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The Double-Edged Sword of Technology

Would you be surprised to find out that a drug dealer does not accept credit card payments? Of course not. You do not attack the concept/idea of cash if a drug dealer doesn’t accept credit card payments.  That’s ridiculous, right?  Why does anyone with nefarious motives use cash?  Well, it turns out that cold hard cash has a lot of favorable attributes for someone who wants to stay under the radar.  For instance, it is difficult to trace, it is instantaneous, there are no charge backs, and it is universally accepted.  You get the idea, and you probably already knew all this. What’s the problem with traditional cash?

You can’t throw it at your computer screen to pay for things far away.

That won’t get you anywhere.  In fact, up until now, it was quite difficult to transact digitally without leaving a trail for all to see.  You have been forced to trust services to take your cash and transact for you, keeping records of your business.  Over time, as technology has grown, we can now share information at incredible velocity via the internet.  Subsequently, the financial systems have attempted to keep up, building things that allow you to make purchases across far distances, but they are based on their own antiquated infrastructure–basically, traditional cash transfer.  If you want to use these systems, then they need to know who you are, and what you want to do.

Until now.  This is what the “decentralized” notion is all about when people try to tell you about Bitcoin.  There is no “they.”  When you hand cash to someone for something, you don’t rely on a company to take your money, and then hand it the person in front of you.  You can do that yourself.  Bitcoin is the same, but digitally.  This is fundamentally different than all other ways to pay for things on the internet.  Bitcoin is digital cash, and nothing else is.

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So if you’ve followed me up to this point, then it isn’t that hard to make the next logical step.  You cannot attack Bitcoin because people use it for nefarious activities for the same reasons you can’t attack physical cash–they’re identical.  Well… Bitcoin is actually better because the blockchain is an open ledger for all to see, but that’s for another blog (or google it).  Bitcoin is a tool, which solves the same human-problem that cash does, but does it wwwaaaaayyyyy better.  It is a technology that expands the possibilities of transferring things of value far beyond our current systems.  Naturally, after its invention, people will find new ways to do things.  Some of those things will be bad, some will be good.

As always, let’s use the internet as an example.  The internet was invented, it spread, people use it.  I think everyone can agree on this.  Bad people do things, and then share these wrong-doings on the internet for others to see, pirate, purchase, etc.  Do we blame the internet for enabling the wrong-doers?  Do we boycott its use because “bad people use the internet?”  No, that’s ridiculous.  The internet was an expanding technology that allowed people to share information almost instantaneously, and we cannot condemn it because there are a few bad apples in the tree who want to do shitty things.

I think I can sum this entire post up.  Sorry for making you read everything else.  Every community has assholes, but you can’t judge the entire community based on the actions of the assholes alone.  More specifically, you really shouldn’t blame the tool the assholes are using.

Stop blaming Bitcoin for the actions of humanity’s assholes.

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