Are we okay with accepting the uncomfortable truth that bad people will use certain tools to their advantage to ensure that we do not curb innovation and overall freedom?
Twitter is abuzz this morning after Representative Patrick McHenry from North Carolina joined Andrew Sorkin and the Squawk Box crew to discuss Libra and Bitcoin. The buzz is currently growing as McHenry took the floor during the Senate Finance Committee hearing this morning to proclaim, "The world that Satoshi Nakamoto, author of the Bitcoin white paper, envisioned and others are building is an unstoppable force. We should not attempt to deter this innovation. Governments who have tried have failed."
Uncle Marty certainly wasn't expecting to wake up to this type of boldness from a politician. Mr. McHenry seems to be a shining beacon of hope in an otherwise dark abyss of government incompetence. However, I don't want to focus on his comments in this letter but the framing of the questions that were posited to him by Andrew Sorkin.
"In the United States, for example, if you said Coinbase cannot accept money from US customers. [...] If it ever gets mainstream [...] do people (the G7) say that Bitcoin will live in the shadows, it won't live in the mainstream?"
The campaign to tar and feather Bitcoin has begun in earnest and it will be relentless from here on out. They are going to throw the kitchen sink at this system. Bitcoin is so free, open and untamable that it scares the shit out of the people who have been tasked with keeping the current faltering system afloat for as long as possible. Bitcoin will be painted as the enabler of all drug use, terrorist activity, money laundering, and tax evasion that goes on in the world. And, hey, if we're being honest with ourselves here, it will definitely be used for all of those use cases at some point. Obviously not ideal, but so goes the nature of a truly open, censorship-resistant distributed system.
The question we then have to ask ourselves and begin positing to combat these weak narratives is, "Is the alternative that much better? More importantly, is it any fairer?"
Why is this? Because the US Dollar and the current KYC/AML'd financial system enables these activities to a far greater extent at the moment. And we, as a "so-ci-ety" have to ask ourselves if we're okay with a two-tiered justice system. Do we want to cede our freedom of financial sovereignty and privacy to a rigged system? A system which allows you to break these laws as long as you're able to afford the cost of doing business.
Or are we willing to fight for an even playing field that acknowledges the potential for bad people to use this tool just as they can take advantage of, say, the wheel? Are we okay with accepting the uncomfortable truth that bad people will use certain tools to their advantage to ensure that we do not curb innovation and overall freedom? I sure hope so.
How about instead of hurting individuals living under despotic governments with bombs and sanctions that do more to aid terrorism, money laundering and drug trafficking than they do to deter them, we focus on breaking down the barriers to economic activity in the Digital Age? Give peace a chance.
This song is such a beautiful mindfuck that seems apt for this issue.