Coin Center, a new public policy organisation dedicated to digital currency research and advocacy, has launched with widespread backing from the bitcoin industry.
The Washington, DC-based group is supported by prominent figures such as VC investor Marc Andreessen, SecondMarket chairman Barry Silbert, bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik and a host of the industry's most prominent companies.
In an open letter to the community, executive director Jerry Brito said that one major goal of the group is to help shape the global regulatory debate that could decide the fate of digital currency usage in the US and abroad.
Brito, a former executive director and research fellow at noted market research organisation Mercatus Center, wrote:
“Digital currencies like Bitcoin will be an important part of our economy, and policymakers are now beginning to consider how to regulate their use. As a result, there is a need for an organization that can be a trusted and credible source of information about the regulatory implications of digital currencies. We seek to be that trusted and credible source.”
Notably, Brito recently co-authored a critique of the BitLicense that was published by Mercatus. He formally left the organisation on 18th August, cryptically announcing by email that we would be moving on to another venture.
In addition to Brito, Andreessen and Garzik, the group’s board of directors includes angel investor Alex Morcos; Stanford professor and Ripple Labs advisor Susan Athey; and Andreessen Horowitz general partner Balaji Srinivasan.
Coin Center will have an initial budget of $1m to support its efforts.
The organisation received funding from a variety of well-known bitcoin investors, companies and venture groups including:
- Andreessen Horowitz
- Hudson River Trading
- itBit’s Charles Cascarilla
- Liberty City Ventures’ Emil Woods
- RRE Ventures
- Union Square Ventures
Move toward advocacy
The group’s emergence comes at a critical juncture for digital currency adoption as regulators and governments worldwide debate if and how the technology should be regulated.
Further, it joins other organisations also focused on bitcoin public policy, including fellow Washington DC-based Chamber of Digital Commerce, led by former Forbes correspondent Perianne Boring, and the industry's oldest support group, the Bitcoin Foundation.
Speaking to CoinDesk, Jeff Garzik explained that there is demand for more information about bitcoin, both on the policy front and beyond, and that as a result, new groups are being formed to fill this need.
Given the fact that regulators are still working out how they plan on defining digital currencies, he said that "new policy research and study is needed".
"The time was really right for this effort," he argued.
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