Crypto's Biggest Paradox: Is It Freer?
Crypto's Biggest Paradox: Is It Freer?
In a pre-publication review of Trackers in the Dark: The Global Hunt for Crypto Crime Lords, Wired senior editor Gideon Lichfield commented on the Great Crypto Paradox:
Its transactions are anonymous, but since every transaction is public, stored on the blockchain and (by design) viewable by anyone, they are like broken straw left by a thief running away in a wheat field— That's a lot of data for experts. With digital forensics, they can piece together patterns of recognition. As Andy has written before, this so-called untraceable and secure form of money is actually notoriously difficult to launder and easy to steal, and a digital paper trail created by inexperienced criminals with careless use of over a decade The "golden age" of crime investigation has begun.
GILAD EDELMAN, “The future of digital cash is not on the blockchain,” Wired (28 March 2022) Indeed. When dissidents choose to use cryptocurrencies as a method of banking, the Canadian government can have no trouble cracking down on dissidents responding to its draconian (and potentially useless) COVID-19 rules. These people are not criminals, just against masked dissidents and so on - they have broad popular support, except for government-funded state media:
But dissidents soon found themselves without the funds to make ends meet.
Wired - we're happy to say - has expanded its coverage of cryptocurrencies:
We've gradually expanded our encryption and Web3 coverage because whatever you think about it, it's a huge phenomenon and its intersection with the rest of the world is getting more and more interesting. Witness how cryptocurrencies have been used to raise donations for Ukraine and Russians seeking to protect their rapidly dwindling wealth, creating political trouble for cryptocurrency exchanges forced to block Russian users. Keep an eye out for the first court case involving NFTs that will determine how much legal rights these digital ownership tokens actually confer on GILAD EDELMAN, WIRED (March 28, 2022) Any system's "future of digital cash is out of the question" Something on the blockchain "that can be used by dissidents can also be used by organized authorities. So we're back to cat-and-mouse again, with good guys on both sides.
You may also want to read: Trudeau's Truck Driver Reveals Problems with Banking Infrastructure, and Crypto Isn't the Solution You Might Think Even without being coerced by government actors, banks have been politically proactive in choosing who to do business with (Jonathan Bartlett) and:
Government control over what you buy is becoming more and more popular. With the government, that's it. You'll be amazed at how far they've come with digital currencies and how detailed the controls are. First, the government can know if you buy a sweetened cereal product (and charge you more tax) or broccoli (and give you credit).
Are AI-powered social control systems emerging in the US? The gradual merger of Big Tech and Big Government deserves careful analysis. The beginnings of such a system can be seen in the actions of Canadian banks during the trucker fleet and in the actions of American credit card giants at home.
The government will consider money that can only be spent on approved projects. Programmable digital currencies limit the freedom of citizens for "socially beneficial outcomes." Recent emergencies in Canada leave no doubt that major banks will comply with such directives, leaving citizens cashless.
A no-buy list is the next big thing after going to the bank. When a large online financial service like PayPal works closely with the government to monitor citizens, it goes against its founding philosophy. Former PayPal COO David Sacks talks about how large fintech companies like PayPal can adversely affect users' freedom to oppose state policies.