Image: Bitcoin Graffiti, 2021 by Irena Orlov
We live in an age of demonetisation and deplatforming.
Big Tech companies like Google censor people widely, and decide whose content is “appropriate” for monetisation through advertising. If your views are deemed inappropriate by people who are inherently and inescapably biased, your content is demonetised, or you are “deplatformed” entirely.
Furthermore, financial institutions such as PayPal, Visa, Stripe, and Patreon determine which financial channels are open, and to whom. This means that if people want to support people who represent their interests, they are at the mercy of inherently politically biased institutions. If we continue down this path, we could see a Black Mirror-esque “social credit” system, with its gatekeepers wielding huge power in our society.
What does Bitcoin change?
Bitcoin offers us a totally decentralised payment system, meaning that nobody can control where payments, from whom they are sent, or why they may be sent. Although the unregulated movement of money poses its own problems, it prevents unelected private entities from controlling the flow of capital between individuals. This allows for a better functioning market, and affords financial freedom to people in not only authoritarian states, but the increasingly restricted “free societies” we’ve lived in over the past decades.
Whilst one might claim that “Money laundering” and the “funding of bad actors” are issues that may arise, we must remember that these crimes predate not only the internet but fiat money (let alone Bitcoin). Further more, the rules around such anti-money-laundering legislation often do more to harm small, private individuals, whilst enabling larger scale enterprises to perform such laundering because they know how to navigate the landscape. Case in point:
Major investment banks were last year implicated in $2 trillion’s worth of money laundering (more than double Bitcoin’s entire market cap at the time of writing). And the Iran-Contra Affair is a stark reminder that nation states have a history of sponsoring terrorists and questionable regimes with ease, decades before cryptocurrencies were even dreamed of.
Are we to believe that the entities that regulate the flow of capital — “the good guys” — are squeaky clean in light of these revelations? If not, who are they to tell us who is allowed to receive money? This financial establishment has plenty of skeletons in its own closet. Maybe this is why they don’t like Bitcoin.
Written by Joe Khalique-Brown