Colorado Democrat Jared Polis is certainly a huge proponent of bitcoin. About a month ago, Polis wrote a satirical letter to Congress calling for the immediate ban of the U.S. dollar. Senator Joe Manchin had urged the U.S. Treasury to ban bitcoin since it can be used in illegal transactions and offered some degree of anonymity. However, Polis noted that the same could be said about the U.S. dollar.
"Dollar bills allow for anonymous and irreversible transactions...The U.S. Dollar was present by the truck load in Saddam Hussein's compound, by the carload when Noriega was arrested for drug trafficking, and by the suitcase full in the Watergate case...
If the U.S. government is going to get into the business of banning currency because it fluctuates in value and can be used by criminals, Congress must immediately pass legislation to ban the dollar."
Interestingly enough, Manchin has backed off on his bitcoin ban, and has begun to "look at [bitcoin] differently." However, Polis isn't done yet. He hopes to further educate Congressmen about bitcoin by demoing a Robocoin bitcoin ATM on Capitol Hill. The ATM maker's CEO Jordan Kelly felt "honored to be the first Bitcoin company welcomed with open arms to demo on Capitol Hill," and wrote the following invitation:
You are cordially invited to a demonstration of Robocoin, the world’s first bitcoin kiosk for buying and selling the popular and controversial digital currency. Come see a Robocoin demo, hear a brief bitcoin talk from Congressman Jared Polis, try buying bitcoin yourself and ask your burning bitcoin questions. This will be fun, plus you’ll see how Robocoin is raising the bar on KYC / AML compliance in bitcoin. Welcome to the future of anti-fraud, anti-identify theft and anti-money laundering – this is customer protection built for the 21st century.
The event will take place on 8 April 2014 from 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM in the Rayburn House Office Building, the largest congressional office building at a whopping 2.375 million square feet.
However, it will remain to be seen whether or not this demo will have a significant, positive impact on Congress. Unfortunately, using a Robocoin ATM is a bit of a headache. As CCN's Caleb Chen found out, Robocoin does not offer a smooth, quick ATM visit. Instead, new users have to first verify their identity with a phone number, government ID, palm scan, and current photo. Once this information is reviewed, the initial setup is complete. However, the delays don't end here. Robocoin requires one confirmation for every bitcoin transaction, which can take hours. The surest way to convince Congress of the merits of bitcoin would be to show them its advantages. However, the tedious process that Robocoin requires might fail to do so. If Jared Polis's goal is general acceptance of bitcoin in the United States, then he needs to show lawmakers why bitcoin is easier to use and better than the U.S. dollar.
Headline image from Wikipedia.