Rebutting the Red State: Bitcoin Banning Demagoguery

An article on Bitcoin recently appeared on Redstate.com. The author, Neil Stevens, said it was time to ban Bitcoin. Stevens stated that Bitcoin was an “anarchic currency,” and that it does not protect property rights. It “resists attempts to enforce property rights,” he argued. He ventured further into crazy town by suggesting that Bitcoin is a “criminal currency.” 

Also read: Sizzling Summer Bitcoin Wrap up

What does Stevens mean when he utters emotionally volatile rhetoric like “anarchic currency” and “criminal currency”? He suggests that digital money is outside the control of authorities and there is no recourse for theft victims. He is wrong about most of his preconceptions and non-arguments. He mainly spews half-truths and fear-infused propaganda.

Bitcoin Anarchy and Tracking Cryptocurrency

Graphic1He is partly correct about one thing, though. Bitcoin is anarchic. But not for the reasons he suggests. Bitcoin is decentralized and peer-to-peer. The currency functions outside the scope of government, because government has a tendency to steal and print money uncontrollably and irresponsibly. In other words, Bitcoin was created as a countermeasure. It was intended to balance the playing field and stop government crimes. If Stevens truly worries about criminality, he would venerate and evangelize Bitcoin for its ability to disrupt public wrongdoing; he should not vie to demonize and ban it.

The main thrust of his argument is inaccurate, too. Bitcoin can be tracked. It is pseudonymous. Many people have already been arrested for using Bitcoin in illegal activities. They have had their Bitcoin transactions followed and ferreted out. The currency can also be given back to other people if it is hunted down and “authorities” uncover private keys. It is totally false that people have no recourse if they have bitcoins stolen. The blockchain publicly records all transactions. Thus, it takes ingenuity to use the protocol in total darkness and commit certain crimes. Even dark wallets and multiple keys may not guarantee anonymity. It is true, however, that Bitcoin cannot be forced back into a wallet after it is sent.

Carelessness Leads to Theft; Bitcoin Does not Threaten Property

Many cases involving Bitcoin theft demonstrate carelessness or ignorance on behalf of the user. Bitcoin is a financial “push” system, which means money can only be sent out from private wallets. It cannot be pulled from outside systems or individuals — this inbuilt feature prevents theft by design. The only way for people to lose their Bitcoin is if they are careless with their private keys, or they send money to an untrustworthy address.

IMG_1388Bitcoin is not a threat to property, even with its perceived weaknesses. Bitcoin represents money that cannot be easily controlled. If the author is concerned about property, he would not preach fire and brimstone. He would acquire cryptocurrency. Bitcoin guarantees that government cannot contain and easily steal people’s money. It remains in the hand of the owner.

Bitcoin: A Criminal Currency?

These arguments lead into Steven’s notion that Bitcoin is a “criminal currency.” However, the truth contradicts this idea. Bitcoin is much safer than fiat, which is abundantly used for crime. The amount of crime committed with the dollar is unparalleled. Some of the crime is also “legal.” Banksters and politicians fraudulently stuff their coffers all the time. What greater evil exists beyond this centrally controlled money whoring?

More people also use Bitcoin for non-criminal purposes; Stevens fails to address this fact. Many business and companies, including Overstock, Tigerdirect, Virgin galactic, and others actively accept Bitcoin. If it is a “criminal currency,” why are reputable businesses and decent people using Bitcoin as a medium of exchange? It falls to reason that if good people can take advantage of cryptocurrency, then it is a type of money not solely consigned to underworld markets. Stevens plays up this “criminality” issue as a form of fear-mongering, without telling the truth about the currency and its many, growing uses.

Goldbuggery and Totalitarian Agendas

At the end of his article, Stevens arrogantly claims that people can just keep gold if they want to hold non-fiat currency, because gold is not a threat to “safety” and “order.” Ironically, the only threat to safety and order was Steven’s rhetoric. No one is forced to use Bitcoin, and Stevens dares to speak on behalf of those who use the digital currency. If anyone harms another person, the perpetrator can be punished, regardless of the currency involved. It is not up to the Stevens or anyone else to decide what is best for people.

Stevens just wants to exercise totalitarian control over other people’s decisions. He is a Statist who marshals proud, yet misguided, utilitarian notions to ban things for the good of society, while threatening and coercing others. Don’t trust people who want to create rules and who do not comprehend the material they want to legislate. It is hypocritical and thoughtless.

Do you think Stevens had any legitimate points in his article? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Bitcoinpricelive.com crowdfundchampion.com

The opinions in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Bitcoin.com.

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Sterlin Lujan is a journalist, editor, speaker, anarchist, and essayist. He has been involved with cryptocurrency and Bitcoin since 2012. Sterlin is especially interested in the intersection of psychology and cryptography. He has written on behavioral economics in regards to innovative technology, and was one of the first to write about the emerging field of cryptopsychology on bitcoin.com.