BENJAMIN Lawsky, chief of NY State’s Department of Financial Services, will be holding a series of hearings starting on Tuesday to discuss regulation of virtual currencies, like bitcoin – a country-less online security that debuted in 2009.
The cyber currency has become increasingly popular among retailers, and now bitcoin owners can buy a whole array of things, including a Lamborghini, BBQ and even college courses, with their virtual wallets.
Web auction site eBay is considering allowing customers to make payments with it, according to reports.
Everything you ever needed to know about Bitcoin
Despite its move to the mainstream, bitcoin remains magnet for criminals, including drug smugglers, money launderers and child pornographers. Just yesterday in Manhattan federal court indictments were unsealed against two defendants – Charlie Shrem and Robert Faiella – on charges of scheming to sell the crypto currency to the operator of Silk Road.
Indeed, it was the main source of currency used by Silk Road, an online black market for illegal drugs that was shut down by law enforcement in October.
Lawsky is holding the hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss whether to regulate bitcoin transactions through a “BitLicense,” which would come with anti-money laundering requirements. He’s invited experts, including bitcoin aficionados like the Winklevoss twins and Fred Wilson of venture capital firm Union Square Ventures.
Bitcoin may still be part of a wild, unregulated market, but here are five things you can buy with the currency right now:
A flat screen TV
A slew of online retailers have recently come out to say they will accept the virtual currency, including TigerDirect.com, known for selling computer parts, televisions and cameras. TigerDirect even offers to help people sign up for a “virtual wallet” on its site if they don’t already have one.
Hungry for some smoked chicken wings and out of cold, hard cash? Firehouse restaurant, which bills itself as one of the top five BBQ’s in America, will take your BitCoin. You should probably be in Salt Lake City, Utah, area, however, if you want your ribs hot when you pick them up.
As The Post reported in December, an upscale car dealership in Costa Mesa, Calif., was so pleased with its experience selling a Tesla in exchange for BitCoin, that it offered to do it again. “It was very easy and similar to opening a PayPal account,” Cedric Davy, marketing director for Lamborghini Newport Beach, told The Post.
Stay at the D
Last week, The D Las Vegas Casino Hotel and the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino started accepting BitCoin as payment in their five Las Vegas locations for hotel rooms or in the D’s gift shop. Guests at the D, which was first opened in 1979, can also use BitCoin to get a steak at the famous Andiamo Steakhouse.
This month, the University of Cumbria in the UK said it, too, will accept BitCoin in exchange for two courses on “complementary currencies,” including a postgraduate course in “sustainable leadership” that will take place in June.