Yesterday, Monday, 18 November, 2013, the first ever Congressional Hearing on Virtual Currencies was held on Capitol Hill. The discussion consisted of displaying the pros and cons of virtual currencies, most notably of Bitcoin.
The hearing showed more than expected acceptance towards the anonymous cryptocurrency from US officials. The US officials who attended the hearing went as far as calling Bitcoin a “legitimate” financial service. This is quite surprising due to past cases of illegality linked to Bitcoin, such as in Silk Road.
Mythili Raman, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s criminal division said “The Department of Justice recognizes that many virtual currency systems offer legitimate financial services and have the potential to promote more efficient global commerce.”
The conclusion on Bitcoin’s legitimacy was made after Raman stated that US law enforcement agencies have been able to successfully “develop protocols and strategies” to address the crime associated with Bitcoin.
The news of acceptance and approval from US officials help with comprehending the large increase in BTC value seen in the last 24 hours. Yesterday, during the hearing the price jumped from around $477 per BTC to just about $670 late on Monday, and we can see the price still rising.
The hearing held on Monday was attended by only one senator, committee chair Tom Carpe. Today (Tuesday) the Senate Banking Committee hearing will take place to further discuss virtual currencies.
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Virtual currencies, and especially Bitcoin, hold many promises, mostly for their benefits in the ecommerce marketplace. Few technologies have lead to such passionate discussions as Bitcoin and it seems that this kind of official acknowledgments will greatly help the crypto-currency arena recognition as a legitimate and valuable thing.
We will be publishing the conclusions from today’s follow-up Committee hearing, when they are made available.
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