WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is joining with private companies to train law-enforcement
officials about Bitcoin and how to fight crime arising from use of the virtual currency.
The Blockchain Alliance partnership has two main goals, according to those involved: educate
investigators on how the technology works, and enhance the reputation of a digital currency that
has been associated with high-profile crime even as it has slowly gained mainstream acceptance.
The alliance announced on Thursday includes the departments of Justice and Homeland Security and
representatives of companies such as BitFury, BitPay and CoinBase that are involved in virtual
The alliance’s name comes from the term
blockchain, which refers to the digital ledger on which Bitcoin transactions are
Supporters see Bitcoin, a decentralized form of money that offers users a degree of privacy for
their transactions, as a fast and easy payment system that is gaining legitimacy among regulators
and businesses. Last month, New York state regulators approved their first license for a company
dealing in virtual currency. Online retailer Overstock.com installed a Bitcoin ATM at its corporate
headquarters in Salt Lake City this year.
But Bitcoin also has been exploited by criminals in Ponzi schemes and as the primary currency of