Bitcoin Gains Political Strength in Capitol
The investors of the virtual currency bitcoin are increasing the presence in Washington with the hope that the emerging payment system can be shaped by government oversight. The Bitcoin Foundation is the leading new technology trade organization. The organization reached a new stage in their development; they announced Wednesday, July 9th that for the first time they gained a lobbying firm. This effort has been building since last year when a number of federal agencies started looking into bitcoin.
Led by two former bipartisan congressional staffers, a firm called Thorsen French Advocacy was hired by the foundation. This came at a time when the group was trying to affect multiple policy decision; hiring the firm was a display of their yearning to obtain support on Capitol Hill.
When Bitcoin announced the hiring decision to reporters, their counsel for global policy, Jim Harper said that the role of the lobbyist will be to create “a reservoir of goodwill that we can deploy when we need to avert a crisis. The best work will head off problems before they become an interesting day sting to all of you.”
Bitcoin revolutionized with their technology the way money could be traded online, stimulating several startups and Silicon Valley investments. The online payment system, Bitcoin, was first introduced in 2009, permitting users to trade digital “coins” online for products or exchange for any physical currency.
Though the Bitcoin technology has paved the way for online commerce made easier, the Bitcoin group itself mostly depends on decisions made in Washington. If the government continues to place more regulations and tax charges for the bitcoin company, they would be forced to raise their rates and lose customers to less costly money transferring options.
There have been several ups and downs in biotin’s dealings with Washington. In 2011 biotin began receiving attention in the capital by N.Y. Senator Chuck Schumer, as well as from spreading rumors about the fueling of an online black market.
Charles Shrem, the former vice chairman for the Biotin’s Foundation, pleaded not guilty to charges of money laundering and crimes connected with Silk Road, a black market. In 2012, Shrem was one of the founding board members of the Bitcoin Foundation with the aim to standardize and promote Bitcoin. He resigned from his position of vice chairman after an arrest on January 26th, 2014.
A number of actions by government agencies could help legitimize bitcoin, but will also increase their costs. If bitcoin can promote a more efficient system of global payments then according to last year’s words of former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and other officials, bitcoin would be promising. Unfortunately, in February a popular bitcoin marketplace and later allegations of consumer fraud led to rebukes and regulatory scrutiny. Also, Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.V.) called to ban bitcoin.