Commonwealth governments should regulate bitcoin to address the risks associated with digital currencies without stifling innovation.

This was one of the recommendations put forward by the Commonwealth’s Virtual Currencies Working Group during a three-day conference held in London this week.

After hearing from the banking sector, academia, virtual currency operators, users and law enforcement agencies, the group urged governments to re-consider their legislative response to virtual currencies such as bitcoin and strengthen law enforcement to counter criminal use.

The group, which noted that virtual currencies have potential benefits and could help drive development, concluded:

“Member states should consider the applicability of their existing legal frameworks to virtual currencies and where appropriate they should consider adapting them or enacting new legislation to regulate virtual currencies.”

Additionally, the group asked governments to provide education on digital currencies and funding for training law enforcement agents, prosecutors, judges, regulatory authorities and the financial sector.

The group is expected to prepare a report on the prevalence and impact of virtual currencies and plans to reconvene in early 2016 to consider drafting technical guidance on the subject for member states.

View the full conclusions and outcomes from the event here:

Conclusions from the Commonwealth Virtual Currencies Working Group’s Three-Day Event

Commonwealth flags image via Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock.com

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