News / Economy

US Senate Panel Kicks Off Broad Look at Bitcoin

A pile of bitcoin tokens - a retro-futuristic kind of prepaid currency that made its debut four years ago - are shown in April 2013.
A pile of bitcoin tokens - a retro-futuristic kind of prepaid currency that made its debut four years ago - are shown in April 2013.
Reuters
— A powerful U.S. Senate Committee has started an inquiry into Bitcoin and other virtual currencies, asking a range of regulators to list what safeguards are in place to prevent criminal activity.

In an August 12 letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs also said it had started interviewing people about the risks - and promises - of virtual currencies.

Virtual currencies “can be sent nearly anonymously, leaving little or no trail for regulators or enforcement agencies,” said the letter, which was signed by the committee's Chairman Tom Carper, a Democrat from Delaware, and ranking member Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican.

“Their near anonymous and decentralized nature has also attracted criminals who value few things more than being allowed to operate in the shadows,” the senators wrote.

Identical letters were sent to the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a spokeswoman for the committee said.

The senators had asked these agencies to list any policies or procedures in place to regulate virtual currencies, any information on how they were cooperating with other agencies and any other initiatives in the area.

The Senate committee had been interviewing “individuals inside and outside of government” on the threats and risks related to virtual currencies, the letter added.

The lawmakers' interest comes among increased scrutiny of virtual currencies, electronic money that can be passed between parties without traditional banking or money transfer systems, of which Bitcoin is the most prominent one.

This week, a memo showed that New York's top banking regulator Benjamin Lawsky - superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services - is considering issuing guidelines to regulate virtual currencies.

The virtual currency industry also has been the subject of enforcement actions and other attempts to crack down on potential wrongdoing.

In May, U.S. prosecutors filed an indictment against the digital currency exchange Liberty Reserve, accusing the Costa Rica-based company of helping criminals around the world to launder more than $6 billion in illicit funds.

Tokyo-based Mt. Gox, the world's largest exchanger of U.S. dollars with Bitcoins, had two accounts held by its U.S. subsidiary seized this year by agents from the Department of Homeland Security on the grounds that it was operating a money transmitting business without a license.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation last year reported Bitcoin was used by criminals to move money around the world, and the U.S. Treasury in March said that digital currency firms were required to stick to anti-money laundering rules.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Glenn from: Redondo Beach, CA
August 14, 2013 1:46 PM
There are a group of clever developers are working on a tool that will allow people to make bitcoins every single day! There is a nice short to the point video that explains the "Human Greed" factor and why this is an entirely new and unexplored market!

This is unlike anything you have ever seen or heard off and it makes perfect sense that early birds knowing this info will make alot of money off the backs of people that come into a new moneymaking market too late. The beauty of this is that you stay anonymous and in nowadays world flying under the radar is important. The recent scandals of governments spying on its citizens are making "transparency" a scary thing so don`t let anyone meddle in your private affairs! There is a free presentation seat to be grabbed so you can be the first to learn more about this bitcoin robot that is due to be released very soon to a small circle of people that follow its development.


Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.