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California Legalizes Bitcoins

Scott Lucas | June 30, 2014 | Story Politics

In California, the only thing stopping you from paying for your foie gras with a made up currency built by pasty nerds and named after an internet meme is that foie gras is illegal.

Fresh from having repealed last year's law that would have required latex gloves on restaurants workers, Governor Jerry Brown and the California state legislature have just legalized Bitcoins. And Dogecoins. And PandaCoins. Even the online currency known as "Offerings to Cthulhu." So fear not—you'll be able to pay for that grubby handful of beer nuts the bartender fists over to you with your choice of alternative currencies.

Before Governor Jerry Brown weekend signature of AB 129, written by Sacramento-area Democratic Roger Dickinson, California state law prohibited the use of anything but legal United States dollars as money. Brown did not comment on his reasoning for signing the bill into law. The proposal had previously passed the Assembly on a 52-11 vote and the Senate by a 28-3 margin.

The move was cheered by members of the digerati like Mark Andreeson, who tweeted his thanks after it was signed into law. The move comes on the heels of Gavin Newsom's announcement that he would accept bitcoins as campaign donations and and IRS ruling that treats them as currency for taxation purposes.

Though Jerry Brown did not issue a statement along with his signature, we like to imagine him as saying something like, "What is the measure of worth? Can it be captured in the digital realm? Or even by the United States dollar? Or is, as the Dalai Lama once told me, a currency simply a part of the veil of Maya that locks us into the cycle of samsara? In a sense, legalizing these currencies is but a step towards liberating ourselves from them."

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