Every few days (hours?), we get a fresh reminder that the crypto industry is full of scams. Ponzi schemes, self-dealings, washed-up celebrity endorsements, blah blah blah. The pearl-clutchers invariably pipe up, knickers all in a twist, and demand that regulators step in and Do Something.
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help. –Ronald Reagan
Regulators are helpful, no doubt. It was helpful regulators who made small business investments inaccessible for all but the extremely wealthy. Helpful regulators, as well, who bailed out the big banks. Helpful regulators caused refugee charity groups to lose their bank accounts. Helpful regulators created a bunch of derisking regulations, which helpfully cut off remittances to Mexico and Latin America. Thanks to helpful regulations, 40 million American residents can’t even open a bank account.
It’s because regulators are so damn intrusively helpful that we need decentralized digital currencies in the first place.
Look, there’s a really easy solution for those who want to operate under a regulatory security blanket: Simply transact in your local fiat currency through the national banking system. Like magic, you’ll be barred from transferring funds to OFAC sanctioned countries and end up in a Suspicious Activity Report if you make too many cash deposits. Hooray.
The people who call for greater government oversight don’t want, need, or even use Bitcoin. The imposition of regulatory censorship would put us back at square one, again creating the need for a currency that no one has the power to manipulate.
Chesterton’s Blockchain: Don’t ever suggest regulation for a digital currency until you know how it arose and what purposes it was supposed to serve.