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WHY BITCOIN MATTERS FOR BANKERS

March 18, 2014

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It can be lonely out there for a Bitcoin aficionado, especially for a banker.  Ask Alan Lane. In October, the president and CEO of Silvergate Bank in La Jolla, Calif., was up in Sacramento for a roundtable convened by the California Bankers Association and the state’s Department of Business Oversight. Reading a laundry list of about a dozen issues on the department’s radar, Commissioner Jan Lynn Owen mentioned Bitcoin — the Internet currency, payment system and technology that’s been grabbing headlines, igniting controversy and inspiring innovation across the globe. Lane pricked up his ears, in part because the $616 million-asset Silvergate had been in discussions about banking a Bitcoin startup.

“I raised my hand and I said, ‘Is anybody else talking with any potential Bitcoin customers?’ There were a lot of blank stares around the room,” Lane recalls. “A lot of the bankers hadn’t heard of it. … One guy, I don’t remember who it was, said, ‘I think they ought to outlaw it.'”Lane’s reply:  “Well, if they outlaw it, I’m going to lose about $1,200 because I just bought 10 bitcoin.” Later, he says, another banker friend teased him, “Uh oh, Alan, you shouldn’t have said that. You just put a target on yourself with the regulators.”  Read entire article…. Author:  Marc Hochstein.  Source:  American Banker.

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