One of Bitcoin's major challenges is the legal uncertainty surrounding it.
It is really no different from other new Internet technologies (should Skype be regulated like a phone company? Does google's deep-linking violate copyright? ... to give two examples from a few years ago...), but because it is money there are a lot more laws and regulations that may or may not apply.
It'd be easy to ignore that and just damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead with the technology. And given the nature of geeks on the Internet, that is what is going to happen anyway... but I decided it wouldn't hurt to try to be proactive and start a conversation with my representatives in Washington, DC about the Bitcoin Project.
So I met briefly with staffers from Rep. Olver and Sen. Brown's offices yesterday. I gave a very brief overview of bitcoin, mentioned Senator Schumer's "eradicate Silk Road" press conference, and stressed that Bitcoin is meant to be a stable, secure, international currency for the Internet, NOT a currency for criminals.
I also mentioned that the legal uncertainty is a barrier to innovation, and asked for advice on what, if anything, could be done about that. There is no good answer-- government moves really slowly, and they're wedging newfangled Internet ideas into legal structures that were created when telephone were the latest and greatest technology.
However, the house of representatives staffer I talked with did suggest that encouraging you-all to introduce yourselves to your congressperson's staff is a good idea. If they know that interesting, job-creating bitcoin businesses are happening in their districts and they've met the person making it happen, then they're much more likely to support bitcoin-friendly legislation.
So, if you're an upstanding, law-abiding, clear-thinking citizen doing interesting things with Bitcoin, I encourage you to take a little time and introduce yourself to your representative's staff. I wouldn't bother talking to the representative-- they're probably too old to really understand bitcoin ("Tubes! Money through the tubes I say!"). Talk to a 20-something staffer who grew up with the Internet and is likely to be a lot more sympathetic to the idea of a peer-to-peer Internet money.
(cross-posted from the Bitcoin Forums)