The US government on Wednesday said it is open to Bitcoin.
The statement came after the Treasury Department, the agency charged with regulating the virtual currency, released a report detailing its findings.
It said the US government could open its financial system to the digital currency as early as March.
“The Treasury Department believes that Bitcoin represents a valuable alternative to traditional payment methods and is therefore in the interest of the American people to consider how to use Bitcoin in its current form,” the report said.
“Although Bitcoin has been used as a currency by criminals, counterfeiters, drug dealers, and others, it has proven to be an important tool for consumers and businesses seeking a low cost, convenient, and secure way to transfer money across borders.”
Bitcoin, which uses cryptography to keep transactions anonymous, has become a controversial subject in the US, with regulators worried about its potential to lead to more crime and money laundering.
But the US has no national banking system, and no central authority regulating it.
Its main trading partner, China, has also refused to adopt a central bank, with the US Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin warning that it could result in the demise of the country’s financial system.