The Blog

Making sense of Lightning network nodes and money transmission licensing

An update on Coin Center’s work to avoid unnecessary regulatory burdens on technologists.

How Bitcoin could drive the clean energy revolution.

The system’s economic incentives favor clean, renewable, energy.

Munchee Settlement Puts the Utility Token Argument to the Test

Coin Center’s analysis of the recent SEC enforcement action against an ICO found to be in violation of securities law.

Congress's anti-money laundering bill (S. 1241): Coin Center is on it

An update on our work to minimize the confusion that this redundant bill could cause.

The SAFT is a reasonable approach to securities law when preselling useful network tokens

New open source framework gives entrepreneurs an option for legally compliant token distributions.

Coin Center celebrates three years of crypto-advocacy

Looking back on three years of working to protect your right to innovate with open blockchain networks.

Reps. Polis & Schweikert introduce Cryptocurrency Tax Fairness Act in Congress

Bipartisan bill will make it much easier to use Bitcoin to pay for every day goods and services. 

Visualizing Digital Currency Regulation State-by-state

Our new interactive map lets you easily see which states have policies favorable to open blockchain innovationand which ones still have a way to go.

Coin Center files amicus brief opposing IRS’s overbroad request for Coinbase user data

IRS argument in sweeping request for Coinbase user data could apply to literally anything of value, would set a dangerous precedent.

The ULC’s model act for digital currency businesses has passed. Here’s why it’s good for Bitcoin.

The Uniform Law Commission has given states a clear path to approach this technology the right way.

Congress's new anti-money laundering bill likely duplicates existing law on digital currency

Digital currencies are already covered under the Bank Secrecy Act and new language could upset years of policy and compliance work.

We testified in Congress and advocated for your right to innovate with open blockchains

In two hearings, Coin Center called for sound government approaches to this technology.

No, Bitcoin is not tied to the Paris attacks.

Correcting the record about a purported link mentioned in congressional testimony yesterday.

It should not be a crime to help victims of ransomware

A recent court filing suggests that selling a victim the bitcoins needed to pay a ransom may be seen as complicity in the attack. 

Six principles governments around the world should heed when considering blockchain regulation

Understanding, engagement, and a transparent regulatory processes are the keys to a successful approach.

It's time to assess the potential for terrorist use of cryptocurrencies

Bank derisking and irrational state by state licensing help create the conditions for criminals and terrorists to abuse cryptocurrency networks.

Bitcoin taxation is broken. Here’s how to fix it.

An exemption for small gains would take most of the headache out of using digital currencies like Bitcoin. 

Congress should create a blockchain technology safe harbor. Luckily they already figured it out in the '90s.

The Communications Decency Act, which protected the internet's early innovators, is a perfect model for protecting the people and companies building it's next level infrastructure. 

New Coin Center report: How lawmakers can protect consumers without harming digital currency innovation.

This updated framework gives regulators the tools they need to develop sound policy around open blockchain networks like Bitcoin.

Coin Center raises $1 million for 2017 operations, announces new supporters

We are pleased to announce that over the past month Coin Center has raised over $1 million to fund its 2017 operations.

Blockchain’s night out: the Coin Center Annual Dinner is back!

This gala event is a night to let loose and celebrate another great year for the blockchain ecosystem, all while supporting Coin Center's policy advocacy mission.

Congressional Blockchain Caucus kicks off

Coin Center gathers members of Congress and staff to launch educational and policy effort

Bitcoin innovators need legal safe harbors

These powerful regulatory tools were essential to the early Internet and now we need them again.

Things are looking up for Bitcoin's biggest regulatory hurdle

How the OCC and states like Illinois are taking strategic, sensible approaches to promising new financial technologies.

“Blockchain technology” is a buzzword with little meaning. Here’s what matters.

A thorough examination of the different types of blockchains, their capabilities, and why open blockchains in particular must be allowed room to thrive. 

An update from the recent Uniform Law Commission drafting meeting

The latest from our participation in what could be United States' best bitcoin licensing law yet. 

Announcing the Digital Currency & Ledger Defense Coalition

Over 50 lawyers that focus on the legal issues facing digital currency users have formed a coalition to connect their users with pro bono legal resources.

Bipartisan Blockchain Caucus formed in Congress

We applaud the creation of a caucus dedicated to the development and advancement of sound puplic policy toward cryptocurrencies and other blockchain-based technologies.

Could your decentralized token project run afoul of securities laws?

We are at Devcon2 in Shanghai this week, where research director Peter Van Valkenburgh gave a talk on how securities regulators look at decentralized tokens and what developers should think about before issuing them.

Food for Thought: A Federal Safe Harbor for non-custodial cryptocurrency users

The coming new administration and incoming Congress have an opportunity to concretely support open blockchain networks. Here’s how.

Celebrating two years of fighting for sane Bitcoin policy

Two years into our cryptocurrency policy advocacy mission, we look back at some of our recent accomplishments and announce the latest batch of new Coin Center supporters.

New California digital currency bill is a step backwards

The California Legislature has released a new version of AB 1326, and it’s bad news for anyone who loves Bitcoin and blockchain technology. Here are our top concerns.

Neither the CFTC nor multi-sig are to blame for the Bitfinex hack

There are several complex issues, both in regulation and the technology, at play.

After eight months, an update on the Blockchain Alliance

The Blockchain Alliance was announced last October. Since then it has grown from about 20 to over 50 members, including digital currency companies, law enforcement groups, and regulatory bodies from all over the world. But what has it been up to? 

DTCC backs Coin Center, Mark Wetjen joins our advisory board

The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, the premier post-trade market infrastructure for the global financial services industry, has become of a supporter of Coin Center.

Let’s take a deep breath on the FSOC report’s ‘warning on Bitcoin’

Neither Bitcoin nor digital currencies are the subject of the warnings. As the authors say, their concern is “migration” of existing financial systems to distributed ledgers.

How to improve North Carolina’s digital currency bill

Recently some have hailed North Carolina’s Senate Bill 680 as very friendly to cryptocurrency innovators. This is sadly not the case.

DAOs: the internet is weird again, and these are the regulatory issues

Some facts about Ethereum, DAOs, and public policy.

Why we need a federal fintech charter

Coin Center’s comment letter responding to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s request for comment on its recent white paper on innovation.

Slides from Consensus Workshop: Regulating the Blockchain

There was a jam-packed morning of Bitcoin and Blockchain legal discourse at Day 3 of this years Consensus conference. Coin Center was grateful for the opportunity to program this workshop.

What Coin Center believes in, and what we do

The full text of Executive Director Jerry Brito’s remarks at the Coin Center Annual Dinner.

Is the US losing its global competitive edge in fintech?

The UK has been bending over backwards to make it easy and quick for innovative startups and entrepreneurs to comply with appropriate consumer protection regulations and safely enter the market.

Our Congressional testimony on the blockchain’s disruptive potential

Digital currency and blockchain technology returned to Capitol Hill last week during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce committee’s subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade.

Why Bitcoin is not the root cause of ransomware

Ransomware has been around for a while—turns out it’s about twenty years older than Bitcoin—but it’s been in the news again recently.

No, FinCEN Policy is not Relevant to the Bitcoin Forking Debate

Are the developers of software that leads to a hard fork of the Bitcoin blockchain (like Bitcoin Classic) subject to regulation under the Bank Secrecy Act?

Coin Center raises $1 million for 2016 operations, announces new supporters

We are pleased to announce that over the past month Coin Center has raised over $1 million to fund its 2016 operations.

Is Bitcoin a Security?

Today we are releasing our Framework for Securities Regulation of Cryptocurrencies. In it we lay out the case for treating some cryptocurrencies as securities—and some not.

We tell Washington: an open global blockchain is the innovation that matters

Jerry Brito lays out the case for decentralized, open, permissionless ledgers at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC.

Some facts about digital currency and terrorist financing

After the recent attacks in Paris, governments are redoubling their efforts to combat terrorist financing, and we’ve been asked how digital currencies might be affected by these efforts.

What last week’s European VAT ruling means for bitcoin fungibility

The European Court of Justice held that bitcoin is a currency for the purposes of VAT taxation. The decision will make it easier to exchange euros for bitcoin and could have implications for bitcoin fungibility down the line.

Announcing the Blockchain Alliance

Today we announced the formation of the Blockchain Alliance, a forum for law enforcement and regulators to ask questions of each other and to share information.

Released Today: Updated State Digital Currency Principles and Framework

Our guidelines for digital currency policy now include provisions for micropayment channels and new exemptions for merchant processors. 

Janet Yellen on sound Bitcoin Regulation

It is refreshing to hear Ms. Yellen consider the costs as well as the benefits of regulation and understands the need to proceed cautiously so as not to hamper innovation in the space. 

Call for Papers: Cryptocurrency’s First Peer-Reviewed Journal

Cryptocurrency gets its own interdisciplinary academic journal. 

Freshly Unveiled CSBS Model Regs: Good Goals, Poor Execution

The model's vague definitions cover more than what is typically considered money transmission. 

Ledger joins ranks of Coin Center Founders Circle

We are thrilled to welcome their support.

Celebrating one year of crypto-advocacy

Over 100 meetings with policymakers later, an update on our first year of cryptocurrency advocacy.

Sponsor of California’s Bitcoin bill responds to critics, here’s our take

Opposition to California's proposed digital currency bill is misguided. Here's why. 

Startup exodus from New York highlights BitLicense’s threat to innovation

The BitLicense was intended to foster innovation while protecting consumers. It may have had the opposite effect. 

EFF’s opposition to California bill unwittingly endangers Bitcoin innovators

We think their opposition stems from a misunderstanding of the state of the law in this space—one that could have dangerous consequences.

Get your FREE Coin Center pocket Bitcoin White Paper

We are giving out free pocket editions of the white paper that started it all.

Coin Center and Google host “Digital Gold” Book event in Washington, DC

The event will feature a discussion on the history of Bitcoin and the characters who built it into a global phenomenon.

BitLicense: It’s not just for New Yorkers

The BitLicense is a confusing new regulation, but this is the top line: it can apply to your business even if you are not located in New York.

California updated its digital currency legislation and it looks great

A new amended draft of California’s AB 1326 was released this morning—and it’s good news for us and Bitcoin advocates everywhere. Today, we’re issuing a letter of support for the legislation. Here’s why.

Coin Center releases “Moon Mission” t-shirt–get yours now!

Our latest reward for supporters is out of this world. 

Your Toolkit for Bitcoin Education

Backgrounders to address common questions about blockchain technology.

Connecticut and Bitcoin: A legislative question mark

The law is supposed to give us something written and perspicuous to rely on as we go about planning our affairs and our futures. Connecticut’s Public Act 15-53 creates no such transparency or certainty.

The 325-year-old Company that’s Learning about Bitcoin

Coin Center and Lloyds Release Bitcoin Risk Report.

Coin Center holds major Capitol Hill briefing for senior congressional staff

The well attended event included top policymakers highlighting their support of the freedom to innovate using blockchain technologies.

New Backgrounder: Why are there so many Bitcoin Scams?

Researcher Ben Doernberg delves into the factors causing a high rate of scams involving cryptocurrency.

New York BitLicense Falls Short

Innovation under threat in New York as confusing language remains.

New Backgrounder: What are Micropayments and How does Bitcoin Enable Them?

Chris Smith of BitMesh explains the advantages Bitcoin brings to micropayments and the basic structure of micropayment channels.

Our thoughts on the BitLicense: California is Winning

The final version of the BitLicense is out and it has failed to address our two top concerns: vague defintions and a discriminatory state-level anti-money laundering regime. 

Tracking Bitcoin Regulation State by State

To help the public better understand what proposals are currently in play at the state level, today Coin Center is releasing a State Digital Currency Regulation Tracker.

Our Principles and Framework for State Digital Currency Regulation

How lawmakers can protect digital currency consumers without harming innovation. 

Coin Center welcomes OKLink as first international benefactor

OKLink joins a chorus of leading companies in the Bitcoin space calling for sound public policy concerning the technology.

New backgrounder: How can law enforcement leverage the blockchain in investigations?

Former federal prosecutor Jason Weinstein explains how the nature of Bitcoin’s underlying blockchain can be good news for law enforcement, and how law enforcement can ultimately be good news for Bitcoin.

Wall Street is using Bitcoin, not just the blockchain.

Demystifying Nasdaq's "blockchain" announcement. 

Coin Center releases new shirt for supporters

Coin Center is proud to release a tribute to the alpaca - one of Bitcoin's earliest mascots - with our limited edition alpaca socks t-shirt.

Case Wallet: A Possible Case Study in Unintended Consequences

The Case Wallet is remarkable for consumer protection. However, it may be subject to state licensing like New York’s BitLicense—something regulators should want to avoid.

Pocket Satoshi White Paper now available for more Coin Center donors

Due to popular demand Coin Center is now offering – our most popular gift – the Pocket Satoshi book at the $50 donor level.

Coin Center Publishes Framework for State Digital Currency Regulation

Legislative language for the essential components of any sound digital currency law.

Silk Road corruption case shows how law enforcement uses Bitcoin

Crimes committed with Bitcoin are not beyond the law. 

Coin Center releases March 2015 Bitcoin Public Sentiment Survey Data

The first time American attitudes toward Bitcoin have been measured using a statistically sound sampling technique.

Coin Center files comment on NY DFS revised BitLicense proposal

The latest version of the BitLicense takes into account many of the changes we suggested but there are still a number of issues that need to be worked out. 

Sign this letter to tell NY DFS that the BitLicense needs a safe harbor

Small companies and individual technologists need space to innovate without having to ask for permission or obtain a license.

The New York BitLicense and California’s Digital Currency Bill – A Comparison

Both approaches have their strengths but neither is perfect.

Coin Center comments on CFPB proposal to regulate digital currencies

More study is needed before sweeping regulations are promulgated.

The UK plan for Bitcoin is a step in the right direction

We are pleased to see such a measured and reasonable response from a government.

How Bitcoin Will Change International Bank Payments

Correspondent banking can be made cheaper and faster using the type of peer-to-peer technology underlying Bitcoin.

Apple Pay isn’t enough to fix a broken payment system

High levels of fraud show us that slick apps are only as good as the payment system they rely on.

Report: Bitcoin enables unprecedented financial privacy and security

Traditional electronic payments require that we give too much access to our personal information. 

U.S. Comptroller of the Currency: Law should adapt to remain relevant

Comptroller of the Currency Thomas J. Curry is right to argue that the letter of the law may have to change in the face of technological advancement in order to carry out the spirit of the law.

Video: Can Bitcoin Feed a Family?

Bitcoin remittances can help workers send more money to their families.

Steady Sentiment and the Problem of Scams

A lot of people distrust Bitcoin. We think we know why. 

Video: Three Things to Know About Bitcoin

Some basic facts about the technology. 

The BitLicense Needs a Safe Harbor

Sign this letter to tell the NYDFS that reasonable safe harbors foster innovation. 

Should You Trust This Secretive Chinese Bitcoin Mine?

A video from Vice’s Motherboard depicts a “secretive” Bitcoin mine in China. Should we be concerned? Far from it.

Coin Center to testify before NJ State Assembly

The New Jersey State Assembly today deepens the ranks of lawmakers who are working to educate themselves on the promise of digital currencies like Bitcoin.

Our initial thoughts on New York’s revised BitLicense proposal

Breaking down this first-of-its-kind rule. 

‘Age of Cryptocurrency’ is the serious introduction to Bitcoin we’ve been waiting for

A sober yet exciting account of cryptocurrency, told by two very smart and objective reporters.

Reporting from the EU Parliament: Building an Open Bitcoin Coalition

We went to the European Parliament. Here's what happened. 

Coin Center brings Bitcoin to DC’s top tech policy conference

With the help of Coinbase and Blockstream, we explained to an audience of over 700 policymakers and DC insiders the potential we see in Bitcoin, and answered questions about policy implications for the technology.

Coin Center’s new Bitcoin Public Sentiment Survey

The first study that attempts to measure the attitudes of the American public toward Bitcoin in an unbiased and objective way.

Bitcoin at State of the Net 2015

The annual State of the Net conference in Washington, DC, is the largest Internet policy conference in America with over 700 attendees last year. 

Reporting back from the Blockchain Workshops at MIT and Harvard

Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love the cuddly crypto critters.

Coinbase secures major vote of confidence

Today Coinbase, a popular Bitcoin broker and merchant services provider, announced the closure of a $75 million fundraising round.

Boston and the Blockchain this weekend; we’ll be there.

Harvard and MIT are hosting twin Blockchain Workshops this weekend.

Putting the Price of Bitcoin into Perspective

I’m being asked about the price drop in bitcoin. Here’s why I don’t focus on price much.

Brookings Institution: Like the early internet, blockchain tech deserves a careful, light touch from regulators

“Had we over-regulated the Internet early on, we would have missed out on many innovations that we can’t imagine living without today.”

Will 2015 Bring New Regulations for Bitcoin Users?

Coin Center fellow Houman Shadab sat down with Mimesis Law to discuss the regulatory future for Bitcoin. He discusses money transmission, licensing, smart contracts, and more.

Some perspective on Bitstamp

Bitstamp, the prominent Bitcoin exchange, has been hacked. This is bad news for the Bitcoin ecosystem, but let’s be sure to keep it in perspective.

Coin Center takes off: Who we are and what we do

Today, as we launch our website, I’d like to tell you a bit more about us, what we’ve been up to, and where we plan to go.

Based in Washington, D.C., Coin Center is the leading non-profit research and advocacy center focused on the public policy issues facing cryptocurrency and decentralized computing technologies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Our mission is to build a better understanding of these technologies and to promote a regulatory climate that preserves the freedom to innovate using permissionless blockchain technologies.