Bitcoin price: exchange rate soars above $600 ahead of US Senate hearing
Letter from US Federal Reserve chairman highlights the "long-term promise" of virtual currencies
The exchange rate for Bitcoins has leapt to their highest ever prices as the market for digital crypto-currency prepares for the possibility of US regulation.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC) will hear testimony at 3.00pm EST today (8.00pm GMT) that although the virtual currency can be exploited by criminals it could offer a secure and speedy service if properly regulated.
This is according to submissions made before the hearing, which will bring together representatives of the Bitcoin community as well as officials from US regulatory bodies.
The value of Bitcoin soared to $618.94 on the Tokyo-based Mt Gox exchange as investors prepared for the possibility that the currency could move closer to regulation.
The HSGAC committee began gathering materials for the hearing as early as April this year, although recent events – including the shutdown in October of online drug marketplace the Silk Road and the millions of dollars of investment in the Chinese Bitcoin exchange BTC China – have put pressure on the US government to respond to the currency’s growth.
In a letter written ahead of the congressional hearings US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke states that although the Federal Reserve “does not necessarily have authority to directly supervise or regulate” virtual currencies, such innovations may hold “long-term promise, particularly if the innovations promote a faster, more secure and more efficient payment system.”
“In general,” writes Bernanke, “the Federal Reserve would only have authority to regulate a virtual currency product if it is issued by, or cleared or settled through, a banking organization that we supervise.”
Life & Style blogs
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 2 Christmas comes early to Hong Kong, as millions of bank notes spill out onto busy street
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public can visit police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 5 Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£21000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Award-winning pharma softw...
£30000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Java Developer is requ...