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US Sen. Joe Manchin asks for ban on Bitcoin

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U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., wants to stop a new currencytechnology before it gets too far off the ground.

Manchin sent a letter to federal regulators Feb. 26 asking fora ban on Bitcoin, a virtual currency that currently is unregulated and has beenlinked to use in some illicit activities, such as drug trafficking and moneylaundering.

Manchin also expressed concerns about the effect Bitcoincould have on the American economy.

According to information from Manchin's office, each Bitcoinis defined by a public address and a private key, so it not only is a token ofvalue, but also a method for transferring the value. Bitcoin allows foranonymous and irreversible transactions, Manchin's letter states.

"The very features that make Bitcoin attractive to some alsoattract criminals who are able to disguise their actions from law enforcement,"Manchin said in the letter. "Due to Bitcoin's anonymity, the virtual market hasbeen extremely susceptible to hackers and scam artists stealing millions fromBitcoin's users."

Manchin also went on to say "more than a handful ofcountries, and their banking systems, have cautioned against the use ofBitcoin," and he said it has been banned in Thailandand China.