After receiving plenty of criticism from reputed publications like The Economist and Forbes, Bitcoin will be pinning its hope, Monday, on a U.S. Senate committee, which will be discussing the pros and cons of such virtual currencies.
The first-of-its-kind hearing will be held at 3pm EST before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC), and is entitled "Beyond Silk Road: Potential Risks, Threats and Promises of Virtual Currencies." Notably earlier this year, FBI shut down the Silk Road which used Bitcoins for the transaction. Silk Road was an online marketplace for buying illegal drugs often referred to as "Amazon for drugs." With this ban, FBI managed to control around 1.5% of all Bitcoins in circulation.
Mythili Raman, the acting assistant attorney general of the Justice Department sounded positive about the virtual currencies. In a testimony released before hearing, she said, "virtual currencies offer legitimate financial services and have the potential to promote more efficient global commerce."
"We have also seen, however, that certain aspects of virtual currencies appeal to criminals and present a host of new challenges to law enforcement," she added.
In the hearing, Ernie Allen, the president and CEO of the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children will tip off about its anonymity.
"In our consultations with law enforcement worldwide, we have heard the argument that there is a difference between privacy and anonymity. Law enforcement leaders embrace the broadest possible privacy protections for individuals, but emphasize that absolute internet anonymity is a prescription for catastrophe," he said. "Our challenge is to find the right balance."
For representing Bitcoin, Patrick Murck, general counsel for lobby group Bitcoin Foundation, and Jeremy Allaire, chief executive officer of Circle Internet Financial have come forward.
Use of Bitcoins is more preferred in dodgy online markets because the absence of any centralized authority makes it harder to track.
The virtual currency surged to nearly $619 on Mt. Gox exchange on Monday afternoon in Asia, up by over 25 percent from the same time on Sunday.