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U.S. Regulators Welcome Bitcoin Foundation to Washington

August 27, 2013 at 23:40 by BitcoinNews

The price of bitcoin continued to rise broadly this week across the largest exchanges. Mt. Gox still offers the highest price, as it catapulted over $10 to a high of $133 on Tuesday, while Bitstamp and BTCe last traded bitcoin at a rate which is still over $10 cheaper, $118.32 and $116.199, respectively.

On Monday, digital payments industry insiders and Bitcoin advocates met with federal regulators from nearly a dozen different agencies in a closed door session in Washington, D.C., reports Brian Fung at the Washington Post. Bitcoin Foundation was represented by Patrick Murck, Brian Klein, Marco Santori, and Peter Vessenes.

Coindesk reports that the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) hosted the meeting at the US treasury building in Washington D.C., and other agencies attending the event included the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Federal Reserve, as well as 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.

Marco Santori, regulatory affairs committee chairman of Seattle-based Bitcoin Foundation, highlighted concerns that over-regulation could entail lost jobs and tax revenue in this high growth area, which many see as the future of payments across the Internet.

Santori’s position with Bitcoin Foundation affords him the opportunity to realize his vision for new regulation in the area of digital currencies. “If the last few months have taught us anything, it is that there will soon exist a new and evolving body of law: The Law of Digital Currency, or, as some would prefer it: Bitcoin Law.”

Leading think tanks were also represented. While regulators seemed particularly concerned with financial crime, such as the recent Ponzi scheme prosecuted by the SEC, Jerry Brito of the Mercatus Center expressed his opinion that concerns over Bitcoin’s use for illicit purposes may have been largely driven by sensationalized media reports. Thus, Brito has downplayed those concerns, as much recent research has done.

Meanwhile, Jim Harper of the Cato Institute thought that bitcoin and other digital currencies operating more freely would lead to a more competitive payments industry. He said, “Right now, it’s $3 to get money out of an ATM… Technology like Bitcoin could change that equilibrium … is doing it in a market-based way rather than a regulatory way.”

Bitcoin Foundation “standardizes, protects and promotes the use of Bitcoin cryptographic money for the benefit of users worldwide.” This week’s meetings have the potential to open doors to a spate of regulators in the U.S. Patrick Murck, one of Bitcoin Foundation’s top lawyers, noted that such a welcoming reception from FinCEN was new, and it included introducing him to the “whole regulatory community.”

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