Bitcoin is knocking on Washington’s doors

lobbyist09 Apr 2014 / CNN Money – Bitcoin companies are hiring lobbyists, visiting lawmakers on Capitol Hill and writing to agencies about how they should write rules that will determine the future of the fast-growing virtual currency.

 It’s all part of a push to shape how Washington ultimately regulates the independent, digital money that is growing in popularity.

“The most important thing we’re doing is explaining how Bitcoin works,” said Jim Harper, a lobbyist who was hired recently as counsel for the Bitcoin Foundation, an organization that represents Bitcoin companies and investors. Harper, who has lobbied for PayPal and VeriSign, is paid in bitcoin.

The timing is ripe.

Just two weeks ago, the Internal Revenue Service issued a rule to tax bitcoin as property. The Federal Election Commission is also expected in the next several weeks to decide whether people can contribute to political campaigns using bitcoin. Another federal agency, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, is expected to rule whether Bitcoin is a traded commodity, like gold or interest rates.

All of this comes as Bitcoin is under increased scrutiny. On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder told lawmakers during a Congressional testimony that Bitcoin and other virtual currencies pose a challenge for law enforcement agencies, because they can be used to conceal illegal activity.

“A lot of different government officials and federal agencies are trying to wrap their mind around Bitcoin,” said Harper, the lobbyist…. Read more

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