Mobile Commerce Insider Featured Article

March 04, 2014

TSA Demands to Search Passenger for Bitcoin...Slow Clap Please

From controversy surrounding full body scans, to detaining people for sharp key chains, the TSA never fails to impress and this week was no exception. Davi Baker of “Bitcoin not Bombs,” an organization dedicated to facilitating the opening of the Bitcoin world to entrepreneurs hoping to begin accepting the new currency, was detained by the Transportation Security Agency after they asked to search his bag for Bitcoins.



Lets all take a moment here to appreciate the measured and well-informed nature of the TSA officers. Bitcoin is a digital currency; it normally has no physical form. In November of 2013 the only existent physical form of Bitcoin was suspended. So called Casascius coins were actual Bitcoins crafted from different metals that contained an individual “key” attached to a certain amount of Bitcoins.

However Davi Baker had none of these on him. He did however have promotional material for the organization, which included buttons, hoodies, and pins that included the Blockchain logo on them, which is similar to the Bitcoin logo but not exactly the same. Perhaps the TSA agents thought this is what they saw and didn’t know any better. So Davi Baker went on to be searched for something that didn’t actually exist. However, lets take a few steps back here.

Many outlets are covering this event, and most are calling out the TSA. However Davi Baker’s blog chronicles a very terse and tense interaction with the agents. Self admittedly snarky comments were hurled at the TSA agents and a series of awkward interactions only heightened the tension.

Baker later went on to reassess the situation toward the end of his blog post and admit some missteps on his part in the process. What should be taken away however is that the TSA does not look lightly on its policy to investigate whether a passenger is attempting to travel internationally with over $10,000. It should be taken note that Bitcoin appears to be within their realm of search, though perhaps without a full understanding. Know the rules, know your rights, don’t be snarky. 




Edited by Cassandra Tucker




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