Cryptocurrency like Bitcoin faces many challenges and obstacles before widespread acceptance and adoption, but now a group called Coin Center has added a new voice of support.
The new organization, dubbed Coin Center, is led by law professor Jerry Brito, a former research fellow at George Mason's Mercatus Center. Within the announcement, made Thursday, Brito said Coin Center is a "new non-profit research and advocacy center focused on the public policy issues facing cryptocurrency technologies."
The venture is also backed by a number of prominent figures within the crypto community. The Washington, DC-based group is supported by figures including venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, Balaji Srinivasan, Bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik, Alex Morcos, and economist Susan Athey. Coin Center has also been financially backed by companies and individuals including Hudson River Trading, Union Square Ventures, RRE Ventures, itBit, BitPay and Coinbase.
Coin Center will start with a budget of $1 million annually.
"Our mission is to build a better understanding of these technologies and to promote a regulatory climate that preserves maximum freedom of action for digital currency innovation," Brito says. "We will do this by producing and publishing policy research from respected academics and experts, educating policymakers and the media about block chain technology, and by engaging in advocacy for sound public policy."
The executive says Bitcoin will eventually be "an important part of our economy." While policymakers are beginning to consider how to regulate digital forms of currency -- which by nature are not backed by a central bank -- there is a need for an organization which can be a trusted to act as a credible source of information about the regulatory implications of technologies surrounding cryptocurrency. Coin Center will "seek to be that trusted and credible source."
The Bitcoin industry is in a period of change with regulators mulling over potential legislation, places such as Ecuador and Bangladesh banning it entirely, and countries including China imposing restrictions on its use -- and yet, businesses and payment solutions have begun accommodating virtual currency.
In related news, a new theory has emerged concerning the falling price of Bitcoin, as noted by The Wall Street Journal. At its peak, the cryptocurrency reached a price of over $1050, but at the time of writing, the value of a single Bitcoin has dropped to $403. The original collapse in price took place after the closure of Mt. Gox, the once-dominant Bitcoin exchange. However, a number of theories have emerged in order to try and explain why the price is stagnant. Setting aside the changes listed above, a summer-long price fall appears to coincide with a rise in Bitcoin mining across China, where the general public may be using Bitcoin to circumvent the Chinese government's control of foreign purchases.