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Bitcoin Bill Could Pose Problems for Bitcoin Owners with USCBP

Transcript of the above video:

It recently came to my attention, I read up a lot on things like Bitcoin,  I'm not personally particularly invested in those kinds of instruments but I keep track of the news surrounding Bitcoin because some of it touches on certain areas and certain aspects of clients as well as this interest that the firm has here in Bangkok.

It recently came to my attention to the website Zero Hedge in an article entitled "You won't believe this stupid new law against cash and Bit Coin." They go ahead and cite what has been called, it’s “Senate Bill 1241, S-1241” I should say "Combating money laundering, terrorist financing and counterfeiting act of 2017." And basically, the broad strokes of this proposed legislation, they would add “prepaid access devices in digital currency” after money orders in the United States Federal Code with respect to regulations pertaining to customs and border protection.

Now to stay away from sort of the legalese,  to just get into the nuts and bolts of this, basically it would seem that if this law is enacted and amends the United States code accordingly, then the amendments would create a situation whereby if one were traveling in the United States and one had a so-called digital wallet or own digital currency over a certain amount of money namely, at least at present it would appear to be $10,000 in value that if one did not fill out a form presumably declaring the existence of this digital currency, that one had this digital currency, that one owned this digital currency, it could create customs problems. What are we talking about with respect to customs problems? Well, fines and possibly criminal penalties appear to be associated with this proposed legislation.

At the time of this filming, it's fairly difficult to say exactly how this is going to shake out but it appears very clear to me, that moving forward, tax and customs authorities are looking at the digital realm with respect to compliance and enforcement. U.S. Customs and Border Protection itself just across the board in the past few months has in a sense, been “the eye of certain storms, but more than that, just over the course of the past 10 years, Customs and Border Protection enforcement mechanisms and things of that nature have become increasingly cutting-edge and this law just appears to be one more step in the increasingly forward-moving evolution as to how Customs and Border Protection views things like financial instruments; clearly they're amending that term to include things like digital currencies.

The interesting thing about this is one could be moving to the United States sort of digitally naked. Don't have a cellphone on one's person. Don't have a laptop on one's person, no tablet, just literally don't have any devices and it still appears that it will be required that those individuals who own more than  say, $10,000 worth of Bitcoin will be required to still go ahead and disclose that information before entering the United States. How this is going to shake out remains to be seen. I think as with things like passport revocation associated with IRS delinquencies, I think it is very safe to assume that something akin to this legislation is going to be enacted within the next probably 24 or 36 months from the time of this filming. It may not look exactly like this piece of legislation. For instance, I could see it being possible that various interest groups lobby the United States Congress and perhaps get the amount of Bitcoin that requires disclosure say, lifted for example going from $10,000 up to a $100,000.

Again, this is all speculation but it seems reasonable to me to assume that perhaps somebody would say "Hey, $10,000 in the year 2017 in Bitcoin, that really isn't that much money." But that being said, that's not exactly how the enforcement agencies really look at this stuff. They look at it more from sort of lack of black and white perspective where they basically say, "Look, $10,000 in our estimation somebody who's moving around, globe-trotting with more than that money is somebody that's sort of person of interest to us (for lack of better term)."

So that being said, how this exactly is going to play out remains to be seen. But I think it's fairly safe to assume that something akin to this legislation is going to be promulgated, at least in the foreseeable future.