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The Futility of Government Bans – Bitcoin Always Finds a Way

January 16, 2018 |

The Futility of Government Bans – Bitcoin Always Finds a Way

Cryptocurrencies have been threatened at one point or another by nearly every country on the planet. Rarely does a government venture beyond rhetoric. Those resorting to crackdowns are often met with greater public appetite for decentralized virtual money, making all that initial fuss an exercise in futility. Be they communist strongholds or liberal democracies, bitcoin cannot be stopped.   

Also read: India’s Banks Block Crypto Accounts

Government Threats Met with Pushback

In response to a recent Republic of Korea (ROK) bureaucrat’s statement, causing mainstream media to roar about a “ban” on bitcoin, the South Korean street riled to virtual barricades. Citizens flooded petition signatures to the President. Social media contained oceans of angry comments demanding the offending minister’s sacking. The pressure grew so intense, agencies within the same government began contradicting one another, ending with an official presidential announcement no “ban” was forthcoming. Sensing a political market opening, normally reticent ROK politicians jumped on the bandwagon to defend cryptocurrency legitimacy.  

The above is something like a rare historical scientific control with regard to just why bitcoin and cryptocurrencies cannot be banned. For our purposes, ROK’s geographical juxtaposition and its post-war politics fit comfortably beside its northern neighbor, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), North Korea. The two nations share a peninsula, a people, and a history, ripe for an organic experiment in prohibition.

Bitcoin Finds a Way: The Ultimate Futility of Government Bans
South Korea’s citizens increasingly voice dissatisfaction

Cryptocurrency probably made its way to DPRK through its wealthier brethren, and perhaps even China in bitcoin’s early years. Obviously, DPRK has a “ban” on bitcoin, de facto. Yet cryptocurrencies are still an issue for the country, something it must address, a problem some reports have as the regime tacitly embracing, and likely as a way around sanctions. Arguably the most closed country in the world is being confronted by a new monetary reality, which illustrates bitcoin’s inherent power under the most extreme of circumstances.

Pronouncement after pronouncement, rule changes, fines, bank harassment, appeals for international cooperation, taxes, emergency measures, the liberal democracy of ROK has been very busy. To be sure, the last round of news from South Korean regulators brought about double digit dips in bitcoin’s price, domestically and internationally. But even that appears to be temporary as markets see bitcoin retain relative price resiliency.

Bitcoin Finds a Way: The Ultimate Futility of Government Bans

A Dozen Countries are Experimenting with Bans

The side-by-side control of having a hermit kingdom and republican democracy both grapple with bitcoin yields insight into what sort of prohibition is possible, and what is even meant by the word “ban.” Bitcoin cannot be banned in the ultimate sense, as it resembles the character of pushing on a sturdy balloon. Push it down on one side, and it grows on the other.

Of the 195 countries of the world, 12 have openly tried to ban bitcoin and crypto at various levels: Brazil, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Israel, Morocco, Bolivia, Algeria, Ecuador, Kyrgyz Republic, Bangladesh, and Nepal.

Bitcoin Finds a Way: The Ultimate Futility of Government Bans

However, that list is misleading. Not all governments have banned cryptocurrency in the same way. Israel, for example, has effectively prevented crypo stocks from being listed on its indices and aided the practice of its banks not allowing bitcoin business accounts. Yet its prime minister has made positive comments, and still another regulator has advocated making Israel a welcoming environment for bitcoin.

It’s worth pointing out Israel is a representative democracy, one of the only in Southwest Asia. The Israeli street is passionate about cryptocurrency and its potential, and, like South Korea, has the electoral ability to influence outcomes should regulators overplay their hand.

Wealthy Will Not Allow Ban

Charles Hugh Smith argued crypto prohibition won’t happen due to the influence of wealthy investors using it as a store of value unable to be monkeyed with by politicians. His point at once affirms and jettisons the democratic thesis, as it all comes down to levers of power. The same way assets such as housing are owned and closely guarded, Mr. Smith postulates, bitcoin will be protected even more. Wealthy holders have gone to great lengths already to keep the currency away from governments.    

For South American countries such as Brazil, Bolivia, and Ecuador, the challenges are both political and economic when it comes to prohibition. Each has versions of command economies, and nationalist fervor is easily whipped up when supposed threats are made against their respective currencies, and bitcoin can certainly represent that. However, even where economic expression is limited and politics are a crazy mix of bureaus and committees, crypto has found a way through. Its popularity grows in Latin America.

Bitcoin Finds a Way: The Ultimate Futility of Government Bans

The remaining half, from China to Nepal, have almost no tradition of what anyone would ever call democracy, though in some cases governments have pulled back and allowed their populace more expression in personal economic matters. That too is debatable. For odious governments such as Nepal, cracks are appearing. Smartphone adoption continues apace, as does internet access generally. Add to those its young population, some 40 percent under 20 years, and there’s a recipe for crypto.

Prohibition, in the sense Mr. Smith might be thinking, almost always only impacts those without the means to subvert laws. That’s not as true when it comes to cryptocurrency. Whatever else its positives, all anyone needs is a $ 20 Android phone and they’re immediately able to participate in a huge transfer of wealth. Governments can shut down websites; they can arrest exchange owners; they can make onboarding hell; they can tax it as capital gains. Governments cannot stop an idea whose time has come.

Do you think bitcoin can be banned? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Pixabay.


Not up to date on the news? Listen to This Week in Bitcoina podcast updated each Friday.

The post The Futility of Government Bans – Bitcoin Always Finds a Way appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Bitcoin Enthusiast Finds Undiscovered Cave and Names It Satoshi

January 13, 2018 |

Italian Explorer Finds Undiscovered Cave and Names It Satoshi

Few people will ever encounter an undiscovered natural wonder, and then have the pleasure of naming it. That’s what happened to Guido Turricchia and his intrepid band of explorers deep within the Papua New Guinean jungle and deep beneath the earth. The speleologist found a new cave and had the honor of christening it. The epithet the environmental engineer and bitcoin enthusiast chose? Why, Satoshi.

Also read: Chinese Bitcoin Mining Giant Bitmain Establishes Branch in Zug, Switzerland

Blockchain meets Rockchain

For the past month, Guido Turricchia, Andrea Felici, and Maurizio Buttinelli have been AFK and thus divorced from bitcoin price moves and cryptocurrency drama. On December 10, the trio of experienced explorers left Italy to embark on their most ambitious trip yet through the dense rainforest of Papua New Guinea. The southwest Pacific nation, which lies north of Australia and to the east of Indonesia, is famed for its biological diversity.

Italian Explorer Finds Undiscovered Cave and Names It Satoshi

Guido and his group witnessed many enchanting sights as they trekked through the jungle, but they were saving themselves for the beauty that lay within the earth. From Guatemala to Costa Rica, the speleologists have traveled the world, frequenting some of the most remote and exquisite underground caverns, caves, and rock formations these territories have to offer. After journeying for days, the group, led by a local guide, came to a cave formation in the heart of the Papua New Guinea jungle.

Italian Explorer Finds Undiscovered Cave and Names It Satoshi

Guido explained to news.Bitcoin.com how locals used the entrance to hunt flying foxes, but hadn’t forayed any further. The explorers roamed deeper into the caves, descending a total of 2km, before coming to a huge cave system comprising a series of vaults, the greatest of which measured 120 x 80 x 50 metres, with extensive concretions and an underground river flowing through it. Due to the rocky formations, Guido dubbed it Blockchain Valley.

Italian Explorer Finds Undiscovered Cave and Names It Satoshi

Enter the Cave of Satoshi

The trio, who now found themselves in one of the remotest places on earth and confronted by sights that had never been seen with the human eye, went deeper into the earth. After passing through Blockchain Valley, they came to the largest cave of all. “It’s common practice to name new caves after important people,” explained Guido, “but there was nothing for Satoshi”. There was only one name on his lips, and thus the cave of Satoshi was born.

Guido first learned about bitcoin and blockchain in 2013 and, like many people, was instantly hooked. In the years since, he’s balanced an interest in the technology with operating a crowdfunding platform, which provided relief to victims of last year’s Italian earthquake, and exploring with Circolo Speleologico Romano, a caving organization founded in 1904. The Papua New Guinea trip, aided by sponsors such as Powerfilm Solar, was the group’s most ambitious yet.

Italian Explorer Finds Undiscovered Cave and Names It SatoshiAll told, they spent one month in the Folopa territory, hiked for 60km into the rainforest, and explored 4km of caves, discovering 25 new entrances in the process. The blockchain created by Satoshi Nakamoto has now been into space and, thanks to the efforts of an Italian caving group, his name has resonated in the depths of the earth. Satoshi Cave will now live on for millennia.

How do you think Satoshi would feel about having a cave named after them? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Guido Turricchia.


Tired of those other forums on the subject of Bitcoin? Check forum.Bitcoin.com.

The post Bitcoin Enthusiast Finds Undiscovered Cave and Names It Satoshi appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

DoorDash’s Tony Xu finds uncertainty delivers growth

January 12, 2018 |

DoorDash is a fast-growing food-delivery service based in the Bay Area, operating in Los Angeles and several other large cities.
L.A. Times – Business

EU Finds Irregularities in Projects Linked to Hungarian Leader’s Son-in-Law

January 12, 2018 |

The European Union’s antifraud office is recommending that Hungary’s top authorities take legal action over “serious irregularities” in projects carried out by a company once controlled by the son-in-law of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the agency told The Wall Street Journal.
WSJ.com: What’s News Europe

Bitcoin Finds a Home in Cash-Loving Germany

January 7, 2018 |

A motley crew of old-money investors, entrepreneurs, crypto-anarchists and anti-inflation hawks is rallying around bitcoin in a surprising place: cash-loving Germany.
WSJ.com: What’s News Europe

European Union Finds Leading Fight for Open Trade a Tough Task

December 28, 2017 |

The European Union started this year by announcing a global trade offensive to counter rising U.S. protectionism. Now the bloc faces an uphill battle to prove it can deliver, Emre Peker writes.
WSJ.com: What’s News Europe

Odwalla founder finds second life in Califia almond and plant-based beverages

December 23, 2017 |

Greg Steltenpohl, 63, heads Califia Farms, an almond and plant-based beverage company he co-founded in 2010.
L.A. Times – Business

Mechanic Finds Friendly Owl During Oil Change

December 16, 2017 |

A routine oil change has turned into an unusual owl sighting for a car owner in New Hampshire Friday. The police department in Salem says a mechanic popped the hood of a car and found an Eastern Screech owl sitting on the engine. The department said the car owner had…
Newser

People Are Calling Uber Instead of Ambulances, Study Finds

December 15, 2017 |

People are increasingly taking Uber instead of ambulances to get to the hospital, new research suggests. For a (non-peer-reviewed) research paper released Wednesday, economics professor David Slusky and Dr. Leon Moskatel looked at ambulance usage in 766 US cities upon the arrival of Uber from 2013 to 2015. Slusky tells…
Newser

Navy sailor staged racist vandalism, investigation finds

December 9, 2017 |

A U.S. Navy sailor who claimed someone had written a racial slur on his bed has been disciplined after he reportedly staged the incident.
FOX News