Bar Association Program Aims to Help People Understand Bitcoin

As the buzz around bitcoin keeps growing, a new program from the American Bar Association will help shed light on how digital currencies work and how they are affecting regulatory policy.

The American Bar Association thinks it’s time to educate its members about bitcoin and other digital currencies.

A one-day program in June in Washington, DC, will explore what digital currency is and how it works, as well as how law enforcement and regulators are approaching them and what may lie ahead.

“The program will analyze the latest events in regulatory compliance and law enforcement efforts directed at digital currency,” according to the program literature.

Specifically, panel discussions will provide a primer on bitcoin, including its risks, insight into how new and old laws are being applied in to digital currencies, how future laws may affect the industry, and potential threats and challenges digital currencies pose to law enforcement and the public.

While attendance is predicted to be especially high among business and criminal lawyers, the program is open to the general public.

How Others Are Explaining Bitcoin

Another way to explain the idea behind bitcoin is to give it away, which is exactly what Bruce Fenton, president of the Bitcoin Association, did last year.

Explaining Bitcoin is like explaining what the internet was back in the early ’90s, Fenton told Associations Now. “It’s a new technology and a new thing that we don’t have a frame of reference for to understand, so it is sort of complex, and then on top of that there’s some misunderstandings about it.”

survey by the Bitcoin Investment Trust found that 30 percent of people were confused upon first learning about the decentralized digital currency, which is exchanged person-to-person through the internet.

So Fenton put out a message on Facebook asking interested participants to create a bitcoin wallet, into which he would contribute a $1 worth of the currency that they could use to purchase whatever they wanted. Eighty people took Fenton up on his offer.

“The one lesson you could learn from this is that, for products that are things people can try—especially if it’s something new, unusual, or complex—giving people the opportunity to try it makes sense,” Fenton said.


Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!