At a panel on virtual currencies held by the New York Department of Financial Services yesterday, Bitcoin investors Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss warned banking supervisors that too many rules would "cripple" the volatile crytocurrency. It seems the twins only like an overzealous legal system when it adds to their bank account.

Just one day earlier, Charlie Shrem, the CEO of a Bitcoin company financed by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, was arrested for money laundering using Bitcoins on Silk Road. (Shrem's company, BitInstant, was not named in the indictment.) In a statement about the arrest, the brothers distanced themselves from Shrem, and said they "look forward to clearer regulation being implemented on the purchase and sale of bitcoins."

By clearer, they apparently meant invisible. According to the Wall Street Journal, the investors tried to stoke fears of losing Bitcoin jobs overseas:

In the first of two days of hearings held by New York's top banking supervisor on the topic, prominent bitcoin entrepreneurs such as Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss acknowledged potential benefits of setting certain rules on the industry but warned that too much regulation could stall innovation and send jobs overseas. [...]

Regulation "will play the biggest role in bitcoin's forthcoming evolution," Cameron Winklevoss told a panel from the New York Department of Financial Services. He warned that "overregulation could cripple its development."

Regulators were understandably concerned that Shrem, an early advocate and (until this week) vice president of the Bitcoin Foundation, was accused of laundering the currency through a "dark web drug site." But Shrem's backers, who invested through their fund Winklevoss Capital Management, said it was no big deal:

Responding to a question from Benjamin Lawsky, the superintendent of the New York financial-services department, who presided over the hearing, Tyler Winklevoss described the arrest of Mr. Shrem as a "speed bump" for the fledgling industry.

Careful bros, sometimes a little roadblock can cost you.

To contact the author of this post, please email

[Image via Associated Press]