The pair has written to Attorney General Eric Holder and the DEA’s Michele Leonhart pointing out the connection between Silk Road, a site for trading illicit drugs, and the hard-to-trace Bitcoin.
Though the Senators seem more interested in closing Silk Road itself, the letter also mentions Tor, the anonymizing network. Both of these technologies, with legitimate uses as well as illegitimate, could come under heavy fire from the U.S. government.
Reuters quotes one Bitcoin user saying that the government “can’t stop a peer-to-peer service.” But with the cooperation of other governments, it wouldn’t be hard to devalue the Bitcoin significantly by freezing Bitcoin exchange bank accounts and perhaps even the accounts of those buying the Bitcoins.
Given the hostility towards peer-to-peer file sharing from both corporations and governments, we can’t expect them to be able to distinguish between the technology and illegal acts that take advantage of the technology.