Recently, there has been an uptick in the numbers of notable people publicly discussing some form of ban on crypto assets such as Bitcoin. The latest comes from Germany, where one of the nation’s left wing parties is in favour of attempting to outlaw digital currency across Europe.
The news follows similar calls by US Congressman Brad Sherman and respected economist Joseph Stiglitz. Lacking technical backgrounds, however, it is unclear just how much any of these crypto critics have considered the logistics of enforcing such a ban.
German Leftists Die Linke Call for a Ban on Bitcoin and Crypto
According to domestic tech and business news source, Gründerszene, a left wing German political party has just released its European Parliamentary election campaign manifesto. The elections will be held on May 26 and, as part of the “Die Linke” (The Left) party’s policies that are “against an EU of millionaires”, there is a plan to outlaw Bitcoin and other crypto assets.
The main gripe against digital currencies appears to be on environmental grounds. The fact that some use a large amount of electricity is an issue for the German leftists. This may mean that proof-of-stake digital coins and those using other consensus finding systems than proof-of-work are deemed permissible by the party.
Like the others that have called for a ban on crypto assets like Bitcoin in recent weeks, Die Linke gives little explanation as to how it plans on achieving such a ban. Bitcoin is a decentralised network. There is no central weakness for authorities to come after.
Even if all of Europe outright banned it tomorrow, digital assets would survive. They might have to evolve to survive, becoming more stealthy and private, but that would only make them even more difficult to police.
Interestingly, one of those calling for a ban recently, US Congressman Brad Sherman, himself inadvertently stated exactly why Bitcoin would not die – the fact that it weakens US hegemony. Sherman stated, remarkably candidly, that a large part of his nation’s privileged position in the world comes from the fact that the US dollar is used a world reserve currency.
the video of @BradSherman's call to ban bitcoin is the best advertisement for the digital asset i've seen in quite some time (HT Oskar_Koch on Reddit) https://t.co/KeGCO0uXSh pic.twitter.com/VDF6XxBFre
— Kyle Torpey (@kyletorpey) May 9, 2019
Bitcoin offers an alternative that many nations that are currently trying to reduce their dependence on the dollar might find attractive. That was the precise reason Sherman gave for wanting “to nip [Bitcoin] in the bud”. Given that nations such as Iran, North Korea, Russia, and China would all like US dominance to wane significantly, it is incredibly difficult to believe that these states would join Europe or the US in some clampdown against the currency.
Those who understand how Bitcoin works also understand that only such a universal ban, enforced equally around the world, would stand any chance of success. That said, even with global cooperation, wiping crypto assets from the face of the earth is still highly unlikely to succeed.
Rather more likely would be a scenario where a partial ban is attempted and Bitcoin goes underground by integrating privacy-focused upgrades rapidly. This would effectively stifle any legitimate use of the currency and transform it very quickly into a drug-dealing, money-laundering, human-trafficking mega-tool for international criminals and anyone else who refuses to endorse such draconian, monopolistic policies.
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