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Bitcoin Gaining Legitimacy With Justice Department

The best known crypto-currency, Bitcoin, is enjoying a moment of acute attention.

Bitcoin Gaining Legitimacy With Justice Department

[Image: Flickr user Antana]

Various government authorities around the world have reacted to Bitcoin by loving it, hating it, and running scared stiff from it. But this inconsistency hasn't stopped the crypto-currency from soaring to a record value of $619 per Bitcoin, just as the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities Exchange Commission start making arguments for the currency's legitimacy.

Ahead of a Senate committee hearing today, spokespersons for those organizations told the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs that Bitcoins should be recognized as real financial instruments—that is, they are genuine and secure conveyors of worth, just like traditional money. The hearing, which was scheduled "to explore potential promises and risks related to virtual currency for the federal government and society at large," might be the biggest move yet towards making Bitcoins legally recognized in the U.S. after the FBI simply seized millions of dollars worth of them recently.

Meanwhile, the Bitcoin trading exchange BTC China, now the biggest in terms of volume trading, has just raised $5 million in series A venture funding—another hint at Bitcoin's impending legitimacy.