WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is joining with private companies in a partnership aimed at training enforcement officials about the virtual currency Bitcoin and fighting crime arising from its use.
The goals of the partnership, called the Blockchain Alliance, include educating investigators on the ins and outs of how the technology works and enhancing the reputation of a digital currency that’s been associated with high-profile crime even as it has slowly gained mainstream acceptance and legitimacy. Its members hope to change the public perception of virtual currency and deter criminals from using it to their advantage.
The alliance announced Thursday includes the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security and representatives of private companies such as BitFury, BitPay and CoinBase that are involved in virtual currency.
The name comes from the term “blockchain,” which refers to the digital ledger on which Bitcoin transactions are recorded.
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. New York state regulators last month