He said the firm has about 20 employees focused on Bitcoin. Among them is Fenty, who moved to California after losing his 2010 re-election as mayor of the nation’s capital.
“He’s our ace in the hole in terms of DC strategy,” Ness said about Fenty’s work on Bitcoin for Perkins Coie. “He can connect us with just about anybody.”
Fenty also is an adviser to Andreessen Horowitz, which in December made the largest venture capital investment, $25 million, in a business seeking to commercialize Bitcoin. Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, is an investor in Andreessen Horowitz, founded by technology industry veterans Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz.
The industry in October received one of its biggest breaks in Washington when the Federal Bureau of Investigation took down Silk Road, an online drug and weapon marketplace where users paid in Bitcoin. The resolution of the investigation without criticism of the virtual payments provided credibility that was followed by the encouraging Senate hearings.
The Federal Election Commission now is weighing how to handle Bitcoin in the campaign-finance arena. Already several super-political action committees dedicated to Bitcoin have filed FEC paperwork, and Representative Steve Stockman, a Texas Republican, recently began accepting donations in Bitcoin to his Senate campaign.
Nick Spanos, a former Paul activist and the head of a Republican data company, gave Stockman a tour of his Bitcoin education center in New York City on New Year’s Eve. He said in an interview that Stockman “gets it. Not all politicians have the ability to accept new concepts into their minds.”
One way to motivate them, he said: “Everyone should send Bitcoin donations to their politicians. Then they’ll figure everything out overnight.”