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Re: <nettime> Bitcoin, the end of the Taboo on Money
Carsten Agger on Mon, 8 Apr 2013 14:10:03 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Bitcoin, the end of the Taboo on Money


Florian Cramer wrote:

What I fail to understand is why you consider this a political gain
(to quote your paper):

Felix Stalder wrote:

Or, if you see "the state" inherently tied to dominant interests and
therefore working against the interests of the majority. And then, the
current state of affairs would be merely a more open display of what
which is normal, though usually less well visible. This is, basically,
the anarchist/libertarian position.

If you believe the latter, then I think one of the difficulties lies
in how to fight "the state" (say, through promoting bitcoin) without
falling onto the trap of promoting the market as the alternative form
of marco-coordination (which is what US-type libertarians advocate).

First of all, the problem of no state control and of taxation will soon be moot, I think. For the moment Bitcoin exists in a legal limbo, but as their value and importance continue to increase, states will start treating them as assets with a market value which must be declared - as some sort of digital gold.

When it comes to that, bitcoin transfers may still be anonymous and untraceable, but people will be legally required to declare the amount of Bitcoin they receive for services rendered, and they will be subject to taxation. I think this is quite inevitable, unless the use of Bitcoin is banned (which I also don't see coming).

This means that in the long run, Bitcoin can't be used to avoid taxes, on any financial transactions or anything else - at leat not legally so. The fact that it's easier to avoid taxes by using Bitcoin is beside the point - what matters is that it will be illegal and punishable by law. The current legal limbo of Bitcoin is only due to the fact that it's not only not officially acknowledged as legal tender, it's not even acknowledged as valuable assets.

So what will be left when it comes to that is a currency which is not controlled by any state, and which can be spent anonymously as if it were cash, but digitally. And that's still worth a lot. I'm sceptical, though: It's not possible to create fake Bitcoins, but since Bitcoin is build on free software, it wouldn't be too hard to build an alternative network based on the same protocol . In fact, thousands of such networks could be built, and that could end up undermining Bitcoin's uniqueness, thus causing a crash. I.e., I'm still suspicious that Bitcoin might end its days as a pump and dump scheme, which will be fortunate for those smart enough to sell their stock at the right time.

As monetary alternatives, I find the idea of local currencies like the Puma in Sevilla (https://monedasocialpuma.wordpress.com/, and hundreds of other LETS schemes) much more interesting, as they rely on building a real community of people geared towards helping each other. I see Bitcoin as something that's pulling more towards a Randian free-for-all.

best,
Carsten


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