restricted access Bitcoin: The Economic Case for a Global, Virtual Currency Operating in an Unexplored Legal Framework

Bitcoin is a virtual currency created by programmers, which is produced at a predetermined and knowable rate to simulate a limited resource. Its value is derived from the trust of its users and is protected by its limited nature and the cryptography by which the currency is secured and authenticated. Bitcoin has been, and continues to be, used by some for the purchase of illegal substances and in furtherance of crimes. Because Bitcoin is not issued by a central bank or government, its use entails risks, both legal and otherwise, that have not previously been explored. Nonetheless, Bitcoin possesses significant economic upside over traditional currencies and methods of transaction online. As a result, governments should further study Bitcoin and regulate businesses that exchange in Bitcoin, but without attempting to stop or slow the growth of the currency itself and without attacking otherwise law-abiding citizens who transact in Bitcoins.