US Blockchain Alliance Forms to Combat Criminality, Gets Mixed Reception among Bitcoiners

The Chamber of Digital Commerce and Coin Center have established a forum, called the Blockchain Alliance, to help combat criminal activity involving bitcoin and the blockchain. The organization is comprised of a coalition of companies and other institutions that have come together to address public safety concerns about digital currencies and the blockchain.

Jason Weinstein, Partner at Steptoe & Johnson LLP and the former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in charge of cybercrime investigations at the Department of Justice, will serve as Director of the Blockchain Alliance.

Industry participants include the Chamber of Digital Commerce, Coin Center, MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative, Bitcoin core developer Gavin Andresen, BitFinex, BitFury, BitGo, Bitnet, BitPay, BitStamp, Blockchain, Bloq, Circle, CoinBase, CoinX, ItBit, Kraken, Noble Markets, and Xapo.

Jason Weinstein commented: The companies participating in this initiative are not only good companies, but they are also good corporate citizens.  For the blockchain to thrive, the industry must work together to correct the misperception of bitcoin as the ‘currency of criminals.’

The Blockchain Alliance will liaise with the US Department of Justice, including the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Secret Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The forum plans to engage with other U.S. and foreign agencies as well.

Perianne Boring, President of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, said, “It’s no secret that Bitcoin has perception issues, which is a roadblock to mainstream adoption.  Having an open dialogue with law enforcement and policymakers will help reduce anxiety about this transformative technology.”

Jerry Brito, Executive Director of Coin Center, said, “We look forward to partnering with the other participating companies and organizations to ensure that the capacity of Bitcoin and the blockchain to benefit so many is not overshadowed by the potential for misuse by a few.  Working together, we can promote an approach to enforcement and regulation that supports, rather than stifles, innovation.”

Valery Vavilov, BitFury CEO, said: “Like the Internet 20 years ago, blockchain is a technological phenomenon that opens many possibilities.  Just like with the Internet, some have used this innovative technology in illegal ways.  We fully understand the importance of combating the criminal activity around bitcoin blockchain.  The Blockchain Alliance is an important initiative that will add transparency and help improve public perception of bitcoin blockchain.”

There has been a mixed reception in the Bitcoin sector to the Blockchain Alliance’s establishment. Many Bitcoin enthusiasts see the organization as a means of government manipulation  or control.