Senator Joe Manchin’s Bitcoin comments became infamous in the Bitcoin community after he called to ban the nascent cryptocurrency. Today, the story has changed as the Washington Post’s Brian Fung reports that he has come around somewhat on the topic of Bitcoin.
But it’s still very obvious from his quotes that he didn’t want to back down and that he still doesn’t really understand Bitcoin. Senator Manchin says that recent moves by the IRS, Bitcoin entrepreneurs, and other government officials (US and foreign) have “buoyed” his confidence in the potential of Bitcoin. Senator Manchin says “Sure, it makes us look at it differently,” (uh-oh) and then continues, saying: “It sure will. When I said what I said, it was because it was totally unencumbered. The whole thing lent itself to a lot of improprieties — especially in the underworld, if you will, whether it be drugs or arms. Those were the things I was concerned about.”
Sure you were, Senator. I’m glad you have the best interests of the American people on top of your priority list, and not, say, the priorities of the banking, finance, and mining conglomerates. Regardless of that, it’s very odd to say that Bitcoin was “totally unencumbered” a month ago but that that has changed. What has changed? The IRS said that it is property for taxation purposes? Surprise, surprise–property is property.
However, far and away the most embarassing line is the final quote. Senator Manchin says: “There still has to be transparency and a reserve base, there has to be something that’s tangible. If the feds can’t get their hands around it to where they can secure it, then I would be very leery of investing in it or trading with it or buying with it.”
Out of that tumultuous mess of imbecilic statements, the first remains the most amusing: Bitcoin needs transparency, says the Senator. The cryptocurrency that is 100% completely transparent all the time, no questions asked. Completely impossible to subvert. It IS the essence of transparency. One could even say that it is… transparent.
Transparent, unlike, for instance:
- The campaign contributions Senator Manchin and other politicians receive from PACs as a result of various campaign finance reporting loopholes
- The NSA/FBI/CIA/DOD
- The Federal government as a whole
Yes, Bitcoin needs transparency. No, it is the bright light in a darkness cast by the Federal government. The Federal government needs illumination, needs transparency, so that the roaches can skitter back into hiding.
Also, apparently, Bitcoin needs a reserve base. Like what? An FDIC for Bitcoin? Sure, if you like. But it doesn’t NEED it. Companies fail, customers lose money, better companies come about. The cycle persists.
Or do you mean an asset which creates an underlying value for it? Like tying it to gold?
Why would Bitcoin need that if the US Dollar doesn’t? The US Dollar is secured by nothing other than the faith and credit of the US Government (and the planet’s greatest military might several times over). Bitcoin is secured by the decentralized network of computers that creates the mining community and thus the blockchain. Sounds like enough to me.
The Senator isn’t finished though. Apparently, unless the ‘feds’ can get their hands around it and secure it, it’s too risky. What does that mean? How would you go about securing something like Bitcoin as the US Government? Are you going to make it into a second currency and create an FDIC and similar related organizations for Bitcoin? Regardless of what that means, apparently the lack of it makes Bitcoin “too risky…to buy with.” So, I should just hold onto these instead of spending them? Got it.
When you realize that you can’t take control of Bitcoin, that you can’t stop it, that you can’t prevent it, then, and only then, have you understood it, Senator.