Bitcoin Foundation meets US lawmakers

Bitcoin Foundation meets US lawmakers

Bitcoin Foundation representatives met with a host of US law enforcement agencies and regulators in Washington yesterday to discuss oversight of the digital currency.

The bitcoin lobbyists gave a presentation to a group including the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), FBI, IRS, Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Secret Service.

Bitcoin has come under heavy scrutiny in the US during the last few months as lawmakers struggle to catch up with the nascent currency and bring it under their supervision.

Earlier this year FinCEN ruled that trading exchanges are money services businesses subject to laundering laws. Since then the New York State Department of Financial Services has sent out subpoenas to 22 bitcoin-related firms and the US Senate's committee on homeland security has launched an inquiry.

In response, the bitcoin world - which has traditionally prided its role as an outsider, separate from the regulated economy - has decided to engage with government.

Patrick Murck, general counsel, Bitcoin Foundation, told the Guardian that yesterday's meeting was designed to "help regulators, policymakers and law enforcement officials better understand the Bitcoin protocol and distributed finance so they can make better decisions and develop new methodologies for identifying and interceding illicit activity.

"Bitcoin and distributed finance is here to stay and our preferred path forward is a co-operative one, where we all can help ease each other's transition into an inclusive and distributed global financial system."

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