The senior United States Senator from Idaho, Michael Dean Crapo, has stated US can’t ban bitcoin due to its global nature.
While chairing the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, the senator said:
“If the United States were to decide we don’t want cryptocurrency to happen in the United States and tried to ban it, I’m pretty confident we couldn’t succeed in doing that because this is a global innovation.”
He then wondered how foreign companies could be prevented from participating in US to ICO, with Jeremy Allaire, Circle’s CEO, stating:
“Some of these cryptocurrencies are literally just a piece of open-source software. There’s nothing else. It exists on the internet, it’s open-source software, anyone can implement it, it runs wherever the internet runs, and these have a monetary policy where the assets are algorithmically generated . . .
That is a challenge that every government in the world now faces: that money, digital money, will move frictionlessly everywhere in the world at the speed of the internet.”
The hearing was more about Libra, the Facebook stablecoin which now might or might not launch, with one senator stating they went from worrying about whether or not cryptocurrencies are too private, to Libra and wondering if cryptocurrencies are private enough.
Something like bitcoin can be private for the people, but not for entities like the government. That’s because tracking the movement of small amounts – and by small say 10 bitcoin – can be very difficult because you never know if it changed hands or if it was moved to another address by the same owner.
If however you’re tracking say 100,000 bitcoins, then it’s a lot easier to make that educated guess. Thus we can see for example when ₿200,000 move and wonder why.
Meaning bitcoin can be both transparent and private depending on the circumstances and depending on the level of effort utilized to increase privacy – as well as presumably depending on the level of skill of whoever is trying to track.
While something like Libra is similar to the banking system where there is no privacy for the little people as they can see what you bought for lunch, including what Senators bought for lunch, but we can’t see what the government bought with say $2 billion.
In addition for something like Libra, as it is corporate controlled and run, banning it would be very easy as you just tell Facebook don’t to it.
While for bitcoin there are about 10,000 bitcoin nodes in addition to an estimated 100,000 nodes that don’t allow external connections.
Some of those known 10,000 bitcoin nodes run on the Onion network, about 2%. With plenty presumably running on VPN.
They are very globally distributed, with Europe interestingly running more nodes than US, much of them clustered in what is rising as some sort of an “underground” coding centre: Berlin.
Then there’s Singapore, Russia, everywhere, with the nodes map a somewhat good indicator of the level of technological advancement.
Shutting down these nodes is probably impossible because they’re everywhere and in some instances you don’t even know where they are.
Nor has any law been passed in any prominent country to declare bitcoin illegal. If such law is passed in a country, then obviously there can be little doubt they are or are descending into authoritarianism.
The closest to it is perhaps China, where they have banned centralized crypto exchanges. In that old fashion of the internet, they’re being routed around.