[heading]Bitcoin Foundation Meets With Regulators Across US Government Offices[/heading]
With increasing amounts of pressure being put on the decentralized virtual currency Bitcoin, representatives of the Bitcoin Foundation – a California based nonprofit – have organized an event bringing them together with officials across governmental bodies, from the Federal Reserve to the IRS.
“Look guys, Mr. Federal Reserve, Mr. IRS, let’s be honest….how many users will ACTUALLY be using VPN?”
The Bitcoin Foundation began a series of “educational meetings” August 26 with politicians, regulators, law enforcement officials and federal agencies including the Homeland Security, Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service, Federal Reserve and Federal Bureau of Investigation
The message brought forth by the Foundation pains Bitcoin as a proven and useful tool, and that the US will suffer competitively if the currency becomes illegal or too onerous to use under American law.
A division of the Treasury Department announced that certain Bitcoin businesses must register with the federal government, a requirement the Foundation says would be crippling for most startups.
“The federal government has taken an active interest in understanding Bitcoin,” says Marco Santori, chairman of the Foundation’s Regulatory Affairs Committee. “As such, the goal of these initial meetings is education about the Bitcoin protocol specifically and distributed finance in general. The Foundation is committed to establishing itself as the first resource for government policymakers.”
The Bitcoin economy is now larger than $1.4 billion. That economy includes everything from sales of alpaca socks, computer equipment, services, illegal drugs and trading currency itself. Bitcoin is the first virtual currency, let alone decentralized virtual currency, to achieve this rate of adoption.
FinCEN, a Treasury agency issued guidance about how US law affects Bitcoin, is hosting the summit. The agency has been in talks with the Foundation for months to organize the event.
The event will include high-level representatives from FinCEN, Internal Revenue Service, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Secret Service, and the Department of Homeland Security.
The Foundation will also be meeting with legislators on Capitol Hill separately tomorrow.
The Foundation is sending four representatives: Santori, general counsel Patrick Murck, Legal Defense Committee chairman Brian Klein, and board chairman Peter Vessenes. Jim Harper, Cato Institute Scholar, will also attend on behalf of the Foundation.
This is not the first time the Foundation have been on the Hill, as Murck has travelled quarterly to Washington regularly to talk with politicians and regulators. This afternoons’ conference is the start of a more formal relationship.
“Our hope is that this is the beginning of an open and transparent dialogue between good-faith stakeholders to find common-ground and develop public-private partnerships,” Murck says.
Also attending will be representatives from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security.