People often cast nasty judgment on Bitcoin. They say, “Bitcoin is just used as money for drugs, prostitutes, and other unsavory behavior.” They generally condemn the currency as a conduit for nefarious activity in order to undermine its credibility.
However, these attempts to castigate Bitcoin and its user base are intellectually dishonest and take away from the usability, utility, and luxury. They dismiss all of the white market economic activity taking place, as well as the good things about black markets; but far worse, they make it seem like using bitcoin for many of these underground activities are inherently immoral.
For example, back in August 2016, Vice wrote a slimy article suggesting that bitcoin was just being used as a way for people to commit seemingly sinister acts:
Following last night’s episode of Black Market: Dispatches looking at bitcoin-driven commerce on the dark web, we’ve interviewed six of those users, most of whom have asked for their identities be kept anonymous. They use bitcoin for buying drugs, selling sex, evading genome-investigation regulations, exploiting supermarket-account hacks, gambling in Las Vegas, and more. Here are some examples of the type of things people use bitcoin to pay for.
Bitcoin Should be Used in the Counter-Economy; Individual Autonomy
The Vice article author does not outright shun Bitcoin. He implies it in a smarmy, furtive, and self-congratulatory way to prime Vice’s readers to have an automatic reaction of disdain for the currency.
The even deeper irony of the article is that many of the actions it loosely passes off as bad are actually good. There is nothing inherently wrong with using the black market to sell drugs or purchase sex (prostitution).
Those are personal choices that apply to an individual’s own body and mind. Anyone who tries to control a person’s drive to have sex or use drugs is essentially a tyrant trying to subdue another person. It is not the moral high ground to harm someone if they are merely pursuing their own version of happiness. This is referred to as individual sovereignty, and it is important.
The Black Market is Safer for Drugs and Sex
What might be even more important than the moral argument for black markets is the argument for safety. A lot of times the merchandise purchased on the dark webs or cryptomarkets are safer. If it is a drug, it is likely to be purer and contains fewer adulterants.
Jame Redman, writing for Bitcoin.com, provided some information on this fact:
“The findings also reveal that drugs purchased on these marketplaces are typically better quality, though at a relatively higher price.
Quality of product sold on the deep web are typically far superior to narcotics found on the street. Energy Control, a Spanish think-tank, has tested some samples to discover that purity levels are a lot higher by comparison. The group found cocaine’s purity to be at 71.6% as opposed to the 48% product purchased on Spanish streets. Judith Aldridge of Manchester University explains that since the purity is higher, the price is actually lower because the customer gets more bang for his buck.
In this sense, trying to use black markets to condemn bitcoin is silly, because the merchandise purchased is going to be better than what is being sold on the streets. It will be purer, and there is less likelihood of violence involved.
In the case of prostitution, sex workers have the option to choose their pimps and allocate finances more appropriately. It is an economic advantage, and it is also safer than braving the streets in search of nookie.
Obviously, if the transaction takes place over the internet, and it does not force dealer and buyer to necessarily meet in person (in the case of drugs), it is unlikely that blood will be spilled as a result of that transaction. Purchasing anything on the black market with any currency is a good thing. It is safer, better, and keeps government agents out of people’s business, although it is true that it is not a perfect solution regarding safety or morality.
Conclusion: Personal Needs and Rash Judgments
Not every black market transaction the Vice piece mentioned was addressed in this article. Obviously, there are abusive and dangerous purchases that have been made over the dark web.
The point here is there are benefits to having a dark web and black market activity with cryptocurrency. It frees people from the venomous clutches of government and provides them with a better product.
It allows people to conduct transactions in a simpler and safer fashion; and in the case of drugs or sex sales, it provides economic actors with access to more options for feedback. This is a form of protection that prevents malicious and dangerous activities from taking place.
Without these cyber safeguards, the internet would not be useful in protecting the customer or the buyer. It would be an online, real-life version of Mad-Max and the Thunderdome. Luckily, what we have instead are prosperous and safer black markets thanks to the ingenuity and creativity of renegade developers.
Thus, bitcoin will continue expanding as it reaches new users, and there is no reason for people to castigate it because others choose to use it to satisfy their personal needs.
It turns out that people’s nasty judgments are often rash judgments.
I say purchase sex and drugs with Bitcoin at your leisure—it is likely better than using a street vendor.
Do you think Bitcoin and cryptocurrency will continue to expand the black market?
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