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WV Senator Calls For Ban On All Unregulated Cryptocurrencies 240

Posted by timothy
from the and-you-can't-trade-with-your-neighbors-either dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, has called for for heavily regulation of Bitcoin. Reached for comment, his staff confirmed Manchin is seeking a 'ban' that would apply to any cryptocurrency that's both anonymous and unregulated."
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WV Senator Calls For Ban On All Unregulated Cryptocurrencies

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  • But ... FREEDOM! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 27, 2014 @09:47AM (#46356373)
    Can't the free market handle this? Do we really need yet more restrictive government regulations? What are they afraid of? Could untraceable cryptocurrencies somehow encourage people who don't have a lot of money to avoid taxes, similar to what our betters do right now with offshore tax havens?
    • by thaylin (555395)
      Ask Adam Smith how the free market Handles everything.
      • by Cenan (1892902)

        Something to do with dogs trading their bones or some such nonsense.

      • Ask Adam Smith how the free market Handles everything.

        The "Invisible Hand" right? The not so invisible hand that's been giving us the finger?

        • Re:But ... FREEDOM! (Score:4, Informative)

          by thaylin (555395) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @10:54AM (#46357025)
          No, he would also say that there are flaws, such as monopolies, that would also have to be watched and prevented.
          • No, he would also say that there are flaws, such as monopolies, that would also have to be watched and prevented.

            Quite true. Didn't mean to imply Smith didn't recognize the flaws in market economies. Too bad the leadership in the US fails to recognize the flaws in so called free markets - particularly in the case of monopolies. [cbsnews.com]

      • I think Adam Smith understood that there's more to the world than the free market.

        Sadly, his worshippers often do not.

    • by houstonbofh (602064) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @09:57AM (#46356479)
      This has nothing to do with freedom, taxes, or even money. It is all about getting his name in the paper, and his constituants seeing hime "doing something!"
      • by dlt074 (548126)

        i think it also has something to do with the fact that they need everyone to keep using US $'s. the ponzi scheme that is our current monetary system, only works if people keep believing their money has value and keep using it. the house of cards quickly collapses once enough people realize their money is only worth the paper it's printed on.

      • Exactly. Joe Manchin could have cared less about Bitcoin last month. Now he has an easy way to demonstrate how hard he's working to serve the people of WV.

      • This has nothing to do with freedom, taxes, or even money. It is all about getting his name in the paper, and his constituants seeing hime "doing something!"

        Give this man a great big drink of water!

        • SOMETHING must be done.

          This is SOMETHING.

          Therefore, it must be done!

          Nobody ever stops and asks the question "why must SOMETHING be done" and then try to figure out what that "SOMETHING" ought to be.

          The problem here, is that we have people who no nothing, telling everyone else what to do. This is nothing short of tyranny. I just wonder how many people realize that those that are supposed to represent us, only represent themselves.

    • Throw the bums out!

    • I don't get how buying and selling Bitcoins is any different than doing the same with Beanie Babies, Baseball Cards or mp3 files (that you have the right to sell). What is the legal definition of "Cryptocurrency"? New ones are popping up all the time. Where were the legislators crying for regulation when the bottom fell out of the Beanie Baby market?
    • by whitroth (9367)

      The free market did handle it. And, in the case of Mt. Gox, was run on a hack version of sshd written in three days in php, and it looks like 750k or so bitcoins are gone, transferred to someone else without Evil Gov't And Company Interference.

      And I suppose, if you have your ultra-free way, then I could hold you up at gunpoint, empty your wallet, force you to empty your bank account from the nearest ATM, and it would be up to you to round up a posse to find me.

      Ideological Sucker.

    • similar to what our betters do right now with offshore tax havens?

      The IRS has been cracking down on that for years. You should get your news from somewhere besides Slashdot.

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-19/offshore-tax-evasion-will-be-focus-of-senate-hearing.html

      http://www.acfcs.org/historic-ubs-case-is-model-for-us-assault-on-offshore-tax-evasion-says-former-us-prosecutor-who-led-it/

      • Like the last time. When they forced the Swiss to reveal the names of the holders of numbered accounts opened after 1950.

        That's right, normal people that dodged taxes got screwed, but the Kennedy family account is still secret.

  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@@@aol...com> on Thursday February 27, 2014 @09:49AM (#46356387) Journal

    A ban on cryptocurrencies that are both unregulated AND anonymous would not apply to Bitcoin.

    • It _is_ anonymous. Until somebody decides to trace back the transaction chain and actually finds weak/strong evidence of a connection to a person.

      • by houstonbofh (602064) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @10:06AM (#46356559)

        It _is_ anonymous. Until somebody decides to trace back the transaction chain and actually finds weak/strong evidence of a connection to a person.

        This is like "A book is a secret until someone reads it." It is trivially easy to trace back an exchange. Unlike, for example, cash.

        • Ok, here is a better analogy: Bitcoin is anonymous like IP addresses are anonymous.

          • by mythosaz (572040)

            You might know what transactions came from a wallet, but you don't know which wallet is mine.

            Also, without a parallel log of some sort, it's impossible to know what a particular transaction was for -- only which wallets it passed through.

        • by Kjella (173770)

          This is like "A book is a secret until someone reads it." It is trivially easy to trace back an exchange. Unlike, for example, cash.

          If you go to an exchange like Mt.Gox, possibly. But what if I just offer to do some sort of service for you, anything I could do over an open wifi and have you deposit BTC directly into my wallet? Assuming I use a single purpose deposit address and don't mix it with identifiable BTC there's no name attached to that account. And bitcoin to bitcoin transactions are anonymous. If I just transfer something to a different account, nobody can prove whether I just exchanged bitcoins with goods and services from so

          • by radiumsoup (741987) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:21AM (#46357355)

            you just described the case against allowing people to use cash. (you know, "folding money" as my grandparents called it)

            Cash is anonymous, and is regulated only when it comes to transferring into or out of a bank (or if you try to import/export it overseas). By its very nature of being decentralized, cash cannot be regulated in any practical or meaningful way between two private parties, which is, in practice, effectively no different from the current crop of cryptocurrencies. The key difference is that ALL transactions in the Bitcoin protocol are public, and therefore Bitcoin is actually much less private than cash transactions.

            If the senator truly wanted what he said he wanted, he would push to regulate or abolish the use of cash and demand electronic payments in all circumstances. It's more of a "problem" than bitcoin is. How often do you see huge stacks of millions or tens of millions of dollars in cash when there's some big cartel bust? None of that would be possible if cash was regulated and traceable. But no, it's Bitcoin that's the problem, according to this guy.

            • by TheMeuge (645043)

              There have been plenty of people who argued for banning the use of cash. In many EU countries I believe they already have a ban on cash transactions above 1000 euro.

      • by LordLucless (582312) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @10:09AM (#46356593)

        Then using a credit card is anonymous too. Until someone decides to trace back the transaction, and subpoena VISA for evidence of a connection to a person. There is no real technical difference between a VISA card number, and a Bitcoin wallet id - just that generally, VISA requires you to tell them who you are when you create an account. But that's not a technical feature of the payment system, just of the rules VISA happens to place around it.

        Bitcoin is pseudonymous - all transactions are tied to a publicly-visible unique identifier. If it was anonymous (like cash is) then transactions would be tied to nothing identifiable.

        • >> just that generally, VISA requires you to tell them who you are when you create an account

          And of course anyone who has had their credit card copied (they don't even steal them nowadays) you will know that a merchant will process transactions even without having your name.

          http://privacylog.blogspot.com... [blogspot.com]

    • And it is regulated. http://rt.com/usa/bitcoin-sec-... [rt.com] So, more political theater...
  • Have some cryptic pictures on it, like the eye in a pyramid and some cryptic reference to schizoid imaginary people and can be use anonymously.

    Did it will be banned ?

    • by Narcocide (102829) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @09:52AM (#46356431) Homepage

      God, lets hope so. Only then can my long term goal of transitioning the US economy to Disney Dollars come to fruition.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Don't worry, Disney is working on that themselves ... the copyright extension was just the groundwork.

        Now that they own Pixar and Marvel and who knows what else, they're proceeding as planned.

        Soon, you may get your wish.

    • However, it is regulated. Theoretically... (Stop laughing!)
    • Screw that. Lets get some real cryptids on there. Lets replace George Washington with a picture of bigfoot. Lincoln place can be taken with a picture of the loch ness monster.

  • Ban the USD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Thursday February 27, 2014 @09:51AM (#46356423) Homepage Journal

    He should really work on banning the USD. It's used for commission of trillions of dollars worth of crimes every year and there's no real means of enforcement for [bona fide] money laundering operations [trust.org].

    I wonder if his office knows that bitcoin isn't really anonymous?

    • On the plus side, we could 'regulate' Mt. Gox's little 'accidentally disappearing into the night with ~$350 million unaccounted for' misunderstanding with the same seriousness that we employed to show HSBC that (blue collar) Crime Does Not Pay (~0.001%, and no pesky criminal charges) for about $3,500. A Small Price To Pay For Rule Of Law!
    • by RevWaldo (1186281)
      Notably cash is anonymous in legal transactions, but only up to a point:

      http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/... [irs.gov]

      I wonder if the IRS considers this applicable to *coin equivalent transactions as well.

      .
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ..how much he lost?

  • by LF11 (18760) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @09:53AM (#46356441) Homepage
    Ignore/Laugh/Fight/Win

    Bitcoin isn't anonymous, though, and it is quite regulated. Bitcoin is arguably the least anonymous form of value transaction we have (every transaction is publicly and permanently recorded), and if you think it is unregulated try running an exchange anywhere in the Western world.

    Personally, I think the first significant threat to bitcoin will be a cryptocurrency that really is anonymous.

    Something to keep in mind: they can make Bitcoin flatly illegal, but development and usage will simply go underground and continue to grow outside the U.S./Russia/China. U.S. regulations delay adoption but do not prevent it.
    • Well, we're at the fighting stage I guess

      Naw, we're still pretty squarely in the "laugh" stage. It's amusing to watch y'all rediscover the joys of bank panics.

      We'll be at the fight stage once the Bitcoin folks start seriously introducing independent regulatory bodies; governments will likely not be on board with that.

      Of course, being as the very soul of the Bitcoin movement is rooted in distrust of and independence from central regulation and oversight, I don't see that happening anytime soon.

      • by LF11 (18760)
        You may feel it is ridiculous, but the regulatory pressure has been increasing all over the world. It is effectively banned from normal transactions in both China and Russia, and very tightly controlled here in the US. This isn't recent, but Congress is clearly not laughing at this point.

        Of course, I think you are also right. Lots of people still laugh, and Congress really doesn't yet have a clue as to what mayhem this magical mystery internet money could end up causing. To me, bitcoin is to banking wha
        • bitcoin is to banking what guns are to feudal castles.

          Let's say, hypothetically, that we woke up tomorrow and the U.S. Treasury announced that they'd be abandoning the traditional definition of the USD and effectively re-launching it as a cryptocurrency.

          Would the Bitcoin community, as it exists today, be happy about this?

          If your answer is "no", then ask yourself: which is more important to today's Bitcoin community--the cryptocurrency itself, or the financial system that has grown around it?

          • It depends on what you mean about "happy" about it. IF the US replaced the USD with Cryptocurrency, one that mirrored all the favorable things we love about crypto currency (namely finite number of coins), then Yeah, I would be "happy" about it. It would mean we would get away from Private organizations like the FED from printing money to cause inflation so that we can cover up the theft called "DEBT".

            That alone would make me happy. It also means it won't actually happen, can't possibly happen with the two

            • by meglon (1001833)
              You should, perhaps, go look at some history on what happened when we were on the gold standard. Want economic growth? Forget about it. Want a loan to start a new business, buy a house, keep your current business humming along? Not a chance, unless of course you think that loan shark interest rates are just way, way, too low.

              A finite money supply means a finite economy, one that can't grow, and can't handle anything significant happening. It also means the wealthy will get more wealthy, and the poor
  • Once the coal-black West Virginian kiss of death has been administered,

    bitcoin is finished.

    Muhuhahahahahaaa!

  • The war on terrorist currencies (as they'll call them shortly).
  • I was worried about BTC crashing, but thankfully they're looking to outlaw it.

    Investment secured!

  • heavily regulation of Slashdot editorial skills.

  • I'm not a fan of crypto-currency. At the same time I'm not a fan of government involvement in regulating it.

    Let the people who use it work it out. Caveat Emptor.

  • by Type44Q (1233630) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @10:05AM (#46356555)

    WV Senator Calls For Ban On All Unregulated Cryptocurrencies

    And the rest of the world calls for a ban on incest.

    Alright, alright, I jest. But seriously, what do they call a girl in West Virginia who can outrun her brothers?

    A virgin. :p

    • by m93 (684512)
      I'm from WV, so I claim the right to tell another joke: What do you call two bumblebees in a plastic coke bottle? A West Virginia vibrator.
      • by Type44Q (1233630)

        I'm from WV, so I claim the right to tell another joke

        I have Scottish-immigrant hillbilly ancestors from the area so I claim the right to tell even more:

        Q: Why did O.J. want his trial moved to West Virginia?

        A: 'Cause everyone there has the same DNA...

        Q: Why do they like Thanksgiving so much in West Virginia?

        A: They like to pump kin.

  • by carlhaagen (1021273) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @10:08AM (#46356585)
    A banking goon wants cryptographic currency - a technological currency the banks cannot gain any control of - to be banned. How about that. What's next? A system for banning competition in business?
    • by Glock27 (446276)

      A banking goon wants cryptographic currency - a technological currency the banks cannot gain any control of - to be banned. How about that.

      Hah!

      What's next? A system for banning competition in business?

      We already have that, it's called "0bama Style Crony Capitalism"!

  • Can someone please explain to me why a ban is the first option for some lawmakers who don't understand a certain advancement, technology or social issue. State governments seem to use the "ban it first, ask questions later" philosophy on anything they don't fully comprehend. If this keeps up we will soon start banning theoretical physics.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Can someone please explain to me why a ban is the first option for some lawmakers who don't understand a certain advancement, technology or social issue. State governments seem to use the "ban it first, ask questions later" philosophy on anything they don't fully comprehend. If this keeps up we will soon start banning theoretical physics.

      The authoritarian leadership style [wikipedia.org] demands control and compliance. Doesn't matter whether you have an (R) or a (D) behind their name, a badge and a gun, or just a fancy ti

    • Better question... why haven't they banned the missunderstood tax code?
  • For a ban on washing machines too

  • There. Problem solved.

  • I'd usually ask what the hell is in the water down there for them to be pumping out (and electing, no less) such fine specimens of humanity; but seeing as this is West Virginia, and the locals get to ask the same question, often, would that be in poor taste?
  • Isn't that kind of a contradiction in terms?
  • American Senators sure have a lot of time to spend on impossible tasks and tilting at windmills, instead of learning about technology and displaying adaptability.

    If he wants to look good for banning some scary technology thing, maybe he should start with something easier - like getting porn off the Internet.

    • You don't have to learn when you have power, you can instead bend others to your will.

      Our biggest problem is entrenched power wielded by people who don't want to learn or progress.
  • Largely because I'm tired of hearing about it, moreover tired of hearing justifications for it based upon people who have no understanding of money outside of what some Austrian-economics kook told them.

  • Because that's going to work. Perhaps they should ban all foreign currencies while they're at it.
  • "Any industry that is unregulated, good, or service, and might provide profits a useful function or benefit for some group of the population, is hereby banned."

  • I don't see why the government should worry about these cryptocurrencies. As long as they don't back the currency, then the whole market for that currency is "enter at your own risk" and people who decide to use it are (or should be) doing so fully aware of that fact. Regarding it being anonymous, isn't USD cash also anonymous? What's the difference? In fact, probably bitcoin is less anonymous than cash.

    I don't personally like bitcoin and I have no desire nor reason to try to use it, but there's no g
    • by gander666 (723553) *
      The problem, how I see it, is that once enough people get burned (like the 6% of all extant BTC being stolen) they will demand quite vocally that the government prevent that from happening.

      All the statements of buyer beware, this is an investment, not guaranteed etc will be tossed out the window.
  • ...the socially comforting sound of a hammer meeting the nail.

  • The only way we're truly going to get a handle on this crime problem and protect the American people from themselves is to mandate installation of ROM-based drivers to report all keyboard presses, mouse events and screen gestures to the Department of Homeland Security's central analysis system where they can use Big Data Mining techniques to forewarn our protectors of imminent dangers to the public good.

    This may, of course, require modifications to CPU hardware architecture to override any attempts to sub

  • As banning online gambling did. And we all know how well that worked.

    It worked pretty damn well, actually.

  • He's a Democrat. You can tell that because they didn't post his party affiliation in the article. Had it been a Republican it would have read "Republican xyz who is a Republican from the Republican party did .......". To be honest, I'm surpised they didn't do the usual "Rep Joe Manchin" like they usually do in order to confuse people when a Democrat acts dishonestly
  • What jurisdiction has the authority to regulate inherently global cryptocurrencies? The UN perhaps?

    I suppose every federal jurisdiction has an ability to regulate some things about how the currency is used inside their borders (e.g. how exchanges physically located there work and how they have to report),

    is the definition of an unregulated currency a currency that no federal jurisdiction anywhere in the world, nor the UN, has regulated explicitly or implicitly yet?

    Or is this another case of someone convenie

  • How do you actually ban something that isn't run by any one entity? I guess you can make it illegal to use crypto currency for any exchange by the government controlled entities but that doesn't actually ban Bitcoin or anything else.
  • The problem for this gentleman is that he doesn't understand HOW it is regulated. Mister Senator feels that it should be centrally regulated by his faction, but, that's not how regulation works in the Bitcoin world. Regulation of Bitcoin is done through protocol consensus, it's entirely based on the individual users and stakeholders who are actively part of the Bitcoin network. This is a truly strange argument against Bitcoin, because Bitcoin is neither anonymous nor unregulated. It's pseudonymous and uses
  • Bitcoin and the others aren't anonymous. Not when everyone has access to the record of every transaction. Just because they don't have names on them doesn't mean anything. All law enforcement has to do is figure out the people involved in one transaction and they can start tracking their way back through all of them.. unlike normal cash.

    With the amount of information that DHS has on all of us they should have no problems doing this. Makes me kind of wonder about the identiy of Satoshi Nakomoto.

    Idiot Sen

  • Did he propose banning all crypto-currencies or only the high-powered, high-capacity ones?

Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. -- Bertrand Russell

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