittances has been decreasing. While the average MTO and bank remittance costs from to were static and Post Office costs increased, overall average costs decreased World Bank Group b due to newcomers entering the market.
The latter usually follow a strategy of low costs to enter the market and offer the customer an affordable alternative to bank channels. So, this piece addresses what the author believes would be a common-sense approach to addressing a situation that is perhaps ahead of even the recently revised Rules of Professional Conduct. Cryptocurrency has been around at least since , when Bitcoin first released its open-source software. Since then, over 4, alternative cryptocurrencies have emerged.
It is transferred using blockchain technology. That means that each unit has a provenance encoded so that the names of each registered owner may be traced back to when the coin was initially mined or otherwise offered. For example, it concluded that, to ensure that the fee charged remains reasonable, lawyers should mitigate the risk of volatility and possible unconscionable overpayment for services by 1 notifying the client that they will not retain the digital currency units, but instead will convert them into U.
Authors of the opinion noted that, since cryptocurrency is property rather than actual currency, it cannot be deposited into a client trust account. For that reason, it makes sense to explore how the matter might be treated in our state. Payment in General Rule of Professional Conduct 1. Given the acknowledged volatility of cryptocurrency valuation against the U.
Dollar, the most likely question to arise is when to assess whether the fees is unconscionable. On the one hand, it could refer to whether the liquidated value of the fee could be affected by later events. In the context of payment through cryptocurrency, that could mean that lawyers must consider market fluctuations that occur during the representation, and before accepting the payment that the lawyer and client agreed to at the beginning of the representation.
On the other hand, the concluding clause could simply refer to what the lawyer receives from the client could be affected by later events. Such an interpretation would mean that the conscionability analysis would properly take place after the engagement agreement where the amount of cryptocurrency could fluctuate i. The Nebraska opinion impliedly adopts the first point of view. To safeguard against this, Nebraska lawyers have been advised to convert the cryptocurrency upon receipt to US dollars.
So long as the client consents, that appears to be a conservative and safe approach to handling the matter. And it would also make the handling of the funds much simpler, since they could be placed in a traditional client trust account, something discussed in more detail below. But it is unclear that such a step is necessary.
As a preliminary matter, there does not appear to be such a restriction on any other form of payment. That is, if a client wanted to pay in foreign currency, with stock, or through cases of wine, there would not be an assessment later on whether the fee makes sense simply because the market for the form of payment may change over the course of the representation. Ultimately, payment through such a form should be a business decision, not an ethical one, where an informed client and lawyer agree to shift the risk of loss or gain to the lawyer.
A contrary view, that we can only evaluate the conscionability of cryptocurrency at the time it is earned as opposed to the time of contracting, may reflect a reluctance to acknowledge that there are currencies other than the U. Dollar and that valuation need not be based on a single monetary system, simply because it has been around the longest.
If a client agrees to a flat fee of, for example, coins at the beginning of a representation, then there is a good reason to assess whether coins was a fair fee amount at the beginning of the representation. Advance Fees Let us assume that a lawyer has agreed that the client may pay for fees with cryptocurrency.
And, since the lawyer believes that collections work is not fun, she requests a retainer. The client is willing to do so, but, since payment is to be made in cryptocurrency, the client asks what needs to be done. Rule of Professional Conduct 1. It provides that all funds received or held by a lawyer must be deposited in a trust account.
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