Congressman Jared Polis is calling on the Treasury to ban physical dollars in response to Senator Manchin’s plea to ban Bitcoin. “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,” wrote Polis in a statement.
To be sure, the Congressman is being cheeky. “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,” said Spokesperson Scott Overland. “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.”
The rather bold request comes on the heels of renewed calls to ban Bitcoin, a controversial, completely digital “crypto-currency” that allows for anonymous transactions–a currency that has been associated with black market activity. Bitcoin has strong champions from the libertarian wing of the tech community, who prefer an untraceable alternative to an official government-backed currency (the dollar).
Unfortunately, in addition to facilitating the black market, Bitcoin is also susceptible to wild swings in value and mass theft. Congressmen who worry Bitcoin will hurt uninformed investors want it regulated or banned entirely.
“The clear use of dollar bills for transacting in illegal goods, anonymous transactions, tax fraud, and services or speculative gambling make me wary of their use. Before the United States 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,” said Polis.
All told it is a rather clever way to reveal some of the hypocrisy surrounding the ban on Bitcoin. At the very least, it’ll continue an important debate.