China's central bank just announced that they are making all crypto-currency transactions illegal.
This was inevitable. I'm just surprised it took them so long.
For years governments and central banks have been wrestling with what to do with cryptocurrencies.
Their solution is now clear: co-opt aspects of the technology to make their own Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs). And the world's three biggest central banks are developing Bitcoin-like money tokens to track transactions through every level of the economy:
- The People's Bank of China leads the charge, and in April 2021 issued the digital renminbi for public testing.
- The European Central Bank has launched its digital euro project to prevent 'illicit activities' – among other aims.
- The United States Federal Reserve is exploring the creation of a digital version of the dollar.
And that is why the crackdown has begun.
Central banks cannot allow competing currencies within their areas of control.
The US and eurozone will follow China's clampdown eventually. Maybe not with outright bans, but they can easily create enough friction to scare 'normies' away.
A few high profile convictions for money laundering etc and many cryptobugs will fold, leaving only the most committed.
So expect to see media stories about how Bitcoin is being used by extremists/criminals/conspiracy theorists/whatever-bad-people-you-don't-like.
This a major step in governments using digital technology to increase control of economies, markets and individual behaviour.
Cryptocurrency allows 'programmable money'. This means that official algorithms could block certain transactions according to any criteria that can be programmed.
Hallo 'Totalitarian Measuring Device'.
It's kinda funny that the libertarian promise of Bitcoin (stateless, decentralised money) will be co-opted by the US, EU and China to create different flavours of what Peter Thiel calls a 'Totalitarian Measuring Devices'.
Unfortunately, the lesson of the Soviet Union is that centrally-planned economies have short shelf-lives.
Increasing state control of markets creates huge opportunities – and dangers – for investors. Superbubble is all about that now.
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