Bitcoin lobby launches spending PAC

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The Bitcoin industry has formed a political action committee that it could use to shower lawmakers and party committees with donations.

The Chamber of Digital Commerce, a month-old trade group for digital currencies and assets like bitcoin, registered a political spending group with the Federal Election Commission this month, according to recently disclosed documents.

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The group is still in its infancy and has no immediate plans to support individual candidates, CEO Perianne Boring told The Hill. Still, formation of the PAC is a sign of increasing maturity for bitcoin and a signal that politicians could face political pressure to support virtual currencies.

“We’re in the very earliest stages of setting up,” Boring told The Hill on Monday.

“We haven’t really decided exactly what we’re doing. We’re just being prepared for next year, is really what we’re doing. “

Bitcoin and similar virtual currencies only exist digitally but can be used to buy goods and services at some retailers, and as an investment vehicle for people trying to cash in on their growing popularity. Supporters say digital currencies are transforming the way people use money in a world that’s becoming increasingly reliant on the Internet.

The currency is relatively anonymous, however, which has made it attractive to some criminals looking to launder money. Rapid fluctuations in the value of a bitcoin — which is currently worth about $500, after reaching a high of more than $1,000 earlier this year — have also raised concerns.

The Chamber of Digital Commerce was launched at a bitcoin conference in July as an attempt to educate the public as well as lawmakers and regulators about the money.

“We strive to be the authoritative representative for the industry and to work with public policy makers as well as the larger public,” Boring said. 

Lately, the group has been focused on regulators in New York, who have proposed rules on the currency that many advocates say are too tough.

But it also has its sights firmly set on Washington.

This Friday, the organization is bringing in more than two-dozen people from the digital currency industry to meet with staffers on Capitol Hill and tell them about the benefits of the money.

— Megan Wilson contributed.

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