The first national trade association for digital currency has been announced at the North American Bitcoin Conference in Chicago, signalling a significant step towards bitcoin breaking into the mainstream.
The Chamber of Digital Commerce - also referred to as the "Digital Chamber" - aims to promote the digital currency and digital assets industry among lawmakers in the US in order to facilitate the wider adoption of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
"Digital currencies and assets, such as bitcoin, have captured the imagination of Silicon Valley and technology innovators around the globe," said Perianne Boring, founder and CEO of the Digital Chamber. "Digital assets will soon be as important as email, web browsing and e-commerce.
"We are here to educate policy makers and consumers about how this new technology and asset class will improve the economy and access to financial services."
It is estimated that the global cryptocurrency industry has a value of over $8 billion (£4.7bn), with experts estimating that this could grow to over $1 trillion within six years.
Breaking into the mainstream
Bitcoin burst into the global conscience last year when the price of a single coin breached the $1,000. Since the subsequent crash in value it has struggled to gain widespread acceptance.
"Two of the biggest problems with bitcoin right now is perception and ease of use," Nathan Lands, chief executive and co-founder of cryptocurrency wallet company QuickCoin, told IBTimes UK in May.
"People find it scary, intimidating and for regular people it's just not useable. Almost everyone building bitcoin software is designing it for engineers, not regular people."
One of the aims of the Digital Chamber is to address this perception through public education campaigns on how digital currencies work and their potential benefits.
To further promote the understanding of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the Digital Chamber will also target federal agencies, including the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice, the Department of Treasury and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.