Bitcoin/USD: US senator: No need for special e-currency legislation

on Jan 8, 2014
Updated: Oct 21, 2019

**, Wednesday 8 January:**

Interviewed yesterday by CNBC, Senator Tom Carper (D: Delaware) recognised both the positives and negatives of digital currencies but said that for now he is against a regulatory crackdown on bitcoin and its clones. Carper, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, shared that US law enforcement agencies have told him there is no need for additional legislation on bitcoin, at least for now.

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In the interview Senator Carper compared bitcoin with the Internet, in respect of which the early message was, “let’s not kill the baby in the cradle”. Carper, whose committee heard submissions in November on e-currencies, acknowledged that bitcoin “can enhance transactions between sellers and buyers, it can actually help international trade, lower the cost of transactions”. He accepted though that bad things could also happen, such as money laundering and drug transactions. “Meanwhile, let’s see what kind of good can flow from” bitcoin, urged the senator.

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Carper confessed to not knowing if bitcoin “will ever become a legitimate mainstream currency” but called it an option US legislators should not ignore. “The theme that emerged from our hearing was ‘let’s keep an eye on the bad stuff, tamp it down, find out what kind of legislation that we need in order to tamp it down’, and that’s what we’re doing.”

The Delaware Democrat praised federal agencies, especially the Internal Revenue Service, Treasury, FBI, Justice and Homeland Security, for working together to analyse and give their assessments of digital currencies. His committee has invited the agencies to propose additional procedures and policies they think necessary regarding bitcoin and its imitators.

“They’ve told us right now that we don’t need more legislation”, Carper told CNBC. “They think they have the powers they need to go after the bad stuff.”
It’s worth noting though, that the IRS has yet to issue firm guidance on taxation for e-currencies.
The Bitcoin Foundation, a bitcoin advocacy group, applauded Carper’s green-light approach on the crypto-currency. Jered Kenna, CEO of bitcoin exchange Tradehill, said that he likewise sees no need for new regulation, albeit that legislators should decide “where bitcoin fits within the existing structure”.


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