Senator Warns Unregulated Bitcoin Leaves Americans Holding A “Valueless Currency”

Senator Joe Manchin is calling for either strict regulation or an outright ban on the controversial digital currency Bitcoin. He argues in a letter to the Federal Reserve [PDF], that as countries such as China ban Bitcoin, “Americans will be left holding the bag on a valueless currency”.

Bitcoin is an anonymous digital cryptocurrency that has become an increasingly popular way to buy products and transfer money online, but it makes it easier to buy black market drugs and weapons. Bitcoin’s troubles have been exacerbated by wild swings in value, as well as the theft of millions from notable Bitcoin exchange Mt.Gox.

The U.S. Treasury has confirmed that it will not go after those who mine Bitcoin. However, New York officials have announced plans to regulate it in the near future.

The legality of any such regulation aside, the current Congress is one of most unproductive in history, so it’s unlikely that they could muster the support necessary to tackle a low-priority issue.

A spokesman confirmed to Forbes that the senator isn’t exactly sure how he will regulate Bitcoin. We’ve reached out to his office to see if he is, in fact, calling for an outright ban or just strict regulation.