Bitcoin is the Sewer Rat of Currencies
Mark Frauenfelder of Boing Boing fame has a really interesting interview with computer scientist and Bitcoin advocate Andreas Antonopoulos, who makes a use case for the virtual currency I haven't quite seen before: As a means of bringing the billions of impoverished people without access to the mainstream financial system into the global economy. Sample:
If you look at the statistics, financial inclusion is getting worse. That doesn’t make any sense unless you consider that, in the meantime, the traditional currencies and digital finance systems have been getting more and more prone to surveillance and tied to identity where everything is tracked. They’re closing in on themselves in order to maintain this ironclad control over who sends money to who, all in the name of terrorist prevention and anti-money laundering, which is bullshit because HSBC could money-launder billions...
You cannot create global finance and economic inclusion on the back of a carefully controlled show-us-your-papers identity-based system where everything is tracked. What you create is a global surveillance dystopia. Our entire financial system is heading into this thing where everything is surveilled. Bitcoin is heading in exact opposite direction. No identity by default, from weak pseudonymity to a stronger and stronger anonymity as time goes by. As a result, it doesn’t do borders. It doesn’t care about borders. It doesn’t do Know Your Customer. It doesn’t do Anti-Money Laundering. It doesn’t do those things because those things are bourgeois concepts of the privileged financial elite. Those bourgeois concepts have a four-billion-people-in-poverty price tag.
Bitcoin, of course, is also a bourgeois concept par excellence, a libertarian conceit largely supported by the wealthy (and mostly white) tech elite. That somewhat unfair snark aside, Antonopoulos is very right that the unbanked majority of the world need a scalable financial solution.
Does that mean Bitcoin is the answer? Three facts spring to mind which make me think otherwise: