By Brendan Sasso - 08/26/13 06:13 PM EDT
Bitcoins, which exist only online, have no central managing authority, and their owners are anonymous. It is created by a computer algorithm but can be used to buy real-world goods and services.
Government officials have expressed concern about the volatile nature of the currency and its popularity with drug traffickers.
New York's financial regulator subpoenaed 22 firms associated with bitcoin earlier this month and said it is considering new regulatory guidance on digital currencies.
The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee has also launched a review of how the government regulates bitcoins.