updated 12:19 pm EDT, Sat July 12, 2014
Feds lean against Bitcoin, task may be monumental
The Bitcoin Foundation has launched an initiative to educate the US government on cryptocurrencies. The advocacy group has retained the Thorsen French Agency to "introduce Bitcoin and the foundation to Capitol Hill offices, demystify our favorite protocol, explain its benefits, and show that there is a community of serious, thoughtful people and businesses working to deliver those benefits to the United States and the world."
Thorsen French Advocacy is a boutique federal advocacy and strategic consulting firm. The two partners, Alec French and Carl Thorsen, are a bipartisan team with a collective 30 years of federal policy experience. The pair list media congolomerate Comcast/NBC, drug manufactuer AstraZeneca, The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and ASCAP, among others, as clients.
The move is intended to show the government that "Bitcoin doesn't need government's permission" to operate. However, governmental decisions, informed or not, can greatly alter the pricing of the volatile currency. Theoretically, informed lawmakers can make smart decisions about the currency, preventing decisions made from lack of information or simple lawmaker fear.
The hire may have a rough road to travel. The US Security and Exchange Commission has issued a series of warnings for potential investors to be alert to risks of the virtual currency. Offering a long list to support their alert, the SEC draws references to a Ponzi scheme nature of the currency, the probability of fraud, and what the lack of regulation means to US investors. Also, a division of the Department of Defense is investigating cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, for possible links to crime and terrorism activities.
Optimistically, the post announcing the hire says that "our methodical work will continue to build Bitcoin's reputation and the foundation's credibility in Washington, DC. We'll deploy the good will we build opportunistically -- to quell any moves against Bitcoin and to support law and policy changes that best advance the Bitcoin community's interests and the Bitcoin ecosystem's development."