As two days of hearings on the future of digital currencies – think Bitcoin – wrapped up Wednesday in the New York State Legislature, fans of the cyber-cash were getting both bad and good news…
…The hearings pursued basic questions, says Ben Mazzotta, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute for Business in the Global Context at [The Fletcher School,] Tufts University and co-author of a research study, the Cost of Cash in the United States.
They were an effort by regulators to learn the fundamentals of the Bitcoin ecosystem, he says: “Who uses Bitcoin today, for what, when, where and how? What are the legitimate ends of Bitcoin financial services? Does anybody need Bitcoins for something you can't already do in dollars or euros? Are the only people that need that kind of privacy, by definition, people with something to hide? And is there any way that Bitcoin's system of ownership and transactions can be made compatible with a stable and legal financial system?”
The New York Legislature’s hearings were focused in particular on defining virtual currency, he says, adding, “These hearings have to do with what constitutes a bank, and whether Bitcoin exchanges and Bitcoin financial services have to play by the same rules as banks today. Understandably there are different rules for banks from most other businesses in the economy.”
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