The legal status of bitcoin varies substantially from country to country and is still undefined or changing in many of them. Whereas the majority of countries do not make the usage of bitcoin itself illegal, its status as money (or a commodity) varies, with differing regulatory implications.
At the time of the meeting, held at the Grand Hyatt hotel, over 70 percent of the transactions on the Bitcoin network were going through just four Chinese companies, known as Bitcoin mining pools — and most flowed through just two of those companies.
The operation can baffle even those entrusted with its care. Helgi Helgason, a burly, bald Icelandic man who oversees the data center that houses the machines, said that when he first heard that a Bitcoin mining operation was moving in he expected something very different.