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Author Topic: [2014-02-26] Sen. Manchin demands complete US ban on Bitcoin  (Read 3878 times)
rayfloyd
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February 26, 2014, 08:56:32 PM
 #1

"Sen. Joe Manchin, who has not exactly been a booster of the cryptocurrency, is asking federal regulators to "ban" Bitcoin because it's "highly unstable and disruptive." "

Source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57619592-38/sen-manchin-demands-complete-us-ban-on-bitcoin/

A US senator is asking the federal government to take this remarkable step: completely ban Bitcoin.
Joe Manchin, a Democratic senator representing West Virginia, sent a letter Thursday to the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, and other regulators characterizing the virtual currency as encouraging "illicit activity" as well as being "highly unstable and disruptive to our economy."
Manchin, who is a member of the Senate banking committee, suggested in the letter -- titled "Manchin Demands Federal Regulators Ban Bitcoin" -- that a complete prohibition was appropriate because Thailand, China, and South Korea have already enacted severe restrictions or bans of their own.
It's unlikely that the Federal Reserve and the executive branch possess the statutory authority to prohibit Bitcoin without a new law enacted by Congress and signed by the president -- making Manchin's letter something of a publicity stunt. On the other hand, regulators likely do have the authority to levy more rules and restrictions on Bitcoin-related companies that would increase costs, decrease interest among investors, and, at the margin, put some startups out of business.
Manchin and fellow Senate Democrat, Charles Schumer of New York, have targeted Bitcoin-related enterprises before. In a June 2011 letter to the Justice Department and DEA, the senators demanded a crackdown on the online marketplace Silk Road, saying: "The only method of payment for these illegal purchases is an untraceable peer-to-peer currency known as Bitcoins."
The letter may not have been accurate -- Bitcoin is more traceable than many people realize -- but it had the desired effect. Last fall the FBI indicted a San Francisco man for allegedly operating Silk Road, and additional charges were levied this month.
I've asked Manchin's press office to elaborate on what existing federal laws could be used to ban or outlaw Bitcoin, or whether new laws would be needed. I'll update the story if they respond.
The text of the letter is below.

Dear Secretary Lew, Chairwoman Yellen, Commissioner Curry, Acting Chairman Wetjen, Chairman Gruenberg, Chairwoman White:
I write today to express my concerns about Bitcoin. This virtual currency is currently unregulated and has allowed users to participate in illicit activity, while also being highly unstable and disruptive to our economy. For the reasons outlined below, I urge regulators to take appropriate action to limit the abilities of this highly unstable currency.
By way of background, Bitcoin is a crypto-currency that has gained notoriety in recent months due to its rising exchange value and relation to illegal transactions. Each Bitcoin is defined by a public address and a private key, thus Bitcoin is not only a token of value but also a method for transferring that value. It also means that Bitcoin provides a unique digital fingerprint, which allows for anonymous and irreversible transactions.
The very features that make Bitcoin attractive to some also attract criminals who are able to disguise their actions from law enforcement. Due to Bitcoin's anonymity, the virtual market has been extremely susceptible to hackers and scam artists stealing millions from Bitcoins users. Anonymity combined with Bitcoin's ability to finalize transactions quickly, makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to reverse fraudulent transactions.
Bitcoin has also become a haven for individuals to buy black market items. Individuals are able to anonymously purchase items such as drugs and weapons illegally. I have already written to regulators once on the now-closed Silkroad, which operated for years in supplying drugs and other black market items to criminals, thanks in large part to the creation of Bitcoin.
That is why more than a handful of countries, and their banking systems, have cautioned against the use of Bitcoin. Indeed, it has been banned in two different countries--Thailand and China--and South Korea stated that it will not recognize Bitcoin as a legitimate currency. Several other countries, including the European Union, have issued warnings to Bitcoin users as their respective governments consider options for regulating or banning its use entirely. While it is disappointing that the world leader and epicenter of the banking industry will only follow suit instead of making policy, it is high time that the United States heed our allies' warnings. I am most concerned that as Bitcoin is inevitably banned in other countries, Americans will be left holding the bag on a valueless currency.
Our foreign counterparts have already understood the wide range of problems even with Bitcoin's legitimate uses - from its significant price fluctuations to its deflationary nature. Just last week, Bitcoin prices plunged after the currency's major exchange, Mt. Gox, experienced technical issues. Two days ago, this exchange took its website down and is no longer even accessible. This was not a unique event; news of plummeting or skyrocketing Bitcoin prices is almost a weekly occurrence. In addition, its deflationary trends ensure that only speculators, such as so-called "Bitcoin miners," will benefit from possessing the virtual currency. There is no doubt average American consumers stand to lose by transacting in Bitcoin. As of December 2013, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) shows 1.3% inflation, while a recent media report indicated Bitcoin CPI has 98% deflation. In other words, spending Bitcoin now will cost you many orders of wealth in the future. This flaw makes Bitcoin's value to the U.S. economy suspect, if not outright detrimental.
The clear ends of Bitcoin for either transacting in illegal goods and services or speculative gambling make me weary of its use. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee issued a report just this month stating, "There is widespread concern about the Bitcoin system's possible impact on national currencies, its potential for criminal misuse, and the implications of its use for taxation." Before the U.S. gets too far behind the curve on this important topic, I urge the regulators to work together, act quickly, and prohibit this dangerous currency from harming hard-working Americans.
Sincerely,
U.S. Joe Manchin III
United States Senator

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February 26, 2014, 09:07:40 PM
 #2

Quote
characterizing the virtual currency as encouraging "illicit activity" as well as being "highly unstable and disruptive to our economy.

Roll Eyes Yawn. I think the dollar encourages more illicit activity. I'd also love to know how it's 'disruptive to the economy'.

Quote
Manchin, who is a member of the Senate banking committee, suggested in the letter -- titled "Manchin Demands Federal Regulators Ban Bitcoin" -- that a complete prohibition was appropriate because Thailand, China, and South Korea have already enacted severe restrictions or bans of their own.

Yeah, but last time I checked America wasn't Thailand, China, or South Korea. Land of the free, eh?

Quote
It's unlikely that the Federal Reserve and the executive branch possess the statutory authority to prohibit Bitcoin without a new law enacted by Congress and signed by the president.

Good and so they shouldn't. I'd love to know on what legal grounds they could, or at least try to, ban it on.

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ChuckBuck
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February 26, 2014, 09:09:54 PM
 #3

Wow, these senators really have nothing else to do?  Like fix this country, create jobs, settle their issues in the house, healthcare, education...

Nah, Bitcoin banning is more important!
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February 26, 2014, 09:12:28 PM
 #4

Well that escalated quickly.
rayfloyd
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February 26, 2014, 09:13:41 PM
 #5

"Manchin, who is a member of the Senate banking committee"

It's just in his friends's interests to ban bitcoin :p

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February 26, 2014, 09:14:55 PM
Last edit: February 26, 2014, 09:52:24 PM by marcus_of_augustus
 #6

Guy is a lost cause ... who voted for idiots like these?

Edit: not to mention he comes across as an extremist whackjob ... banning peaceful commerce, really?

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February 26, 2014, 09:15:03 PM
 #7

How many have written him so far? I will write an email to him tonight. Us talking to each other here is not going to derail his train. Let your representatives know or face the ignorant legislation they dream up.  

The gospel according to Satoshi - https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf
Free bitcoin in ? - Stay tuned for this years Bitcoin hunt!
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February 26, 2014, 09:15:42 PM
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February 26, 2014, 09:16:11 PM
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Guy is a lost cause ... who voted for idiots like these?
Time to replace Sen.Manchin I guess ^^
DeathAndTaxes
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February 26, 2014, 09:16:52 PM
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How many have written him so far? I will write an email to him tonight. Us talking to each other here is not going to derail his train. Let your representatives know or face the ignorant legislation they dream up. 

Writing to him is a waste of time.  He is a zealot.  Write to YOUR representative, voice your opinion and ask him or her point blank if they support Sen. Manchin's dubious (and almost certainly unconstitutional) proposal.
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February 26, 2014, 09:27:08 PM
 #11

but supernintendo wants bitcoin! so go to hell Machin  Tongue

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February 26, 2014, 09:39:12 PM
 #12

Changes viewpoint a bit

All empires wish to maintain their empire and that impacts their rationale
Justice is a part of politics but stability is human nature in his case the Federal Reserve System
Since Bitcoin is not going to go away all you can do is moderate and this impacts his opinion to the extreme point of banning any changes to the status quo


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February 26, 2014, 09:48:27 PM
 #13

he changed his mind: now he is PRO btc:

http://www.tippercoin.com/#/profile/Sen_JoeManchin


 Grin

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February 26, 2014, 09:55:54 PM
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On second thoughts, he's probably just trolling ... good one senator troll, attention whore.

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February 26, 2014, 10:04:07 PM
 #15

Senator Manchin was able to introduce his bill because the stupid Americans do not support this bill written by the brave American patriots militia groups:

BREAKING NEWS: American Patriots Militia Groups taking down the Federal Reserve
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=485187.0
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February 26, 2014, 10:51:05 PM
 #16

he changed his mind: now he is PRO btc:

http://www.tippercoin.com/#/profile/Sen_JoeManchin


 Grin

Is this the birth of the Bitcoin NRA
Good old funding hehe
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February 26, 2014, 11:38:48 PM
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I have to ask a serious question, base on what can the government "ban" bitcoin? Isnt that against constitutions of US citizens?
 
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February 26, 2014, 11:41:51 PM
 #18

Nearly everything the government does violates the US Constitution. And the courts usually rubber stamp the fuck out of everything, no matter how blatant, no matter how many innocent lives it costs.

Saying that you don't trust someone because of their behavior is completely valid.
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February 27, 2014, 01:02:09 AM
 #19

I have to ask a serious question, base on what can the government "ban" bitcoin? Isnt that against constitutions of US citizens?
 

Actually you will see that the Founding Fathers of the US constituion had very different viewpoints on how financial transactions were handled
Many of them actually hated the idea of a Federal Reserve and fought against it
Madison was the one who wrote the Second Bank of the United States into existence with his arguments in the Federalist Papers and the popularity of the greenback
But over time banking interests from Britain brought back the Federal Reserve and  Centralized Banking

I'm sure if the founding fathers had a say in the constitution as it is written now and could apply Bitcoin to it we would see very strong arguments for this type of system over a centralized one.


____
Excerpt from the Money Masters
https://archive.org/stream/TheMoneyMasters/Money_Masters_djvu.txt

What one has to understand is that from the day the Constitution was adopted right up to today, the folks who profit from
privately owned central banks, like the Fed, or, as President Madison called them, the "Money Changers," have fought a
running battle for control over who gets to issue America's money.

Why is who issues the money so important? Think of money as just another commodity. If you have a monopoly on a
commodity that everyone needs, everyone wants, and nobody has enough of, there are lots of ways to make a profit and also
exert tremendous political influence.

2



That's what this battle is all about. Throughout the history of the United States, the money power has gone back and forth
between Congress and some sort of privately-owned central bank. The American people fought off four privately-owned
central banks, before succumbing to the first stage of a fifth privately-owned central bank during a time of national weakness
- the Civil War.

The founding fathers knew the evils of a privately-owned central bank. First of all, they had seen how the privately-owned
British central bank, the Bank of England, had run up the British national debt to such an extent that Parliament had been
forced to place unfair taxes on the American colonies.

I n fact, as we'll see later, Ben Franklin claimed that this was the real cause of the American Revolution. Most of the founding
fathers realized the potential dangers of banking, and feared bankers' accumulation of wealth and power. Jefferson put it this
way:

"/ sincerely believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Already they have
raised up a money aristocracy that has set the government at defiance. The issuing power should be taken from the banks
and restored to the people to whom it properly belongs. "

That succinct statement of Jefferson is in fact, the solution to most of our economic problems today. James Madison, the main
author of the Constitution, agreed. Interestingly, he called those behind the central bank scheme "Money Changers." Madison
strongly criticized their actions:

"History records that the Money Changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to
maintain their control over governments by controlling money and its issuance."
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February 27, 2014, 01:12:14 AM
 #20

"Manchin, who is a member of the Senate banking committee"

It's just in his friends's interests to ban bitcoin :p

So, who's up for some sort of organized, distributed bitcoin-oriented campaign/activism to unseat this guy?

Bitcoin is the ultimate freedom test. It tells you who is giving lip service and who genuinely believes in it.
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