Friday, January 31, 2014

The US Government Closes In On Bitcoin, And Some Bitcoiners Are Smiling

New York officials are ready to regulate Bitcoin. Barry Silbert, Founder & CEO of SecondMarket and Jeremy Liew, Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners. Photos via Daniel Stuckey/Motherboard
US regulators pushed forward this week in their quest to control the cryptocurrency that theoretically cannot be controlled.

Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin Lawsky​, who leads the initiative in New York, kicked off the city’s first public hearings regarding virtual currency regulation, in a two-day event that concluded on Wednesday.

The hearings, according to Lawsky, emerged after an “extensive inquiry into virtual currency” over six months that involved countless dozens of meetings with industry participants, academics, and law enforcement agents. The goal of this “fact-finding effort,” said Lawsky, is to “put forward during the course of 2014 a proposed regulatory framework for virtual currency firms operating in New York,” the “first state in the nation to do that.” It's assumed that other states will follow suit.

In other words, it’s time for Bitcoiners to follow the rules.

The open discussions of Bitcoin’s regulatory future, which were streamed online (you can watch the recordings here), represent the ongoing evolution of an underground hacker pipedream into a bonafide technological movement; one that has attracted the titans of Silicon Valley—many of whom spoke as witnesses during the hearings—like Jeremy Liew, of prominent VC firm Lightspeed Ventures, and Fred Wilson, an early investor in Twitter.

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