The Chamber of Digital Commerce (CDC) held Congressional Bitcoin Education Day today, a Washington, DC-based event aimed at fostering awareness of bitcoin and its related technology among Congressional staff members in US Congress.
The event saw more than 30 bitcoin professionals from 12 states meet with the staff of six US congressional committees, including those on Financial Services; Science, Space and Technology; Agriculture; Small Business; Energy and Commerce; and Ways and Means.
Speaking to CoinDesk, CDC president Perianne Boring framed the event as part of its ongoing effort to lay the groundwork for increasing its influence in Washington in 2015 and beyond. Further, she noted that the current Congressional recess provides the organisation with an important opportunity to correspond with those who work for members of the government body.
Boring told CoinDesk:
“Bitcoin is a very transformative technology, and obviously the community has a big educational hurdle we’re trying to work through. So, we came to Capitol Hill today to spend a little more time with staff members, since they’re the ones who do the policy research that members of Congress rely on.”
The CDC’s goal for the event was to have either personally briefed every office in the US House of Representatives on bitcoin or to have at least delivered education material on the subject to those offices. Boring said that the group secured 70 one-on-one briefings with financial services assistants.
View the gallery below:
Event in action
The day began with a closed briefing during which industry participants prepared for the day’s meetings. From 10 am to 12 pm EST and 1:30 pm to 4 pm, meetings were then held with Congressional staffers. The meetings were then followed by a reception lasting until 6 pm.
While the schedule was focused, Boring acknowledged that these meetings were proceeded by substantial preparations, adding:
“We put a significant amount of time into contacting all the congressional offices […] It took a couple weeks to schedule all these meetings.”
Notably, US representative and noted bitcoin advocate Steve Stockman was also in attendance, serving as member sponsor for the event and flying in from Texas to welcome participants to the proceedings.
As for the resources provided to Congressional staffers, Boring said the documents were basic and high-level, providing an overview of bitcoin’s use as a financial tool and the wider bitcoin industry with details such as its market capitalization.
Boring told CoinDesk that, as of now, the goal is to provide as much information as possible to those working for US lawmakers, and to introduce them to the CDC and its work.
“Right now a lot of people on Capitol hill and in the general public don’t know much about the technology, so we try to teach people what it is, and then once we get over that hurdle then we can start having more advanced policy discussions, how do we appease regulators and any concerns they may have.”
Still, Boring stressed that the CDC is only just getting started, and that this is the beginning of a long-term strategy, concluding:
“The CDC just opened a month ago, and we’re here for good.”
Images courtesy of the Chamber of Digital Commerce