Cryptocurrency has had some bad press over the years, some of them reasonable, while others are utter nonsense. And it’s not uncommon for governments to crack down on blockchain operations. But the real question should be, can cryptocurrency be stopped?
Yes, cryptocurrency can be banned, but no, it cannot be stopped.
Well, crypto was conceived by the gods of privacy, the cypherpunks. These individuals were ahead of their time and knew what to do. Now, they have advanced and are about to bring back the freedom governments took away from the people.
By design, crypto enables you to circumvent oppressive regimes and institutions.
The nature of cryptography, which is encryption, allows people to be able to communicate and transact with one another securely despite being in the presence of adversaries. In this case, oppressive governments.
In this article, I will explain to you why cryptocurrencies cannot be stopped despite being banned.
Let’s start by exploring the countries that banned cryptocurrencies.
And I’m not talking about a mere banking ban, like in China and India. That’s not radical enough. I mean a complete blanket ban, such that any crypto-related activity is considered outright illegal.
Countries that banned cryptocurrencies completely
The Ecuadorian government declared war on cryptocurrency back in 2014. They even went as far as fear-mongering their citizens against crypto through their local media lapdogs.
It didn’t play out well for them.
You know what the people did? They put up crypto ATMs in the country’s capital. The government responded by banning crypto ATMs as well.
Yet people of Ecuador still continued to use Bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Maybe they won’t bother with ATM’s, but they surely can transact not only in the comfort of their own home but virtually anywhere in the country.
Even in the president’s office, if they wanted to.
The Nepal Rastra Bank banned all manner of crypto transactions in Augutst 2017, while making an example out seven people involved in digital currencies.
The accused were arrested for allegedly running a “bitcoin exchange business.” Through their incarceration, the government made it clear that they don’t take law violators lightly.
This should scare everybody, right? Wrong! Here’s a snippet of LocalBitcoins Nepal.
So no, they can’t stop the Nepali from using crypto either.
The Central Bank of Bolivia (BCB) prohibits the use of any cryptocurrencies that are not regulated. Obviously all no genuine cryptocurrency is regulated.
Despite that, the Bolivian stock exchange still managed to orchestrate the “First App Challenge of Financial Technologies” in the country.
This hackathon-like competition went pretty smoothly and showcased just how brilliant and resilient the crypto community can be.
The Bolivian crypto enthusiasts are still very active, with many talented developers and marketers spreading blockchain education to the masses.
All this in spite of the country’s lack of access to digital payment systems and financial services.
Morocco’s Office des Changes had stated that the use of cryptocurrencies in any form is a violation of exchange regulations. And anyone caught is punishable by penalties.
Yet according to a study by LocalBitcoins, Morocco is the top 36th country in crypto trading volume.
With a trading volume of $6 million, the kingdom ranks third in North Africa and the Middle Eastern region.
Apparently, the citizens don’t care what their lovely government thinks of cryptocurrencies. They do things their way as anyone should.
Virtual currencies, tokens, ICOs are illegal in Pakistan.
The State Bank of Iran prohibits the buying, selling, trading, and investing of all cryptocurrencies for both individuals and entities.
Furthermore, commercial banks are also forbidden from processing, holding, trading, or even promoting these types of assets.
Yet if you check LocalBitcoins for Pakistan, this is what you’ll find.
The Pakistani central bank couldn’t stop crypto, and they realized that. Therefore, they decided to create regulations for the use of digital currencies, which are still being drafted.
Good for Pakistan.
Why cryptocurrencies cannot be stopped
There is nothing and no one to stop
First of all, bitcoin and other digital currencies cannot be shut down. Unlike centralized corporations like Facebook, cryptocurrencies do not need to conform to state leaders.
When Facebook made a screwup, Mark Zuckerberg had to testify and apologize in congress.
Crypto has no Mark Zuckerberg. So there is literally no one to stop.
No leader to arrest. No company, no institution, no data center, no warehouse, no server.
It’s a decentralized global network that exists without the need for a central operator.
If they arrest a prominent developer, it wouldn’t do a damn thing. Thousands of others can do the same job. The community is also growing and getting stronger every day.
It’s too difficult to track who is using crypto
What most governments don’t get when they ban crypto is that it was meant to work despite being banned. Satoshi Nakamoto considered this scenario when he/she/it created Bitcoin.
The worst governments could do is legislate a banking ban, which would make it inconvenient for citizens to buy and sell crypto without a fiat gateway. But it definitely wouldn’t stop them.
With all the encryption technologies that exist, anyone can send and receive crypto payments without anyone knowing.
Although it’s important to note that all cryptocurrencies are not made equal. Some are harder to track than others.
Bitcoin is pseudonymous, which means that by itself, it’s not enough to be untraceable. But when coupled with a cloaking mechanism, such as a mixer and a VPN, you can still be untraceable.
Furthermore, there are more privacy-focused currencies like Monero that already have built-in privacy features.
Anyone can transact with crypto without being traced, as proven by the citizens of the countries mentioned.
Why cryptocurrency should not be banned
Cryptocurrency is the future. Love it or hate it, it will be integrated into nearly every aspect of our lives one day, just like the internet we know today. It is inevitable.
A country that bans crypto denies its citizens the opportunity to cash in on the next global revolution. I’m not talking in terms of investments, alone. In fact, that’s the least important aspect of it.
I’m more empathetic towards people building innovative crypto and blockchain technologies, but can’t. Everyone should have the right to make the world a better place.
If given the chance, these builders would be able to help their country greatly through the solutions they create out of blockchain and crypto. But no, governments let their fear get the best of them.
They only see the threat, not the opportunity. So they ban crypto. But it’s pointless since they can’t stop their citizens anyway. Might as well cash in to this new technology.
Governments can never stop cryptocurrencies, try as they might. No country in the world has ever succeeded in banning cryptocurrencies. Therefore, it is a worthless endeavor.
Some countries have realized this by now. Others are still catching up. But eventually, they’ll all figure it out.
Bitcoin is like Pandora’s box. The moment Satoshi let it out into the world, crypto was already too late to stop.
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