Steve Thomas Highlights Bitcoin Growing Pains in Texas Lawyer Commentary
The latest Texas Lawyer commentary by McGuire, Craddock & Strother’s Steven H. Thomas focuses on regulatory questions raised by the Bitcoin phenomenon. In “Befuddled by Bitcoin: Regulating Virtual Currency,” Thomas describes the challenges that regulators and the courts have faced both defining and regulating the new and rapidly growing virtual currency.
Writes Thomas: Any attempt to describe Bitcoin automatically points out the features that make it popular but also hard to categorize, and that raise concerns for regulators. It’s completely digital, a product of peer-to-peer networking and cryptography. There are no coins or paper bills. The “coins” pictured in the media just have a private key etched on the back. Scribbling the private key on a napkin would serve the same purpose.
An August 2014, Texas Monthly article about Bitcoin notes that Texas has the nation’s largest concentration of Bitcoin users and startups working to capitalize on the technology, dwarfing even that of Silicon Valley. The article concludes that for Bitcoin to go mainstream, more safeguards, public scrutiny and government oversight will be required.
Thomas agrees: For now, regulators and the financial world are struggling to decide what Bitcoin really is. But twenty years from now, Bitcoin might have a status like today’s cellphones – how did we ever live without them?