MasterCard Becomes First Company to Lobby for Bitcoin in Capitol Hill

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MasterCard Becomes First Company to Lobby for Bitcoin in Capitol HillPayments processor MasterCard has hired lobbyists to create positive buzz on the virtual currency bitcoin, a federal filing indicates.

Lobbying firm Peck Madigan Jones revealed in its quarterly report that it filed this April that it had assigned five lobbyists to focus on bitcoin and mobile payments, among other issues, for MasterCard.

This effectively makes the credit card firm the first one to campaign for the digital currency, based on the federal disclosure reports, reported The Hill.

MasterCard told The Hill that “it was gathering information in connection with recent congressional hearings to better understand the policy issues around virtual and anonymous currencies.” Though MasterCard on Tuesday refuted claims it is partnering with it, bitcoin firm Xapo said it is developing a bitcoin debit card that will rely on Visa and MasterCard payment networks.

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So far, bitcoin has been both welcomed and opposed in equal measure at the Capitol Hill. In fact, Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) has advocated for a ban on the digital currency. Nonetheless, some lawmakers have embraced it. Rep. Jared Colis (D-Colorado) recently purchased bitcoins worth $10 early this month, with committees in the two chambers holding meetings to discuss the currency.

The Congress seems reluctant to pass laws on the treatment or use of the bitcoin; instead it seeks more information on the currency. This may explain MasterCard’s intense lobbying. However, some agencies such as the Federal Election Commission is already debating whether to permit bitcoin to be used as a campaign donation.

The IRS recently said that it will treat bitcoin as an asset (property) rather than currency when assessing the amount of taxes a person should pay. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.

To contact the reporter of this story; Deepak Tiwari at deepak@forexminute.com