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
Monday 18 November 2013
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.”
Matt Smith is set to join cast of Jane Austen classic - with a twist
Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas
Life & Style blogs
Ebola outbreak: Survivor William Pooley is flown to US to give doctor with virus emergency blood transfusion
Jennifer Lawrence nude pictures leaked: Reddit removes 'The Fappening' board dedicated to sharing naked pictures of celebrities
Tezenis removes 'crime scene' pants from Oxford Street store after backlash over 'rape' connotations
A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
iOS 8 review: not an overhaul, but the iPhone is gradually growing up
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
- 1 Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
- 2 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 3 'Necrophilia-obsessed' girl among double murder accused in three-way sex case
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Revealed after 75 years of secrecy: 'Fifi' the glamorous WW2 special agent who tested British spies' resolve
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£55000 - £60000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: IT Proj...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SharePoint Administrator - Bishop's ...
£45000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client, a glob...
£20000 - £25000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...