Top attorney turns Bitcoin mogul as DOJ’s Jason M. Weinstein joins BitFury as an adviser

America’s widespread acceptance of Bitcoin as both a technological tour de force for future financial ecosystems and as a bona fide method of payment is continuing, this time with BitFury, a firm which centers its business on constructing and managing data centers for bitcoin mining operations, having enlisted the services of former head of the U.S. Justice Department’s criminal division Jason M. Weinstein as an adviser.

Bitcoin entities in the United States, whether virtual currency exchanges, technology providers or mining enterprises have attracted substantial support from senior government officials during the last year, as well as vast venture capital investments from mainstream investment funds.

New York State Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin Lawsky introduced the BitLicense last year, providing a regulatory framework for Bitcoin business in New York State, and technology has been driven forward by a series of venture capital investments, two most recent notable examples include CoinBase’s $75 million round of funding, and more recently, the $116 million round secured by 21 Inc.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Weinstein said he would continue working for his current employer, Washington-based law firm Steptoe & Johnson LLP, and will advise BitFury in a private capacity.

Mr. Weinstein described his BitFury assignment to liaise with regulators and law enforcement agents as an opportunity to help rid bitcoin and its core “blockchain” technology of the stigma of criminality sometimes associated with it. That way, he said law-abiding citizens can benefit from a technology whose many uses as an efficient, decentralized means of payment, exchange and communication promise to be “equally transformative” as the Internet has been.

“It is in everyone’s interest for bad actors that use a new technology to be rooted out so that everyone else can enjoy the fruits of that technology,” Mr. Weinstein said.

Mr. Weinstein joins a stream of former federal officials who have recently become advisers to digital-currency companies. In October, Bitcoin payments processor BitPay Inc. and bitcoin trading exchange Vaurum Labs Inc. both named former Securities and Exchange Commissioner Arthur Levitt as an adviser.

In January, digital currency-based payments platform Ripple Labs Inc. assigned former National Economic Council director Gene Sperling to its advisory board and on Tuesday it added Anja Manuel, a former state department who co-founded consulting firm RiceHadleyGates with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. In February, former U.S. Mint director Edmund Moy joined bitcoin payment processing firm Systems LLC’s advisory board.


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