Bitcoin Roundup: Senator Wants to Ban It, Chinese Still Excited, Price Still Stable


As I noted the other day, people delight in interpreting every bit of bad news related to Bitcoin as a sign that it's dead, despite evidence that people's interest in owning and using it, as measured by price, is barely affected; West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) can't wait, though, and calls for a (useless and impossible) ban of the cryptocoin, The Hill reports:

Manchin, in a letter to Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen and other officials, said the administration should join other countries in banning it as a currency.

antanacoins / Foter / CC BY-SA

Manchin said he was worried about criminal use of the currency to launder money and traffic drugs, and warned it could pose a threat to the U.S. economy — especially if other countries get ahead of the U.S. in banning or regulating it.

"The clear ends of Bitcoin for either transacting in illegal goods and services or speculative gambling make me weary [sic] of its use," he told the heads of the Treasury Department, Federal Reserve, Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Future Trading Commission, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

"Before the U.S. 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."

While the Chinese government has made moves to quash Bitcoin use in its nation, it isn't working that well, the South China Morning Post reports:

Since Tuesday, more than 30,000 bitcoins have changed hands in China. That's four times the usual trade volume…

Bobby Lee, chief executive of one of mainland China's biggest exchanges, BTC China, said: "Much more bitcoin is flowing around the system in China."

Hao Hong, managing director and chief China strategist at Bank of Communications, said: "I think people are trying to trade the market…."

It marks a strong return to the market for Chinese investors after the People's Bank of China moved to cool interest in bitcoin.

Mt. Gox, the big Bitcoin exchange whose disappearance launched this week's wave of "Bitcoin is dead" cheering, is the subject of a federal subpoena, likely sent pre-collapse, Reuters notes.

And the Los Angeles Times editorial page, which intelligently noted today that we need to "Let investors ride out bitcoin booms and busts," should talk to its news pages, which the other day ran a story under a headline that was not supported in any way by the facts or what's even in the article itself, "Bitcoin virtual currency is on verge of collapse."

Bitcoin price as it dies, dies, dies? Still in the $580-600 range. Which, depending on whether you are looking at five months ago or three months ago, is either a huge raise or a huge dip, but still barely affected so far by the death blow of Mt. Gox.