Sen. Joe Manchin III is calling on federal securities regulators to prohibit the virtual currency known as Bitcoin.
The West Virginia Democrat expressed his concerns about the virtual currency in a letter sent to Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew and several other key federal officials.
“The very features that make Bitcoin attractive to some also attract criminals who are able to disguise their actions from law enforcement,” Manchin wrote. “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.”
Manchin’s letter comes on the heels of a Bitcoin exchange’s apparent collapse. The value of the Bitcoin currency exists only in the virtual universe (there’s no peg to a guarantee in the outside world), meaning that actions by U.S. regulators envisioned by Manchin would cause trouble for the market.
“The clear ends of Bitcoin for either transacting in illegal goods and services or speculative gambling make me weary of its use,” Manchin wrote. “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.”
Manchin’s full letter appears below: