quote: Virtual currency bitcoin is to be investigated by both the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Senate Committee that oversees the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The DHS was sent a letter on Monday from the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs asking for any information, plans or strategies on how it currently or plans to treat virtual currencies, including bitcoin.
The letter, posted on the Committee's website, explains the attractiveness of the currency for investors and entrepreneurs with its potential for profit and quick payment solutions. But it also warns that its "near anonymous and decentralized nature has also attracted criminals who value few things more than being allowed to operate in the shadows".
The Committee indicates that it has initiated an inquiry into virtual currencies because they are an important emerging area and urges the DHS to reply with information before the end of the month.
"As with all emerging technologies; the federal government must make sure that potential threats and risks are dealt with swiftly; however, we must also ensure that rash or uninformed actions don't stifle a potentially valuable technology," Committee Chairman Thomas Carper and Ranking Member Tom Coburn said in the letter addressed to the Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
Meanwhile, a commerce, justice and science bill from July requests an FBI briefing on the subject of bitcoins and money laundering.