On Monday and Tuesday of this week, representatives from the Bitcoin Foundation met successfully met with regulators and Capitol Hill Staff. Without a clear foreshadowing of how successful the series of meetings would be, the outcome was a “smashing success” according to Chair of the Foundation’s Regulator Affairs Committee, Marco Santori who provided a follow-up to the community. Santori explained, “Our message was straightforward: It is critical that the industry and the regulators work together to create a safe and sane regulatory environment for Bitcoin businesses in the United States,” and proceeded to highlight that the Foundation representatives took some tough questions but were pleased that a dialogue was established.
Monday’s meeting with regulators was spearheaded by an invitation to a private conference held by FinCEN in Washington, D.C. Regulators included high-level representatives from FinCEN, IRS, FDIC, Federal Reserve, OCC, FBI, DEA, Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security and more. Foundation attendees included Santori, Patrick Murck, Peter Vessenes, Brian Klein, and Jim Harper. Foundation attendees spoke for an hour on Bitcoin the protocol, bitcoin the currency, regulatory challenges, enforcement and investigation methodologies and took questions. While no final verdict can be reached from this first round of hopefully many meetings, Bitcoin Foundation Chairman, Peter Vessenes, stated in reference to the first round of meetings, “It’s a kickoff of engagement” to hint at more meetings down the road.
Santori also clarified that during the meeting “The Foundation did not endorse any particular investigative or regulatory methods, nor did we lobby for any particular policy position.” Foundation leadership views this first meeting as one to develop a relationship in lieu of pushing for particular policy in the present. As Bitcoin continues to develop, we can hope that this strategy of relationship building will buy time prior to any further regulatory action on behalf of FinCEN and additional regulatory agencies. As the Bitcoin Foundation moves forward in forming relationships with policymakers and regulators, the goal will be for a Bitcoin community-wide consensus before any particular policy preferences are pushed. The Bitcoin Foundation encourages Bitcoin community members to voice their views, concerns, and questions to contribute to the dialogue.
Bitcoin Magazine encourages you to stay up to date on developments. There are many current events to keep track of and the Bitcoin community is only as strong as its active membership base. Please let us know if you have any questions and we will look forward to being of assistance!
Elizabeth serves on the Bitcoin Foundation Board of Directors and as Secretary of the Board. She also serves Account Manager for BitPay, Bitcoin’s lead payment processor where she focuses on bringing charities, political candidates and non profits into the Bitcoin ecosystem. Elizabeth previously served as Director of Operations and Outreach for Bitcoin Magazine and as the Scheduler and Policy Assistant for a US Member of Congress. She has a background in public policy, grassroots activism, and a keen desire to promote decentralization and individual liberties. Elizabeth holds a BA in Political Science from Wheaton College (IL).