Press Contacts: San Francisco, CA, Llew Claasen, [email protected]
Washington, DC – August 31, 2017 – On August 31, 2017, Llew Claasen, the Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation, the world’s oldest and largest Bitcoin advocacy organization, expressed today his strongest opposition to certain sections of a bill currently before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, titled “Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2017” (S. 1241).
“The Bitcoin Foundation is asking the U.S. Congress to withdraw the provisions in this bill which involve Bitcoin because they would most certainly stifle technological advances and would over-criminalize any legitimate use of Bitcoin in normal business activities. Furthermore, the premise justifying the inclusion of Bitcoin in this bill, that terrorist organizations somehow increasingly rely on Bitcoin to finance terrorism, is baseless and false. Therefore, we are respectfully asking the Committee to withdraw those sections involving Bitcoin from this bill,” said Claasen.
Furthermore, the Bitcoin Foundation is asking Congress to investigate the U.S. Department of Justice’s policy of prosecuting bitcoiners under the federal money transmitter statute (18 U.S.C. § 1960) because such prosecutions raise significant due process concerns and because such prosecutions may not be authorized by the statutory language.
“These prosecutions, consisting of criminally charging bitcoiners such as Faiella, Lord, Petix, Klein, Mansy, and Steinmetz, if they continue, are sure to threaten the existence of the fintech industry nationwide. Just as the fintech industry’s use of cryptocurrency was stifled in New York by the adoption of the so-called Bitlicense, these prosecutions already have and will continue to have a chilling effect over a widespread adoption of Bitcoin. Innovative businesses will migrate to more welcoming jurisdictions and weaken America’s ability to compete in the emerging field of fintech,” Said Claasen.
The Bitcoin Foundation is being represented by the Ciric Law Firm, PLLC in these efforts. This firm is already challenging the N.Y. Department of Financial Services’ “Virtual Currency” regulation promulgated in 2015 at Part 200 of Chapter 1 of Title 23 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations. This challenge was filed by a small business owner, Theo Chino, plaintiff in the case filed in the New York State Court System on October 16, 2015.
In 2015, NYDFS promulgated its controversial “Virtual Currency” regulation (Part 200 of Chapter 1 of Title 23 of the New York Codes, Rules and Regulations), also known as BitLicense, aimed at regulating Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency businesses in New York. In October 2015, a small business owner, Theo Chino, filed an action in New York State Supreme Court against NYDFS arguing that the agency exceeded its regulatory mandate, and that regulating Bitcoin lies with the legislature, not NYDFS. The case is Chino vs. N.Y. Dep’t Fin, Servs. (“NYDFS”) (Index No. 0101880-2015).