With the US Government Spotlight on the Bitcoin, there is an opportunity to make the case for reasonable Bitcoin regulation. Regulation that will address the Government’s concerns over the currency’s use for crime, whilst allowing the many advantages of BTC to shine through. With last week’s declaration by Germany, that Bitcoin is a “Private Currency” that should be taxed and regulated, there is a strong and reasonable precedent to refer US policy makers towards.
If you are able to vote in the US, get hold of your Congressional Representative, if you are not, get US based friends to do so!
The Bitcoin Policy Primer is available to send to the policy makers, which offers a balanced view of the operation, opportunities, and concerns around Bitcoin. As it was written before Germany’s “Private Currency” announcement was made, here is an article on the announcement.
Amnesty International has successfully influenced and lobbied on many instances of human rights law in its long history. The Amnesty method leverages its considerable influence, by galvanizing 3 million members to directly influence policy maker’s votes on laws that support the enforcement of human rights. In essence, it is Democracy in action – an empowering and successful example of the fact that those of us lucky enough to live in a Democratic country do have influence through our power to vote.
By encouraging individuals to write to, call, or even visit their Congressional Representatives, in the lead up to any significant vote, Amnesty aims to both inform and shape the decisions made by Congress Members. Of course, they don’t always win, but by connecting Congressional Leaders with the beliefs of their Constituents, Amnesty has, over the last 50 years, come to stand for Democratically enforced Human Rights.
Where Does Bitcoin Come In?
Bitcoin is new, to some it is scary, and to others, difficult to understand. Combine that with the influence of traditional financial institutions, who may well feel threatened by the potential spread of the Bitcoin, and you have the potential for some pretty aggressive regulation, that could make Bitcoin based businesses in the US even more difficult to establish.
Whilst we may reasonably expect Germany’s recent decision to become a wider European stance, making Europe a great place for Bitcoin businesses, the US remains important for Bitcoin’s success. In terms of technical talent and innovation, the US is still ahead of much of the world, and as a consumer market, it is also an extremely influential player.
Because of this, it is important that US lawmakers are familiar with Bitcoin, the way that it works, and the fact that their Constituents care about decisions in connection to it. As information and recommendations come out of the DATA (Digital Asset Transfer Authority) organization, the Bitcoin Community could also pass on this information to their local policy makers.
The best thing about the Amnesty approach, is that local politicians have an obligation to meet with and hear their Constituents – an effort by the Bitcoin community to contact their local lawmakers would make it necessary for politicians to become informed about Bitcoin.
When the findings of the FBI report on Bitcoin, which was commissioned last month, are revealed, the likelihood is that there will be regulation formed based on their findings. Likewise any findings from the NYC subpoena list. The better informed, able to push back, lawmakers are, the better.
Taking the Voice of the Bitcoin Community to Congress
Amnesty derives most of it’s power from numbers, and being able to press a point, based on the opinions of multiple voters within each jurisdiction. Being able to say that there are 100 willing voters with a vested interest in a particular topic, is far more powerful than standing alone. If the Bitcoin community can do the same, by bringing together multiple voices, they may be able to have an impact on any coming regulation.
If you are a US voter, you can check your Congressman or Congresswoman here, and also get in touch with them directly by email from there. According to Amnesty International’s “Lobbying Guidelines”, to get attention from a politician, you should:
Identify yourself as a voter in their jurisdiction
Request a follow up call or meeting
Identify how many voters in their jurisdiction are also invested in the cause (i.e. have said that support of a cause will affect their support of a politician)
If you are able to have a meeting, take a number of people who can also vote in the same jurisdiction with you
In the interests of bringing together people for this, and to be able to share the numbers of others in the same area as you, we have created the form at the top of the page to keep a rough track of individuals willing to speak with their Congressional Representatives.
Of course, we aren’t expecting to collect millions of pledges all at once, or to alter the course of US regulation entirely (though it would be nice), but any effort that can be made, we believe, should be made.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for throwing your hat into the ring!