Can The Government Ban Bitcoin? Four Things You Need To Know Today

Recently, we’ve heard powerful bankers and politicians expressing their desire to ban Bitcoin.

The notion that the US government will ban Bitcoin is popular for a good reason.

Bitcoin threatens a significant source of the government’s power—the power to create fake money out of thin air and force everyone to use it.

That’s because Bitcoin can give monetary sovereignty to the individual and render central banks obsolete—along with their confetti currencies.

That’s no small accomplishment.

It’s a historical development that profoundly alters the status quo between the rulers and the ruled. It’s similar to the invention of gunpowder, the printing press, and the Internet.

There’s no question the US government would want to protect their racket from an encroaching monetary competitor in the same way the mafia does when a rival encroaches on their turf.

The $64,000 question is whether they’ll be successful.

Friedrich Hayek, the great free-market Austrian economist, once said:

“I don’t believe we shall ever have a good money again before we take the thing out of the hands of government, that is, we can’t take it violently out of the hands of government, all we can do is by some sly roundabout way introduce something that they can’t stop.”

Hayek is right.

By their very nature, governments never peacefully relinquish power. And if forcefully taking power out of their hands is out of the question, then the only way to do it is through “some sly, roundabout way introduce something they can’t stop.”

Is Bitcoin that solution?

Many people think the answer is “no” because the government will shut it down.

Can Anyone Shut Bitcoin Down?
Bitcoin has no central authority and no single point of failure.

Instead, it runs on a decentralized, voluntary, and growing worldwide network of over 17,300 computers in nearly 100 countries.

Any desktop, laptop, Raspberry Pi—and even some cell phones—have the potential to run the full Bitcoin software. Furthermore, as technology advances, running Bitcoin will become even more widespread.

Many of these computers are cleverly hidden with Tor, which stands for “The Onion Router.” It encrypts your internet traffic and then hides it by bouncing through a series of computers worldwide to obfuscate your IP address and physical location.

In any case, with Bitcoin, there’s no central location for a SWAT team to raid. There’s no CEO to arrest. The best that governments can do is play an endless game of global whack-a-mole.

Even if the US and Russia engaged in an all-out nuclear war, destroying most of the Northern Hemisphere, Bitcoin wouldn’t miss a beat in the Southern Hemisphere.

To even have a chance to stop Bitcoin, every government in the world would have to successfully coordinate simultaneously to shut down the entire Internet everywhere and then keep it off forever.

Even in that improbable scenario, the Bitcoin network can be communicated over radio signals and mesh networks. At the same time, small portable solar panels can power the computers running the network if the regular grid is unavailable.

Further, a network of satellites is constantly beaming the Bitcoin network down to Earth.

In short, all aspects of Bitcoin are genuinely decentralized and robust.

Barring an inescapable, global return to the Stone Age, Bitcoin appears unstoppable.

The cat is out of the bag. Bitcoin is bigger than any government.

If They Can’t Shut It Down, Won’t They Ban It?
Many countries have already tried to ban Bitcoin.

Algeria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Turkey, and numerous others have tried to ban Bitcoin. However, they all failed miserably as adoption in those countries kept rising.

Even the mighty Chinese government has banned Bitcoin numerous times with little to no long-term effects. Bitcoin didn’t just survive an attack by a global superpower but emerged stronger and more resilient than ever.

Despite all of this, could the US government still try to outlaw Bitcoin?

It is certainly possible that the US President could issue an Executive Order banning Bitcoin. Remember, Executive Order 6102 outlawed gold ownership for American citizens from 1933 until it was repealed in 1974.

However, that outcome is unlikely for four reasons.

Reason #1: Code Is Protected Speech

Bitcoin is simply open-source computer code that is available to anyone.

In the Bernstein v. the US Department of State case, US federal courts have ruled that computer code is equivalent to speech protected by the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution.

On the other hand, the Constitution is not a reliable protector of rights, as the Covid hysteria, the War on Terror, and the War on Drugs have all proven. So, I wouldn’t exclusively count on the US Constitution to protect Bitcoin.

Nonetheless, the previous strong precedents ruling code as equivalent to protected speech complicates any attempts to ban it.

Reason #2: Regulatory Clarity Already Exists
Given their statements, it’s clear that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) views almost all cryptocurrencies as unregistered securities, making them vulnerable to enforcement actions.

That has led many to incorrectly believe that the SEC will go after Bitcoin.

The reality is that Bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency that is unambiguously NOT a security.

The US government has been clear that it views Bitcoin as a commodity—a much more favorable designation—under the purview of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Commodity Exchange Act.

Bitcoin is a commodity because it is an asset without an issuer.

Similarly, gold, silver, copper, wheat, corn, and other commodities have producers but do not have issuers.

Every other cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin has an issuer. They also have identifiable founders, central foundations, marketing teams, and insiders who can exercise undue control.

On the other hand, Bitcoin has none of these things—just as copper or nickel has no marketing department or founder.

The SEC couldn’t go after Bitcoin even if it wanted to because there’s nobody to go after. There’s no Bitcoin headquarters. Bitcoin has no CEO, no marketing department, and no employees.

But presuming the SEC could go after Bitcoin, they won’t because even they admit Bitcoin is not a security and thus not under their purview.

Here’s the bottom line.

The IRS, the SEC, the CFTC, and other federal agencies have already given Bitcoin clear regulatory and tax frameworks.

That’s helped many large US businesses, including many large financial institutions, get into Bitcoin. Reversing these guidelines, which have been established for many years, and banning Bitcoin would generate significant pushback and be challenging.

Reason #3: Banning Bitcoin Is Impractical
Government bans may restrict something, but they cannot make something valuable and desired by many people go away by passing a law.

Consider governments in Argentina, Venezuela, and numerous other countries with laws restricting citizens from accessing US dollars.

However, these laws have little effect on their citizens’ desire and ability to use them. Instead, these actions create a thriving black market or, more accurately, a free market.

Similarly, consider how successful governments have been in prohibiting cannabis over the decades. Despite their best efforts, cannabis has always been available in most big cities.

Trying to enforce a prohibition on something digital and borderless like Bitcoin is entirely impractical. Bitcoin would be far more challenging for governments to ban than US dollars or a plant.

Further, many popular Bitcoin wallets use a 12-word phrase as a way to recover your funds. If you can memorize the 12-word phrase, you can potentially store billions of dollars worth of value just in your head with nothing else.

Try banning that.

It’s like trying to ban mathematics.

Even if it were practical to ban Bitcoin, it’s already too late.

There’s a critical mass of Bitcoin advocates among large corporations, politicians, and regular people.

They bring all of their lawyers, lobbyists, and political connections to advocate for Bitcoin potentially. That’s a lot of political firepower. And their numbers are only growing.

According to a survey from NYDIG, 46 million Americans own Bitcoin. That’s around 22% of all adults in the US.

Supporting a ban on Bitcoin means going against tens of millions of Americans—many of whom are wealthy, powerful, and well-connected.

In short, outlawing Bitcoin will not help anyone win an election. Bitcoin has already reached escape velocity. In other words, it’s too politically popular to outlaw, and every day, it gets stronger as adoption grows.

Reason #4: Banning Bitcoin Will Benefit US Rivals
If the US government was foolish enough to ban Bitcoin despite all of this, it would only give Russia, China, and its other rivals a golden opportunity to be at the forefront of a lucrative new industry and the future of money.

Banning Bitcoin would be a financial and geopolitical blunder of the highest order.

The Bottom Line
The US government doesn’t like Bitcoin.

Even though banning it would be politically unpopular and unconstitutional, it still might consider the move if it could do so effectively without giving an edge to its rivals.

But it can’t, so it won’t.

So, I think the US government will have to adapt to that reality, and it already has been by giving Bitcoin a clear regulatory framework for businesses and investors.

When you put it all together, you have an unstoppable superior form of money conquering the world.

It’s not hard to see where this trend is going. It’s a monetary revolution.

Yet, many people still believe the government will shut Bitcoin down or otherwise ban it.

That perception gap is a blessing, allowing us to capitalize on this information asymmetry with investments that tap into this powerful trend…

Berkshire Hathaway Showing Bitcoin the Way?

Have you ever googled Berkshire Hathaway stock price? Here, I’ll show it to you:

Last time I checked it was $100,000 around 10yrs ago or so, still mind blowing.

Curious how? Buffet never made a stock split on his company stocks. You can sort of extrapolate this example to Bitcoin’s fixed supply and halvings protocols, and see where Bitcoin could be heading.

Hyperbitcoinization starts at the edges

Bhutan going public with their bitcoin accumulation strategy is a data point that lends credence to the belief that hyperbitcoinization is likely to start at the edges.

Marty Bent
Issue #1338: Hyperbitcoinization starts at the edges

This maybe the first bold effort or experiment of its kind where a Least Developed Country with major developmental disadvantages aims to leap frog into the future using the fourth industrial revolution. – The Buthanese

Over the weekend the world received confirmation that the Kingdom of Bhutan, a small country in the Himilayas with a population of 777,486, has been mining bitcoin since 2020 when bitcoin was trading around $5,000. Druk Holdings Investments (DHI), the official investment arm of the Bhutanese government, was essentially forced to come out and explain their “digital asset” strategy after it became apparent that they were involved in the space when their name was disclosed in the bankruptcy documents of Blockfi and Celsius. The Bhutanese, a local paper in Bhutan, wrote an article over the weekend walking through their mining and broader “digital assets” strategy. After reading the article, it is clear to your Uncle Marty that Bhutan is way ahead of the curve when it comes to a bitcoin strategy. Not only that, their involvement is a massive validation of a number of things that bitcoiners have been saying for many years.

The Kingdom of Bhutan is a very small country that has been struggling for decades to jump start their economy to the point that it is attractive enough to retain young talent while becoming economically self-sufficient. Getting into bitcoin is a great way for the country to kill two birds with one stone. By utilizing excess cheap electricity produced by the country’s hydroelectric dams, Bhutan is able to take previously stranded and wasted resources and turn them into a significant revenue stream. Not only that, the revenue is realized in bitcoin, which is a nascent monetary asset in the beginning stages of its monetization process. DHI simply has to sell some of the bitcoin they mine to cover the operational expenses of their mining operations and hold the rest on its balance sheet. In time, as bitcoin adoption continues to increase, the value of the bitcoin sitting on their balance sheet should increase and if DHI is holding a material stack that should allow Bhutan’s sovereign wealth fund to accrue a significant amount of value in a relatively short period of time. If bitcoin is as successful as we believe it will be and DHI is able to hodl their stack, it isn’t hard to imagine them reaching the point of economic self-succifiency by the end of the decade.

This is beautiful to see because it is a direct validation of something bitcoiners have been saying for well over a decade; smaller nations are highly incentivized to get into bitcoin as early as possible because if they accumulate a sizable stack at a relatively low price they will be able to benefit massively from its monetization process. Not only that, but that they’d likely start accumulating under the radar as to not send a signal to their counterparts around the world that they should be doing the same thing. If it weren’t for Blockfi and Celsius falling into bankruptcy the world would likely be completely unaware that Bhutan has been mining and accumulating bitcoin via their sovereign wealth fund. Now that this information is public one must ask “How many nations are out there who didn’t get caught up in the messes caused by Blockfi, Celsius and others that are also accumulating?”

I don’t think it’s crazy to say there are others out there. With the unveiling of DHI being allocated to the space, Bhutan joins Venezuela, El Salvador and Russia as countries that have publicly admitted that they are accumulating or mining bitcoin.

Bhutan going public with their bitcoin accumulation strategy is a data point that lends credence to the belief that hyperbitcoinization is likely to start at the edges. Countries with little to lose and everything to gain will make the conscious decision to begin getting exposure to bitcoin because it presents them with the best risk-reward profile. Everyone can see the writing on the wall as it pertains to the dollar’s status as global reserver currency. The US and the countries closest to its sphere of influence are almost forced to go down with the ship. If they admit that the dollar endgame is in sight and decide to posture favorably toward bitcoin they will accelerate the dollar’s demise and do a lot of harm in the process. Countries who are not in the direct orbit of the US’ sphere of influence and are able to clearly read the writing on the wall – the dollar is being debased, the rails that it runs on are becoming increasingly censored, and trusted custodians cannot be trusted – are going to take a chance on bitcoin. It’s really quite simple.

The question that remains now that Bhutan has been forced into the open is, “which countries are currently running onto the field from the sidelines to ensure that Bhutan doesn’t end up with a bigger stack than they do?”

In Lebanon, Bitcoin is Proving to be a Safe Bet

Original post by: Hugo Lautissier

Liban banques
Lebanese citizens stand in line outside a bank to collect their salaries on 31 March 2020 in the coastal city of Tripoli (AFP/Joseph Eid)

Devastated by the drastic devaluation of the Lebanese pound, more and more people are embracing cryptocurrencies

It’s a small, unassuming office tucked between a dog grooming parlour and a slot machine room in Bourj Hamoud, Beirut’s Armenian neighbourhood. Hanging on the wall are two golf clubs, three golf balls and, above them, a framed poster showing the price of bitcoin, which is rising sharply.

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