CAN GOVERNMENTS BAN BITCOIN?
The rise and rise of the payment means that are not under the government control has been a thorn in the butts of all governments for the last 3 or so years
And as the price of bitcoin was storming the new heights during the lockdown rally the chatter of the need to ban/control/confiscate/tax were getting louder and louder
The motivations of the governments for this move are just as transparent as they are despicable for us, the people.
But before I dive into the analysis of the situation, which seems to be far away from butterflies and unicorns, I must reveal my bias, to avid being accused of being a crypto skeptic by the local mob of crypto bugs.
I consider myself a libertarian, which means that I believe in Individualism, limited government, peace, tolerance, and free markets. That makes me a natural crypto enthusiast, as decentralized finance is a path to a freer more open society with the alternative to the fiat money issued by the governments, which might act as a check on their inflationary and spending appetites. I was an early fan of Bitcoin and I hold a crypto portfolio myself.
Now, governments by definition don’t share libertarian values, thus whatever is seen as a benefit from the freedom-loving perspective is evil to the governments. And the lack of surveillance capabilities and the fact that crypto might compete with the precious fiat paper are the reasons why any government will seek to ban crypto at some point in the future. One more serious problem for the state is that crypto, thanks to its relative anonymity might allow people to avoid paying taxes, which causes ire among the officials.
As always, reasons for the ban that will be cited to the public will have nothing to do with reality. Among those, is the need to clamp down on the black market, online drug sales, tax evasion might be mentioned as well and all that will be served under the sauce of protecting us, the little guys.
Interestingly enough, the governments are racing to launch their own electronic currencies, because, just as one might design a coin to be untraceable, one might design it to be 100% traceable as well. In addition to that, if all of us have our bank accounts with the central bank , entirely new forms of previously impossible ways to control the people emerge. Central bank’s Electronic money can be restricted geographically, or in any other way, for example, banning you, personally, from buying burgers, because some bureaucrat thought that you are too fat, while feeding all the info about your speeding directly to the CB . All it will take to leave you penniless is turning off your account with the CB . Absolute control over the economy of the likes of which even the Soviets could not have dreamt of.
But now that we arrived at the obvious conclusion that the governments have more than enough reason to go for a ban, let’s examine whether they have the means to do so and what will that do to the prices.
And unfortunately, I happen to be quite pessimistic on this front. All it would take is a law banning crypto. Of course, If a small country bans Crypto it will affect neither its price nor its usability even for the country’s residents, however, if such a law is passed by the EU, or the USA, it’s game over.
You see, most of the technologies that changed our lives in the last 20 years have one thing in common, which is the network effect. The internet, social media, and online platforms such as Uber or Amazon, benefit from the fact that the more people use their service the more valuable the network is and hence even more people join in to use it, while the benefit for those already using It increases.
The same goes for Crypto. In the last years, we’ve seen more and more companies starting to accept bitcoin as payment, while purchasing it got easier and easier. There are even Bitcoin ATMs where I live, that allow customers to buy and sell crypto for cash which is super convenient.
The Bitcoin brand itself is probably worth more than 100 billion dollars, thanks to the fact that even the older people have heard about it by now.
And all that was pushing the price higher, as the expectations of further growth justified 1 million dollars per Bitcoin in the not-so-distant future.
However, if there is a major government such a the US that issues a blanket ban, all companies that accepted crypto will cease doing so immediately, and the crypto marketplaces and exchanges will cease to function and stop accepting payments from that jurisdiction. If it is the US that bans crypto, it would mean a de fact ban on using dollars to buy it, which would make this technology unusable for most of us. The state might take it a step further and make transacting in crypto, or even just holding it a criminal offense, which would reduce the number of people using it to the few shady cartels south of the border. The ban would also make mining impossible, and as we know mining not only creates now coins but is also essential for the functioning of the network. Without it, transactions would be impossible. Therefore, the user base will be limited by the mining capacity left in the world, drying up transaction fees making it even harder to use. Hedgefunds and those who are important to the system will be warned about the ban beforehand, so it will be us, the little guys who will lose our savings. The price will collapse as leveraged players will be trying to exit the asset, causing panic and a massive selloff.
And for those who say that «this is impossible simply because this is impossible»(read, I still trust the government) let me remind you of how unceremoniously gold was essentially banned from using it as means of exchange by the US government with the gold confiscation act of 1933.
The robbery of the century- something that was unimaginable and unheard of previously, was done peacefully with the stroke of a pen and everyone obeyed and traded in their gold for the Fed papers. And keep in mind that gold was far more widespread, used, and relied on that crypto now, which means that if the Ban of crypto came in today, there would be no mass riots on the streets.
So, please, excuse my pessimism when I say that when not if the powerful nations of the world decide to ban our fancy shining coins of liberty, they will succeed. And I am of an opinion that this will happen sooner rather than later, because «they» can not let the whole thing get too big to fail. What I mean is that if the market cap of all the coins is 1-3 Trillion, they can handle the damage of wiping off this wealth. However, if it gets to 10-15 Trillion the consequences of the collapse might destabilize the system itself.
In conclusion, as much as I don’t want this to happen, the ban is not only possible but highly likely and will come sooner rather than later, with the early birds of partial bans being India and China showing us the way. However, that does not mean that we can’t enjoy a couple more of the bullish waves making 100-300% and enriching ourselves hand over fist, which is why we’ve all gathered here, at the end of the day! Just jump off the train before the wheels fall off!
Thanks to all who read the text with so many letters in it.
I am expecting a fiery discussion in the comments!