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Bitcoin Foundation Will Not Partner with Enforcement Agencies

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The Bitcoin Foundation, an American non-profit organization formed to promote the use of bitcoin has announced that the organization will not be entering into a strategic partnership with the National Security Agency (NSA), the Immigration Department or the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The organization’s board of directors and management have come to a consensus that a partnership with US enforcement agencies could come with a great risk with no possible reward.

“Since enforcement agencies have no say in what laws are made or how or even how they are enforced, they have no power whatsoever to reduce regulatory burdens in our industry,” said Bruce Fenton of the Bitcoin Foundation in a thread on Reddit.

“They also have little to no PR influence and, even in the extremely unlikely event that they were so enamored by CoinCenter that they decided to engage in PR for Bitcoin, it would be unlikely to be approved by others in the agency,” Fenton added, “and even if it did would be ineffective as these agencies themselves have terrible reputations among the general public, with DHS/TSA and ICE being likely second only to the IRS in terms of bad reputation and the FBI being known for scandal and bureaucracy.”

The announcement comes after the recent announcement of the newly formed Blockchain Alliance, and its the involvement with various government agencies and law enforcement bodies.

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On October 22, leading bitcoin startups and institutions including MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative, BitFinex, BitFury, BitGo, Bitnet, BitPay, BitStamp, Blockchain, Bloq, Circle, CoinBase, CoinX, ItBit, Kraken, Noble Markets, and Xapo announced the formation of the Blockchain Alliance, a global bitcoin forum aimed to connect regulators and government agencies with bitcoin entrepreneurs and companies to discuss possible regulatory policies and legal matters regarding virtual currencies, including bitcoin.

Interestingly, the Alliance has partnered with various government agencies such as the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Secret Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and other foreign agencies to “provide technical assistance” on understanding the blockchain.

However, over the past few decades, industries have focused on lawmakers, public PR and media engagement instead of reaching out to enforcement agencies. According to Fenton, there is a clear reason behind this: “When was the last time you saw an industry outreach to enforcement agencies? Especially ones as despised as DHS/TSA? Honestly, without Google and 30 minutes can you even name one?”

Fenton went on to point out that the inefficiency of these enforcements’ operations and ignorance toward technologies that are still in their infant stages have proven to be harmful and downright destructive.

Although the Blockchain Alliance and some leading bitcoin startups believe that this could become an opportunity for businesses and enforcement agencies to meet together and discuss recent technical and legal issues regarding bitcoin, the Bitcoin Foundation and others in the bitcoin community are worried about the possible outcome and effect this Alliance could have for virtual currencies.

Fenton did not reply to a request from BTCManager for further comment.