One week after Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia called for the government to “prohibit this dangerous currency” in a letter addressed to the treasury, Congressman Jared Polis has countered by calling for a ban on physical dollars.
Polis wrote in a statement that:
“The exchange of dollar bills, including high denomination bills, is currently unregulated and has allowed users to participate in illicit activity, while also being highly subject to forgery, theft, and loss.”
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies recorded on a blockchain-type ledger technically provide magnitudes more transparency than physical cash. Everything is recorded and everything is public. The only exception is the explicit identity of an individual behind a transaction, not a great hurdle for any sophisticated law enforcement agency.
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To be sure, the congressman was not entirely serious with his comments. Spokesperson Scott Overland clarifies that:
“This is just a satirical version of Senator Manchin’s letter, meant to draw attention to the fact that bitcoins are not any more susceptible to the problems that the Senator points out than dollars. Congressman Polis is not actually calling for a ban on physical currency, but hopes this helps move the debate forward so we can come up with ways to improve bitcoins, not ban them.”
Polis gives it away with his other comment. Referring to physical dollars and how they can be used anonymously and fraudulently, he urges regulators to “prohibit this dangerous currency” from harming hard-working Americans- the same terminology used by Senator Manchin.
On can expect greater unity and progress on this front when officials at the federal level take a cue from their counterparts at the state level. Benjamin Lawsky, Superintendent of the Department Financial Services (DFS) for the State of New York, for example, has gone to great lengths in engaging with the Bitcoin community, acquiring a deep knowledge on the topic and maintaining very open lines of communication with the media on the matter.