The Bitcoin Foundation, the de facto trade group for the emerging virtual currency, is embarking on an international expansion. The announcement sounds like something out of a sci-fi novel, describing a sort of United Federation of Planets for the virtual currency, ready to "protect, standardize, and promote the use of Bitcoin worldwide."

The foundation has partnered with the Bitcoin Embassy of Canada and the Bitcoin Association of Australia as the inaugural chapters in its new "International Affiliate Program." It's opening an office in London and is engaged in talks with Bitcoin organizations in India, Argentina, China, Germany, and the Netherlands, evoking images of the utopian one-world currency it was designed to be.

On the way to a utopian one-world currency

The foundation has a long way to go before it conquers the world, however. It has about 1,000 members, half of which are already outside the US. It mostly focuses on lobbying efforts and public relations on behalf of the Bitcoin community. Today's announcement suggests it will begin providing more direct support to Bitcoin companies through a grant program and other means.

"Strengthening and equipping local Bitcoin communities worldwide is at the core of the foundation’s International Affiliate Program and a priority for 2014," Foundation director Jon Matonis says in a statement.