Coin Center and the Chamber of Digital Commerce, two bitcoin trade groups based in Washington D.C., have announced the formation of a new public-private forum aiming at combating criminal activity involving bitcoin and the blockchain.
Called the Blockchain Alliance, the group seeks to provide a forum for open dialogue between the industry and the public sector, especially law enforcement and regulatory agencies.
The alliance, announced on Thursday, includes the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security and 16 private companies, among which Bitfinex, BitFury, BitPay, Blockchain, itBit, Coinbase, Xapo and the MIT Media Lab.
Jerry Brito, Executive Director of Coin Center, said that the collaboration between the two bitcoin trade groups, some of the world’s leading blockchain startups and public institutions is aiming at “[promoting] an approach to enforcement and regulation and supports, rather than stifles, innovation.”
“Having an open dialogue with law enforcement and policymakers will help reduce anxiety about the transformative technology,” Perianne Boring, President of the Chamber of Digital Commerce said in a statement.
Jason Weinstein, Partner at Steptoe & Johnson LLP and the former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in charge of cybercrime investigations at the Department of Justice, will serve as the director of the Blockchain Alliance.
“The companies participating in this initiative are not only good companies, but they are also good corporate citizens. For the blockchain to thrive, the industry must work together to correct the misperception of bitcoin as the ‘currency of criminals.'”
The alliance will be a “one-stop resource” for both law enforcement and the blockchain community, Brito wrote in a blog post.
He further indicated that the Blockchain Alliance “is not a backdoor for the government to get information about companies or their customers.”
“The protection of privacy and civil liberties is paramount,” he said.
“The discussions between industry and government through the Blockchain Alliance will not be about particular investigations or targets. Rather, they will be higher-level discussions about typologies, trends, and technical issues. The participating companies would not share information about their customers/users except as required by law.”