‘It’s [Bitcoin] something that’s going to be with us.’ This is the statement of a committee aide to emphasize that Bitcoin is not ‘a technology that’s going away’ as well as ‘flash in the pan’. Hence, reinforces the move of a Senate Committee for pressing federal regulators as well as law enforcement officials to elucidate on how they plan to view the future of virtual currencies, mainly Bitcoin.
The role of these digital currencies in the future has been gaining the increasing attention as well as concerns of government officials. Hence, as an action, last Monday, August 12, 2013, the Senate Homeland and Security as well as Government Affairs Committee sent letters to several agencies to request for disclosure of their policies on virtual currency, how these agencies developed them, how they are coordinating and certainly, their plans for the future of these virtual coins.
The Homeland Security Department, Justice Department, Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Securities and Exchange commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, as well as the Office of the Management and Budget are the specific agencies that Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del) and ranking member Tom Coburn (R-Okla) have written letters to; therefore, ask information on variety of digital currency, giving Bitcoin as an example.
Furthermore, many regulators are expected to state their views publicly on whether these digital currencies need better oversight. In addition with the letters sent would compel them to this topic their most comprehensive assessments.
The committee is putting this four-year-old, $1.2 billion Bitcoin market place under a magnifying lens for a closer examination. With this, emerging government concerns will be thoroughly viewed such as tax evasion, money laundering as well as investment products. Transparency is their foremost concern to avoid the concerns mentioned. Since bitcoins are anonymous, the identity of the bitcoin users are not always disclosed though their transactions are made public and retained.
The interests of the Senate committee trails a bustle of activities related to Bitcoins this year at the state, federal level, and in the courts. Registration and compliance requirements from Treasury Department are the most immediate regulatory obstacle for Bitcoin Businesses.
Last week, subpoenas were sent to 22 Bitcoin businesses by Benjamin Lawsky, the New York Financial Services Superintendent. In a follow-up memo, he stated that they are considering whether to issue a new set of ‘regulatory guidelines’ for these digital currencies that applying the existing rules for money transmissions.
With this, Patrick Murck, Bitcoin Foundation general counsel stated that, “I’m thrilled, in a way that Carper’s committee is stepping up […]. The actions that New York State took today just demonstrated the need for oversight of regulators in this space.”
Furthermore, he also emphasized that, “Regulatory uncertainty right now is the bottleneck for innovation in this space.” Hence, hopefully, this uncertainty will soon lead to certain regulations in the U.S. for the future of these virtual currencies.