Feds Give Thumbs Up to Bitcoin

(The Hill) Virtual currencies like Bitcoin have legitimate uses and should not be banned, federal law enforcement officials told a Senate panel Monday. While the officials warned that virtual currencies are popular with drug dealers and child pornographers, they said existing laws should be sufficient to stop criminal activity.

Jennifer Shasky Calvery, the director of the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, said the first reaction of law enforcement to new technologies or financial tools is often to worry about how criminals might abuse them. “But it’s also important that we step back and recognize that innovation is a very important part of our economy,” she testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

Mythili Raman, the director of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, said virtual currencies could be a “cheap, efficient and convenient” way to transfer money. But she also warned because the transactions are generally anonymous and irrevocable, they are also appealing to criminals.