After the United States Senate committee had the chance of getting to know Bitcoin during two hearings held in Washington DC, what can be said about the future of cryptocurrency? Well, it depends who is answering the question, although a lot of authorities seem to be open to the benefits of Bitcoin.
On Monday (18), the day of the first hearing – entitled “Beyond Silk Road: potential risks, threats, and promises of virtual currencies” -, the words “legitimate financial services” were actually thrown at cryptocurrency, making Bitcoin’s value soar to the sky. That day, the digital currency rose to $750 on the exchange Mt. Gox, which means a growth of more than 100 percent in just a week, according to Bloomberg.
These meetings come after the Department for Homeland Security (DHS) received a letter from the committee that oversees the DHS in August asking for information, plans and strategies regarding cryptocurrency. These are some opinions made public by different representatives before, during and after the hearings.
These hearings mean Bitcoin is finally coming into its own; it’s a real thing and it’s not going anywhere and these hearings highlight that.
Jerry Brito, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center, George Mason University
Although the Federal Reserve generally monitors developments in virtual currencies and other payments system innovations, it does not necessarily have authority to directly supervise or regulate these innovations or the entities that provide them to the market. (…) [Bitcoin] may hold long-term promise, particularly if the innovations promote a faster, more secure, and more efficient payment system.
Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve
I myself and many in the industry are actually in support of government regulation in this field. We want to work with the government proactively to recommend the right regulation approach for Bitcoin and Bitcoin companies. At the most basic level, government should try to clarify the necessary licenses for operating Bitcoin exchanges.
Bobby Lee, CEO of BtcChina
The Department of Justice recognizes that many virtual currency systems offer legitimate financial services and have the potential to promote more efficient global commerce. (…) We are nimble enough and aggressive enough to be able to combat the threat. We are up to the challenge.
Mythili Raman, Justice Department’s criminal division
In order for Bitcoin to flourish it is imperative its susceptibility to illicit uses be addressed.
Senator Chuck Schumer
The CEO of the payment processing platform BitPay, Tony Gallippi, was one of the experts that testified this Tuesday (19), during the second hearing entitled “The Present and Future Impact of Virtual Currency”. He highlighted Bitcoin’s role in the growing North-American economy, talking before the Subcommittee on National Security and International Trade and Finance and the Subcommittee on Economic Policy of the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.
According to a press release, Gallippi explained how Bitcoins allow small to medium-sized companies to reach more customers by opening new markets around the world that were previously unreachable.
Credit cards were never designed for the internet and credit card fees are discriminatory, the highest fees are paid by the smallest businesses. If you are a business owner, it is your fault that you took a stolen credit card, even if the bank approved it. Bitcoin is a cheaper, faster and more secure payment system, with no discrimination against smaller businesses.
Meanwhile, after breaking the $1,000 barrier in BtcChina and instead of crashing according to several predictions, Bitcoin’s price has been slowly deflating. However, the value is still high, floating between the $550 and the $750.
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