Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Oh Boy, Mercatus Center Scholar Calls for Bitcoin Community to Start Lobbying Congress

WaPo reports that Jerry Brito, a scholar at the Koch-funded Mercatus Center at George Mason University, is urging federal regulators to tread lightly with regard to bitcoins.

This after the government slammed the bitcoin world with an asset seizure initiated by the Baltimore division of Homeland Security Investigations, which resulted in the freezing of funds held by Mt Gox at the money exchange firm Dwolla.

Brito told WaPo that:
Bitcoin has the potential to be a boon to the economy and a boon to merchants. [He believes it could] disrupt traditional payment networks that have not been innovative for a very long time.
 Moreover, he told WaPo, “You can’t put the genie back into the bottle.” In his view, the federal government would have as much difficulty shutting down the Bitcoin network as major content companies have had shutting down peer-to-peer file sharing. A major crackdown would merely drive the network underground, where it would continue to be used for illicit transactions but would be off-limit to ordinary consumers.

Unfortunately, Brito when on to say that:
I hate to say it, but the Bitcoin community needs to start lobbying. It needs to start educating policymakers, lobbyists and influencers about the pros of Bitcoin and the impossibility or the difficulty in getting rid of all the bad uses.
The last thing the Bitcoin community needs to do is go anywhere near government. The attraction of bitcoins for many is its lack of control by government. Lobbying in Washington D.C. would mean only one thing: "negotiations" with the government, where freedoms would be given up to the point where Bitcoins users would be required to be registered users and BTC would become nothing but a souped up PayPal account.


  1. I'm not even sure that BTC would be equivalent in services to Paypal if they play ball with the government.

    Not that they are even going to have a choice in the long run.

    They'll probably end up like Napster- kind of a weird zombie shell of a company that lost its usefulness & prominence.

    Although in fairness to BTC, they weren't stealing anything...they were stopping people from being stolen from and allowing easy and private transaction, among other things.

    Too bad, it looks like it's not going to work out. I pretty much felt like it was doomed to start myself...but that doesn't mean I wouldn't have liked to see it work.

  2. The George Mason folks are so confused. What do they even intend by "the bitcoin community?" Who? Who would speak for them? They don't understand spontaneous order or decentralized organization in the slightest. Could Mt Gox lobby congress? Sure. Are they "the bitcoin community?" Absolutely not. I have a good friend from Stanford who did his PhD in "Austrian Economics" at George Mason...they're basically Chicago-school lite.