Bitcoin Foundation forms committees for legal defence and regulation

Emily Spaven
Jul 15, 2013 at 14:17 UTC
Updated Oct 15, 2013 at 10:42 UTC

The Bitcoin Foundation has created three legal committees to offer help and guidance to businesses and individuals in the digital currency space.

Mike Hearn has been announced as the chairman of the Law and Policy Steering Committee while Marco Santori is chairman of the Regulatory Affairs Committee and Brian Klein is chairman of the Legal Defense Committee.

“We’re putting together a team of people to engage regulators across the country in a conversation – to try and be proactive about bitcoin education,” said Santori.

He explained the committees are trying to get people from every US state involved, because laws and regulations can vary wildly from state to state.

“We need people in every state because it’s our aim to make sure all the voices get heard, not just the loudest.”

Santori said the first goal of the Regulatory Affairs Committee is to determine what is going on in the regulatory landscape and then monitor any changes.

As for the Legal Defense Committee, he said the aim of this is to “create and administer a legal defence fund and a legal defence process”.

Hearn stressed it is very early days, so the Law and Policy Steering Committee’s first goal is to clearly define its mission, however, part of this will be to formulate a set of arguments and talking points that the foundation can use to help educate lawmakers and regulators.

He added:

“[We also want to] finalise a set of positions that try to sum up how the bitcoin community feels on various topics. That’s obviously impossible. However a lot of institutions, especially governments, have no experience at all of dealing with distributed communities.

 

“If they don’t have a group of people they can invite to workshops and have position papers from, they’ll just proceed without any input from us at all. So we have to do the best we can.”

He explained that the committee will also create proposals for ways to improve existing laws and regulations.

“For example, can exchanges use e-Passports scanned via Android smartphones as Know Your Customer documents? If not, why not and can that be changed? What about making verification of addresses easier than notarised electricity bills?

“There are lots of hopefully uncontroversial ways we can reduce the pain for existing bitcoin users.”

Hearn said there is plenty of opportunity for feedback and encouraged CoinDesk readers to get in touch if they have any ideas on what they think the committees should be focusing on.

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