Opinion: 152-Year-Old Law Unlikely to Stop Bitcoin

Super User
By Super User January 8, 2014 15:09 Updated

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Opinion: 152-Year-Old Law Unlikely to Stop Bitcoin

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Bitcoin Small LogoThere’s a bit of hoopla circulating on the web today surrounding a 152-year-old civil war-era law that could potential make some bitcoin transactions illegal. Except for the fact it won’t.

Wired did a great job explaining this law — dubbed the Stamp Payments Act of 1862. It was dusted off by the Congressional Research Service in preparing a report for congress on the digital currency, and mandates that “any note, check, memorandum, token or other obligation, for a less sum than $1, intended to circulate as money or to be received or used in lieu of lawful money of the United States.”

It is being said that bitcoin may be considered a token, and the frequency of bitcoin transactions below $1 are not-surprisingly high. So will this old-as-dirt law stop bitcoin?

Unlikely.

Consider the vast amount of payment services already out there. A ton of users are sending under $1.00 payments on services like PayPal every day. As kids, many of us visited the arcade with “tokens” that held mere cents in value. Hell, even Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski managed to get a $0.69 check written out at the grocery store without being taken out by a SWAT team.

Now, relax. If there’s any legislation to be weary of, it’s the laws of the future, which undoubtedly will come about as bitcoin continues to gain traction. What do you think?

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A bitcoin enthusiast residing in Massachusetts, Eric got his news-writing start on his own technology blog from 2009-2011. He's also written for PetaPixel - a prominent photography blog. By day, he works in IT and has worked as a wire photographer for Retna. Updated
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