Escape the Government Cash Ban
A few weeks ago I went to a meeting about Bitcoin in Perth, Australia. A very old friend – he’s 81 – asked me to do a write up about the event.
I’m not that fascinated by Bitcoin. But the internationally famous Bitcoin Girl was attending, so I decided to go for other reasons.
Something happened during the event I need to tell you about. (It has nothing to do with her.)
Sitting next to me was a former Australian intelligence officer. He’d recently been shot in the knee by the Taliban and still wore the leg brace. The gun and bullet that did the damage was paid for in Bitcoin. The officer knew because that was his job – to examine the use of Bitcoin in arms deals.
Now I think the guy was a libertarian like me. Despite being shot in the leg, he didn’t want to ban Bitcoin. Instead he asked a nuanced question about how the Bitcoin community could combat the wrong type of person from using it.
It was a good question. But the attendees still threw in his face the usual go-to arguments that we libertarians have ready for the doubters:
“If they didn’t use Bitcoin, they’d just use something else – like cash.”
That’s why I’m writing to you today.
During the meeting I suddenly realised how governments are going to stage the move on their biggest enemy.
It’s a source of power that lets citizens defy almost every government power in almost every country. You can evade government surveillance, tracking and repression using it. It doesn’t matter what they ban, you can still get it, do it and sell it, as long as you have access to this simple thing.
And no, it’s not Bitcoin. It’s cash.
Cash is far better than Bitcoin if you want to evade the government’s grasp. It’s anonymous, everyone accepts it all around the world and there’s no trace of any transactions.
That’s why the government is going to ban cash.
Cash is the ultimate tool in the fight against government control.
But it’s also a basic part of day to day life. And that means the government needs a damn good reason to ban it.
Their answer is terrorism.
Cash is rather popular amongst terrorists. They use it to fund and carry out their operations. Because security services can’t trace it, they can’t monitor terrorists or prevent attacks. So we must ban it.
Of course banning cash won’t stop terrorism at all. But the argument is persuasive enough to those of us who just use our plastic cards to do the work anyway.
Without cash we can track any evildoers and provide proof of their evildoings using electronic banking records. That proof holds up very well in court as it shows how much was sent from whom to whom and when. (The same goes for the record of Bitcoin transactions if you can link them to the perpetrator, by the way.)
The problem is, once they do ban cash, we are all well and truly in the government’s power. Everything we do can be traced back to us. If all transactions are electronic, it will become extremely difficult to evade any law, no matter how stupid it is.
Do you want the government to have that power over you? If your answer, like mine, is a resounding “no”, then you need to take a look at what my friend and publisher Nick O’Connor has prepared for you.
Remember, once they’ve banned cash it’s too late to hide whatever they choose to make illegal. You’ll be at their mercy.
Editor, Capital & Conflict