After subpoenas, Bitcoin companies start lobbying Washington

Less than one month after regulators in New York issued subpoenas to major companies involved with the Bitcoin digital currency, representatives for the emerging crypto-cash are launching a counter-campaign in Washington, DC.

A trade group representing the interests of the Bitcoin community
is expected to meet in the United States capital on Monday with
representatives from no fewer than seven governmental agencies
including the Federal Reserve and Department of Homeland
Security.

The Bitcoin Foundation, a group developed to advocate for the
standardization, protection and promotion of the cryptocurrency,
will make a presentation before representatives for a number of
United States government agencies this week and then will field
questions in order to help the the feds better understand how
Bitcoin is being implemented by those looking for an alternative
mean of buying and selling goods and services.

The meetings in DC come just two weeks after the New York Department of
Financial Services served papers to Coinbase Inc, BitInstant and
Coinsetter for information on antimoney laundering programs,
consumer protection measures and investment strategies, the Wall
Street Journal reported. At the time, Coinsetter CEO Jaron
Lukasiewicz said the event provided “an opportunity for
companies in our space to open up a much needed dialogue with
regulators
,” which will wage on in Washington this week
between other members of the Bitcoin community and federal reps.

Introduced in 2009, Bitcoin has expanded in popularity in recent
years as a way of doing business on the Web that provides strong
anonymity by means of heavy encryption. According to the most
recent estimates, the economy supported by Bitcoin is now at more
than $1.4 billion and looks to be only growing. Should the
government move forward with regulating the currency, however,
the foundation and other Bitcoin advocates fear the repercussions
will be disastrous.

The federal government has taken an active interest in
understanding Bitcoin
,” Marco Santori, chairman of the
foundation’s regulatory affairs committee, told The Verge. “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
.”

And as some federal agents explore that interest with meetings on
the Hill this week with the foundation’s major players, others
are going another route. Earlier this month, the US Senate
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs sent a
letter to the DHS asking homeland security to identify just
exactly what it plans to do about Bitcoin, warning that “near
anonymous and decentralized nature has also attracted criminals
who value few things more than being allowed to operate in the
shadows
.”

As with all emerging technologies; the federal government
must make sure that potential threats and risks are dealt with
swiftly; however, we must also ensure that rash or uninformed
actions don’t stifle a potentially valuable technology
,”
Committee Chairman Thomas Carper and Ranking Member Tom Coburn
said in the letter to DHS Sec. Janet Napolitano.

In addition to the Fed and the IRS, representatives from the
Treasury Department, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Office of
the Comptroller of the Currency, Internal Revenue Service,
Federal Bureau of Investigation and Secret Service are all slated
to meet with the foundation this week, according to the Wall
Street Journal.

Patrick Murck, general counsel for the foundation, told the
Journal’s Robin Sidel that his group hopes the opportunity to
meet with federal officials will help both sides “move forward
to the same safe regulatory environment
.”

We understand there are specific challenges that go along
with Bitcoin and there is a lot of potential and we want to work
with them to chart a safe course
,” he said.

Four representatives for the foundation will take part in the
talks, including Murck, Santori, legal defense committee chairman
Brian Klein and board chairman Peter Vessenes. Following a
meeting with federal agencies on Monday, the four representatives
plan to meet with lawmakers on the Hill to brief them on all
things Bitcoin.

Republished from: RT