Photograph by Zach Copley
A senator from West Virginia has called for a “ban” on Bitcoin—without apparently understanding that doing so would be nearly impossible.
In a Wednesday letter to American financial regulators, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) writes:
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.
Machin’s letter does not explain how such a ban would actually be enforced, nor if it would apply to other cryptocurrencies as well—the senator’s office didn’t respond to Ars’ questions on those points.