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A hearing held by the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs has announced the list of those who will speak at its November 18th hearing on Bitcoin.
The hearing, named “Beyond Silk Road: potential risks, threats, and promises of virtual currencies,” will feature two panels.
The first panel will consist of:
The second panel will consist of:
The first panel will speak on behalf of law enforcement agencies, the second on behalf of Bitcoin and digital currencies in general.
The committee has said the hearing’s main aim is to examine what virtual currencies can offer government and society, and what risks they present. The hearing is also designed to give a voice to non-governmental actors so they can share the benefits of virtual currencies in both the American and worldwide economies.
Another committee, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, has also announced that it will hold a similar hearing, though no date has been announced.
Members of the Bitcoin Talk forum have wondered why representatives from their side need to even cooperate with the government, as the currency is by its nature global and decentralized.
The Bitcoin Foundation has stated part of its mission is to bridge these two worlds and speak in the preferred arena of outside interests, which includes governments.
The Senate has been more or less ambivalent on Bitcoin, although it has expressed interest in the currency, having held an inquiry in August.
The Department of Homeland Security stated previously in a letter that “the federal government must make sure that potential threats and risks are dealt with swiftly.”
This presumably extends to currencies such as Bitcoin should they be deemed a potential threat.
However, Homeland Security also takes pains to mention that “rash or uniformed actions don’t stifle a potentially valuable technology.”
The Senate’s hearing on Nov. 18 will begin at 3 p.m. local time in room 342 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington.
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