Justice Department Weighing Bitcoin Prosecutions, Says FBI Agent

By Brian Orsak and Colby Adams

The U.S. Justice Department is expected to decide within the fiscal year whether prosecutors can bring charges against entities using a controversial virtual currency, an FBI official said Thursday. The currency, known as Bitcoin, allows individuals and merchants to anonymously transact without the aid of payment processors or other regulated financial institutions. The payment system, created in 2009 by an anonymous computer programmer, operates via a software platform that is overseen collectively by Bitcoin users. The system has drawn the attention of high-level department officials, who are weighing whether Bitcoin users have violated laws requiring them to register with the...