James Stanley

Why Bitcoin has to succeed

Tue 11 July 2017

Some people want to transition to a cashless society. If that happens (and governments, at least, appear very keen to make that happen), we'll all be left with no way to pay each other without going through a third party payments company (banks, Visa, PayPal, etc.). This means people have no way to pay each other without asking permission from such a company, and being subject to censorship and surveillance at best, and the risk of the funds being stolen at worst.

Already, businesses in the UK that accept cash payments worth over €10,000 must register with HMRC as a "high-value dealer". In France, it is illegal to perform a cash transaction over €1,000 (yes, one thousand). And the same is true in Italy. Last year, the Indian government declared all 500Rs and 1000Rs banknotes no longer legal tender, and with only 4 hours notice.

Just this week, a British government report on the gig economy suggested that "cash payments should be phased-out".

This "war on cash" will be (indeed, is already being!) presented as if it's supposed to stop bad people from doing bad things. But criminals will come up with something. Perhaps they'll give each other weapons, ammunition, favours, or something else, but they'll carry on doing what they're doing and they'll find some way to transfer value, albeit less efficiently.

It's ordinary law-abiding people who will be hit the hardest. To avoid such a disaster and retain our financial freedom, we have to have access to a permissionless, trustless, censorship-resistant, surveillance-resistant payments system. Bitcoin has to succeed.

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