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Bitcoin Shakes Up Congress

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Bitcoin is on the map in Congress as this morning as Politico, a leading newspaper and website predominantly read by Capitol Hill Staff Members and Congress published an article entitled, “Congress Starts Looking Into Bitcoin.” What does this mean for the Bitcoin community, Congress and the US Executive Branch? Ideally, Members of Congress and the US Senate will take a closer and more holistic look into how regulators have been handling Bitcoin and will proceed with regulations or lack thereof. While, it would be even more ideal for Bitcoin to have more time to flourish prior to catching the eye of Congress, the Bitcoin community now has a golden opportunity to rise to the occasion and share the truth on the merits, value and utility of Bitcoin, not just as an international currency but also as a symbol of freedom of speech.

The US Senate is now looking to rein in regulators to ensure that Congress has a full understanding of Bitcoin and additional digital cryptocurrencies prior to any further regulation. On the heels of Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) statement in 2011 that Bitcoin is an “online form of money laundering,” members of the US Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee would like to clarify the purposes for and utility of Bitcoin through issuing a report on digital currency. Members of the committee sent letters to several executive agencies requesting disclosure of their virtual currency policies, how these policies have been developed and plans moving forward. As Senator Schumer may be preparing to take on digital currencies including Bitcoin again, some Members of Congress and Senators are working to learn more about this digital, decentralized cryptocurrency prior to any further talk of regulations.

The US Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee’s proactive step can be viewed in a positive light. One promising quote from the committee’s letter reads, “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.” US House and Senate staff members are coming to grips that they may be behind the eight ball in terms of learning about tech friendly issues and advancements before it is too late. After the New York Financial Services Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky sent out subpoenas to 22 Bitcoin related businesses and voiced consideration of further regulations, Members of the US House, Senate and Congressional Staff see a clear need to learn about Bitcoin, a digital currency that has caught the eye of money and now sits at a price of 106 USD/BTC.

It is key for Members of the Bitcoin Community to highlight the US Congress’s choice in the past to give up attempting to crack down on e-commerce and how as a result online businesses have flourished and benefitted not only the US economy but global community. What if Congress had cracked down on development of the internet, e-commerce, etc back in the early 2000’s? Well, you most likely would not be reading this article on your smart phone and Members of Congress, Senators and staff would certainly not be able to follow up to the minute votes and legislative action on their blackberries. This truth must come out. The success of the Bitcoin currency today is just a glimpse of what is to come in terms of expediency and economic growth around the world. Bitcoin Magazine encourages you to learn more about the stand your government is taking towards Bitcoin and the concept of a digital, decentralized, cryptocurrency and from there learn the positions of your local, state and national leaders. It takes one individual to share the validity of the Bitcoin currency and from there open the door to constructive dialogue.

Elizabeth Ploshay

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