The big fish in crypto-currency are setting the scene for major upheaval.
The newly formed Digital Asset Transfer Authority (DATA), a selection of figures in the crypto-currency community whose aim is officially “to outline opportunities, to better understanding, and to unite the industry around sensible outcomes for development of digital asset technologies”, held its first Annual Meeting on 9-11 April in Washington DC.
This was the first occasion when DATA community and board members gathered in one place with the IMF and World Bank, with keynote speeches by Benjamin Lawsky, New York State Superintendent of Financial Services, and David Andolfatto, Vice President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis who has recently been somewhat vocal on the issue of Bitcoin’s future.
Ahead of the meeting, Bitcoin Foundation General Counsel Patrick Murck spoke about the desired outcomes:
“We will plant a flag so that people can see that DATA exists with real people behind it,” he said, “we’ll educate people and create a two-way dialogue”.
Creating such a rapport between the big players of the cryptocurrency world and lawmakers will no doubt be a difficult thing to achieve.
DATA’s website contains a selection of somewhat vague, idealized statements from some of its members. “DATA will help to define the next generation of digital finance,” “We believe that the Digital Asset Transfer Authority can advance and coordinate the efforts of market participants” and “We wholly support this organization’s goals of promoting responsible self-regulation in the emerging payments market” are some examples.
The difficulty with such entities, however, lies in producing legislation ‘with teeth’ without causing further friction between the parties involved. In light of the IRS’ move to force US crypto-currency users to pay tax on their transactions, officialdom and the decentralized movement seem to be drifting further apart with each stroke.
Murck’s words prior to the meeting were more interesting. “The first thing I would like to see is to develop a framework for how to analyze Bitcoin issues,” he said, referring to a study by Jim Harper outlining “all possible threats” to Bitcoin and how they could be cast aside.
“The second thing we need to do is set best practices and standards for Bitcoin exchanges […] They have a need to have their own voice in the conversation. To have credibility they will need to have best practices and standards that are adopted by Bitcoin exchanges.”