Key Senate Committee Holds First Congressional Hearing on Virtual Currencies

WASHINGTON – Today, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) held the first-ever Congressional hearing on the emerging technology of virtual currencies. The hearing, “Beyond Silk Road – Potential Threats, Risks, and Promises of Virtual Currency,” explored the potential promises and risks related to virtual currency – “digital cash” that can be used and transferred nearly anonymously – for the federal government and society at large.

“Virtual currencies have captured the imagination of some, struck fear among others, and confused the heck out of many of us,” said Chairman Carper. “Fundamental questions remain about what a virtual currency actually is, how it should be treated, and what the future holds. It’s clear that this technology presents some new and unique risks, but with it, there are clearly some who believe it has great potential.  The federal government and society as a whole need to come together to figure out how to effectively deal with it, and this hearing was the first step. Congress and federal agencies must continue to stay engaged and informed to develop smart, sensible, and effective policies and to properly implement such policies. I will continue to work with Dr. Coburn and our staffs to follow up with the important work being done by the agencies we spoke with today.  I believe today’s hearing is just the beginning of the conversation regarding how our government is approaching virtual currencies.”

Witnesses from government agencies including the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and representatives from private industry, including the Bitcoin Foundation and the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children, discussed whether or not virtual currencies are being addressed adequately across government and examined what work remains to be done. Click here for witness testimony.