The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 16, Number 36, September 1, 2013, Article 26


Two recent articles show that the electronic currency Bitcoin is gaining more traction as a legitimate commodity as well as an alternate medium of exchange. -Editor

doodle_currency_up_down_bitcoin Does bitcoin need a standardized three-character symbol? Only if it has a future as a tradeable instrument with a physical spot market and a robust derivatives market. I argue that bitcoin does indeed have such a future.

The news that Bloomberg was testing a bitcoin price ticker with code XBT on its worldwide platform gave a boost to the effort for including bitcoin in the ISO 4217 list of currency codes.

The Geneva-based International Standards Organization is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. ISO 4217 is the standard list of currency codes used in banking and business globally. SIX Interbank Clearing in Zurich maintains the ongoing discussion and management of these currency codes.

Although not necessary for market adoption, as the Bloomberg testing demonstrates, recognition of a bitcoin code by a market-based standards organization such as ISO would set the stage for increasing market depth and liquidity of bitcoin trading.

Only four non-national units that do not require the backing of any third-party institution have ever made the list – gold (XAU), silver (XAG), platinum (XPT), and palladium (XPD). Bitcoin as XBT would be the fifth. This would be an important milestone for the cryptographic money and for the Bitcoin Foundation, whose mission it is to standardize the protocol. (I am the foundation’s executive director)

A lower court ruling in Texas recently declared that bitcoin is a "currency or form of money." This ruling is interesting because it highlights the fact that bitcoin is gradually becoming recognized as commodity money in the same way that gold and silver are. A commodity money classification is appropriate for bitcoin because ISO already recognizes the precious metals.

To read the complete article, see: Talk of Ticker Symbols Shows How Far Bitcoin Has Come (

Bitcoin Members of the Bitcoin Foundation, the trade organization that represents the virtual currency that approximates cash on the internet, are having a series of "educational meetings" today with politicians, regulators, law enforcement officials, and federal agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, Treasury Department, and Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The overall message that the Foundation is trying to send is that Bitcoin has proven itself to be a useful and enduring tool, and that the US will suffer competitively if the currency becomes illegal or too onerous to use under American law. In March, a division of the Treasury Department announced that certain Bitcoin businesses must register with the federal government, a requirement the Foundation says would be crippling for many startups.

FinCEN, the Treasury agency that issued guidance about how US law affects Bitcoin, is hosting the summit. The agency has been in talks with the Foundation for months to organize the event. According to the Foundation, attendees will include high-level representatives from FinCEN, Internal Revenue Service, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Reserve, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Secret Service, and Department of Homeland Security. The Foundation will also be meeting with legislators on Capitol Hill separately tomorrow.

To read the complete article, see: Bitcoin lobbyists host meet-and-greet with Homeland Security and other agencies today (

On a related note, John N. Lupia writes:

Apparently a neologism "bitcoin" has the eye of the Federal government!

John sent a link to this article, which notes that the word "bitcoin" has now been added to the Oxford Dictionaries. Thanks. -Editor

On Wednesday, Oxford Dictionaries announced it had added a number of new words, many of which were born of a distinctly digital era, into its online lexicon.

“With influences ranging from technology to fashion, there is something for everyone in the update,” the organization said in a blog post.

The organization reviews and adds new words each quarter, along with their formal definitions. This time, the organization added more than 60 new words and terms, including “bitcoin,” the upstart virtual currency that has attracted the attention of federal regulators; “emojis,” the colorful cartoon characters that can replace words in text messages; and “selfie,” a self-portrait taken and then uploaded to a social media site like Facebook or Instagram.

Oxford Dictionaries Online Adds ‘Selfie,’ ‘Emoji’ and Other Tech-Oriented Terms (


Everything you need for your currency collection. Click here for free shipping over $50.

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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