The latest edition of the North American Bitcoin Conference (NABC) kicked off today at McCormick Place in Chicago with the introduction of bitcoin’s first government affairs office, a group that seeks to ensure the industry’s interests are represented on Capitol Hill.
Called the Chamber of Digital Commerce, the nonprofit is being helmed by Perianne Boring, author of the weekly Forbes column ‘The Boring Bitcoin Report‘ and a former congressional staff member.
Addressing a crowd of conference attendees, Boring laid out her vision for the new group with both force and humor, affirming that the organisation seeks to promote bitcoin’s underlying values in Washington while stressing that this action is necessary to protect industry interests.
Accordingly, Boring took aim at even the most recent regulatory guidance from New York, stating:
“These regulations were heavy handed, [and they] show that we need this. One mistake is taking existing regulations from the financial system and trying to impose them on digital currencies.”
Boring confirmed that the Chamber of Digital Commerce will raise a $120,000 seed round with the goal of achieving a $1.5m annual budget, and that it will seek to be transparent about its fundraising.
The North American Bitcoin Conference is set to take place on 19th-20th July, with notable speakers including Coinsetter CEO Jaron Lukasiewicz, Ripple Labs senior developer Stefan Thomas and Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, among others.
Plan of attack
Throughout her dialogue, Boring took a hardline stance that suggested bitcoin needs – and deserves – advocacy in Washington due to the benefits the technology can provide to the entire world.
Still, Boring said that the US will be step one on the path toward bringing the technology to the global mass market. She remarked:
“I believe that the legislation that comes out of Washington will be echoed around the world.”
Boring said that the group will seek to recruit industry members for two boards that will help craft “smart regulation for the industry” and target legislators, regulators and policy makers, ensuring they obtain accurate information about digital currencies and digital assets.
Curbing media concerns
Boring said that while she believes the industry is “at risk” due to poor regulation, bitcoin needs to do more than simply work with lawmakers in order to advance the technology.
For example, she indicated that the Chamber of Digital Commerce will seek to inform the media in order to ensure that they do their part to properly educate consumers.
Boring indicated that the organisation will provide a “full suite of public affairs professionals” that will be the first line of defense for this initiative.
Government lobbying grows
The announcement coincides with the recent increase in the number of bitcoin organisations seeking to lobby on behalf of bitcoin in Washington, DC.
In May, bitcoin investment fund Falcon Global Capital hired a team of lobbyists to work in the US capitol, and the industry’s leading trade organisation, the Bitcoin Foundation, followed suit, announcing a similar move in July when it secured the services of Thorsen French Advocacy.
However, Boring suggested that the group is not part of the foundation, and that it will pursue its own initiatives.
— CoinDesk (@coindesk) July 19, 2014
The news follows what is perhaps the biggest announcement to affect US regulation, the release of New York’s proposed BitLicense guidelines for bitcoin businesses.
For more on the proposed rules and regulations, read Bitcoin Foundation chairman Marco Santori’s full assessment.
Capital Hill image via Shutterstock
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