United States is stepping up its bitcoin game. The White House has reportedly formed an alliance with private companies to train law enforcement officers how virtual currencies work.
The partnership is coined the Blockchain Alliance, after the technology—the digital ledger where bitcoin transactions are recorded—that makes digital currencies possible, the Examiner reported.
According to the news outlet, the partnership has two main goals: educate investigators on how the technology works and also improve the reputation of digital currency, which is slowly becoming accepted in the country.
Last month, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced bitcoin and other virtual currencies are considered as commodities, just like corn and oil.
The Bank of America also filed an application before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to patent an alternative wire transfer system, which uses cryptocurrency as an immediate step for fiat currency transfers. The patent application seeks to protect a system for transferring electronic funds between customer accounts using blockchain technology.
The alliance, announced last week, includes the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security as well as members of BitFury, BitPay and CoinBase companies, among others, CoinDesk reported.
The group wants to change the negative impression bitcoin has previously fostered by introducing the legitimate uses of digital currencies to the public.
Coin Center executive director Jerry Brito said the alliance will host regular conference calls and maintain a mailing list for law enforcement officials.
“It’s a public-private forum that’s going to make it easier to have a single point of contact with law enforcement; for people in the bitcoin industry, academia, developers, to have conversations about law enforcement on the bitcoin blockchain, to ask questions and to answer questions,” Brito explained, according to CoinDesk.
Due to its secure technology and promise of anonymity, bitcoin has become the currency of choice on the dark side of the Internet.
Silk Road, a ‘deep web’ black market that allows users to buy and sell illegal drugs using cryptocurrency, was shut down in October 2013. Its founder, Ross Ulbricht, was sentenced to life in prison on charges of drug trafficking, money laundering and a whole host of other cybercrimes.
The alliance’s director, Jason Weinstein, told The Salt Lake Tribune that majority of the public thinks of bitcoin as “the currency of criminals,” and that by changing this perception, “will be good for the growth of the industry as a whole.”