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New House subcommittee to study Bitcoin currency issues in Illinois

 SPRINGFIELD — A new Illinois House committee is aiming to make sure Illinois embraces the innovative opportunities offered by the popular new currency Bitcoin, while providing the proper oversight to protect consumers.

aindrade jaimeState Rep. Jaime Andrade, chairman of the Illinois House Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, and IT Committee, this week announced the creation of a new subcommittee on cryptocurrencies and distributed ledgers.

Andrade, D-Chicago, (left) leads the full Cybersecurity Committee to review critical questions over how Illinois oversees the challenges that come with technological innovation, such as how online companies keep personal data shared on their platforms private and secure.

zalewski mikeThe cryptocurrency subcommittee will be chaired by state Rep. Mike Zalewski, D-Riverside, (right) who already has been working on legislative oversight of Bitcoin and the blockchain to ensure the innovative economic tools can be fully and securely implemented in Illinois. Zalewski also leads on critical financial issues as chairman of the Illinois House Revenue and Finance Committee.

Bitcoin is a new digital currency held electronically, with no physical backing, that has taken the world financial sectors by storm. Bitcoin transactions work on a decentralized network of computers around the world, instead of through traditional paper and electronic payment transactions. Bitcoin’s value has been volatile in recent months, facing infrastructure challenges and high transaction fees.

The lawmakers said the subcommittee will be the perfect vehicle for policymakers to better understand Bitcoin technology.

“Technology can quickly outpace our state’s laws, and create unforeseen problems,” Andrade said. “I am confident Rep. Zalewski and this subcommittee will consider Bitcoin’s future carefully and allow us to support both innovation and consumer safety.”

“In my work on other technological advances such as fantasy sports and ride-sharing services, we have found ourselves trying to catch up to popular services,” Zalewski said. “As lawmakers, we all want government to run more efficiently and transparently. Distributed ledger technology has the promise to do just that — replace old antiquated systems with a modern approach to serving citizens’ needs. My hope is we can understand whether Bitcoin is the right investment or a risky gamble, and create policy that puts consumers first.”

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