Luminaries in the bitcoin community have launched a self-regulatory body in an apparent attempt to gain a cohesive voice in the ongoing tussle with financial regulators.
The Committee for the Establishment of the Digital Asset Transfer Authority will “work proactively with regulators and policymakers to adapt their requirements to our technologies and business models,” said the new group, in an announcement earlier today.
“We must develop and implement common risk management and compliance standards that address the public policy concerns associated with our businesses. And our firms must build risk management and compliance programs that meet those standards,” it added.
The list of backers is a Who’s Who of players in bitcoin. Tony Gallipi, CEO of payment processor BitPay, Chris Larsen, CEO of Ripple and founder of OpenCoin, and Patrick Murck, general counsel for the Bitcoin Foundation, are on board. TradeHill CEO Jered Kenna,who has been negotiating licenses with individual states for his high-net worth bitcoin exchange, is also a member.
Other members also have a vested interest in making the regulatory system work. Charlie Shrem, who will keynote at the Inside Bitcoins conference in New York today, is the CEO of the international bitcoin payment processor for exchanges and merchants BitInstant. As of early this morning, BitInstant’s site was still down, after announcing earlier this month that it needed to revamp its website in response to customer feedback. BitInstant also reportedlyreceived a letter from the New York Department of Financial Services, similar to the onereceived by the Bitcoin Foundation from the Californian state financial regulator.
The group published a manifesto of sorts in the early hours of this morning, outlining what it would do. These steps included:
- Developing best practice anti-money laundering standards for virtual currency firms.
- Serving as a source of business and technical standards for responsible conduct of financial transactions.
- Identifying emerging policy concerns early on.
The group will have its own board, including members independent of the industry, it said, and it will have its own oversight process for members.
“We expect that DATA will require its members to obtain all required licenses and registrations, and that its oversight will supplement, not replace, the oversight of statutory regulators,” it continued.
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