An Open letter to Senator Manchin

Reprinted from the comment section of the Cnet Article found @

From user  jratcliff63367 

My Open Letter to the Senator:

I appreciate your concern for the citizens of this country, but I am afraid that you may have a deep lack of understanding of the technology underlying bitcoin.

A few things you should be aware of.

(1) Bitcoin is a protocol, not a currency per-se.  It is a way to transmit information over the Internet and that information can represent ‘value’ if the sender chooses to treat it that way.  From a technical standpoint, it actually cannot be shut down without shutting down the Internet itself.

(2) This technology/protocol cannot be un-invented.  It has already been copied thousands of times and is replicated all over the world in multiple forms.  Banning bitcoin is like trying to ban email, twitter, or text messages.  It’s really not practical.

(3) Bitcoin is already being regulated by the US government.  All exchanges which convert bitcoins into US dollars and back are under strict regulatory requirements.

(4) Bitcoin works off of an open source public ledger that is 100% transparent.  It does not come even close to representing a significant problem for law enforcement more than cash does today; this isn’t just my opinion this is what was said at recent Senate hearings on the topic.  It is important to remember that, of course, more illegal activity is done with the US dollar by orders upon orders of magnitude greater than ever has been done with bitcoin.  Yes, criminals try to use bitcoins for illegal activities, just as criminals will try to exploit any value system, but they have been caught, repeatedly, and shut down.  We don’t make the US dollar illegal simply because criminals use it.  We don’t shut down the Internet, and email, and text messages, because criminals use it either.  Likewise, shutting down bitcoin (which technically can’t even be done) makes about as much sense.

(5) Many people in government and the technology industry have been steadily working together to create a better regulatory environment for this powerful technology which could change the world of finance and lift untold millions out of poverty.

(6) Our existing financial system uses ancient 1950’s technology simply to transmit value around.  How is it that in 2014 when we can send an email or text message instantaneously it still takes days for money to be transferred around the world?  Why is it, in 2014, that when the technology has been in existence for over 20 years to protect users of banking services from being victims of identity theft, still the banking industry has done nothing about it?  Every year billions of dollars are lost and millions of people suffer from identity theft and credit card fraud.  Cryptocurrencies offer protection from these kinds of abuses.

(7) Banks have been predatory on the poor, raking them on service fees and overdraft charges.  Billions of people on the planet lack basic banking services but do have access to a cell phone.  The *protocol* in bitcoin affords the opportunity for all of these unbanked throughout the world to have access to international financial services.

(8) Realize that digital value transfer is going to be done by the banking system either way.  We should be in favor of free-market competition in this space and not give it up entirely to the predatory international banking system.

(9) You talk about crime that is being done with bitcoin while, apparently, ignoring the fact that international banks have been knowingly laundering hundreds of billions of dollars of drug money.  Not a single person has gone to jail.  If you are so legitimately concerned about financial crime, why not address these far more egregious offences as well?

Thank you for your time and considering in this matter.  I implore you to become better educated about the work being done to bring this incredible technology to the world and, please remember, it cannot be ‘un-invented’.  Therefore it is better to work with industry partners than to send all of this business elsewhere in the world or give up the space to the International bankers who will continue to operate as they have been doing, which is to take advantage of the poor, deny access, and aid in criminal enterprise.