The Blockchain Alliance, a coalition of “some of the brightest minds in the blockchain ecosystem,” is a newly formed “public-private forum to help combat criminal activity on the blockchain.”
According to the Blockchain Alliance website, the Alliance is intended to be “a public-private forum created by the blockchain community. We are a broad coalition of companies and organizations who have come together with a common goal – to make the blockchain ecosystem more secure and to promote further development of this transformative technology.
The Blockchain Alliance was founded by digital currency groups Coin Center and Chamber of Digital Commerce. Dr. James Newsome, former chair for the CFTC, is the advisor, and counsel are provided by the firm Steptoe & Johnson. Some of the biggest companies that rely on blockchain technology are already pledging support to the alliance, including Blockchain.info, Bitfinex, Bitpay, Circle, and Coinbase.
“The Blockchain Alliance is a critical step not only for public safety but also for the growth of the blockchain industry. By addressing misperceptions about Bitcoin, other digital currencies, and the blockchain generally, and by highlighting the industry’s good-faith efforts to cooperate with investigations, we can promote an approach to enforcement and regulation that does not stifle innovation.”
Blockchain Alliance follows in the footsteps of cryptocurrencies like Aten Coin and Identabit: working with the government instead of trying to function outside of its jurisdiction, in hopes that cooperation will lead to accelerated integration as well as providing an excellent environment for increased growth in adoption. Unlike the cryptocurrencies mentioned above, however, the Blockchain Alliance will not be providing information on cryptocurrency users.
As Jerry Brito, the Executive Director of Coin Center, stated in a CoinJournal blog post, ““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. 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.”
The Blockchain Alliance will work with government groups like the FBI, US Marshals Service, the US Secret Service, and the CFTC, with plans to engage with other U.S as well as foreign agencies. The purpose of the Alliance is to “be a resource for law enforcement, where they can feel comfortable asking technical questions to some of the brightest minds in this space.”
The information highway goes both ways, however, as it will also serve to be “a resource for the blockchain community to understand the interests and concerns of law enforcement and regulations about blockchain and it is applications.”