Adam Atlas has been advising payments businesses for over ten years. His practice covers all manner of payment systems including credit card processing, ACH, ATM, gift cards and payment cards, along with Bitcoin. Atlas is licensed in New York and in Canada where he is based.
Atlas told us he is “really delighted to be practicing” digital currency law. He first learned about Bitcoin from clients who were using traditional payment processing for their businesses. About four years ago, these clients asked him whether they should incorporate Bitcoin into their businesses, which led him to commence his education on the digital currency.
Today, Atlas is studying the technical aspects of Bitcoin, while writing about the regulation and doing his share of mining. He tells us he does not mine for profit, but rather for an education. Given this experience, he notes he can “speak to his Bitcoin mining clients in their own language”.
At the moment, Atlas is involved in crafting applications for his US clients to become money services businesses under the FinCEN guidance and preparing his clients to apply for a BitLicense in the State of New York, once required.
Atlas is constantly learning – through events, courses, and his clients.
“I have read and worked extensively in the digital currency space,” says Atlas. “I’ve advised entities, from miners to wallets to exchanges … as well as payment processors, storage platforms and, of course, investors. I’ve probably learned as much about Bitcoin from my clients as I have from my other studies of the digital currency.”
Atlas is planning for the future of his practice as entrepreneurs plan and build new businesses. “In a sense, when you think of the business of digital currency,” says Atlas, “and you try to leap forward into the future of what it might be, you see that there’s a lot of it that’s not going to be different from existing payment systems. Think about lending, insurance, processing, storage, and investments: all of these types of business are really nothing new – they’re not new business types, and entrepreneurs are building these same models in digital currency marketplace.”
As novel as your business is, Atlas says, but for the digital currency element, “you’re probably not inventing the wheel. There is a lot that entrepreneurs can learn from existing business models.”
Atlas’s experience in payments over his career, led him to share another piece of advice. “This world attracts unsavory characters, many of which are looking to achieve illegal ends.” He warns clients to be wary of amazing returns within short periods of time and very large volumes of processing with seemingly very little effort. “These are all red flags,” says Atlas. He notes that many early stage digital currency companies are strong in technology and creativity, but naïve as to the true intent of some of the actors in the marketplace.
Atlas suggests that individuals who want to build professional practices related to Bitcoin become familiar with the digital currency from a user’s perspective. He urges them to buy bitcoin, use it to purchase goods, and hold some as an investment. He shared that he has a separate monitor in his office that is on all the time dsiplaying the price of Bitcoin. He follows it hourly.
Professionals should keep their finger on the pulse of the growing section of the economy that is operating in digital currency, says Atlas. They should immerse themselves in that economy.