By CCN: Just as the world’s financial institutions begin to take an interest in Bitcoin, they prove themselves to be the very reason for its creation. After several conservative activists were effectively ‘unpersoned’ by JP Morgan Chase earlier this year, CEO Jamie Dimon still won’t…
By CCN: Just as the world’s financial institutions begin to take an interest in Bitcoin, they prove themselves to be the very reason for its creation.
After several conservative activists were effectively ‘unpersoned’ by JP Morgan Chase earlier this year, CEO Jamie Dimon still won’t deny there could be more to come. That was the impression left on vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research, David Almasi, when he confronted Dimon at a shareholders meeting earlier this week.
Almasi delivered a copy of George Orwell’s 1984 to Dimon so he could ‘brush up on the spectre of Big Brother’, but left the meeting unconvinced of its effect. Dimon stopped short of saying the bank wouldn’t cancel more conservative accounts in the future.
Yet as the spectre of Big Brother Banks looms large, so too, in timely fashion, does its exorcist. Cometh the hour, cometh the coin.
Is this to suggest that Bitcoin is absolutely free of censorship? After all, Milo Yiannopoulos was booted from Coinbase within three minutes of his creating his account. Likewise, social media site Gab wasn’t deemed the right kind of clientele, even though Coinbase went on to partner up a spook hacking team responsible for the prosecution of independent Saudi journalists.
Yet this only strengthens Bitcoin’s case. Coinbase doesn’t own Bitcoin, and its authority only extends as far as people’s laziness allows. Milo, Gab, and anyone else can still use all the services of the Bitcoin blockchain.
Even if every cryptocurrency exchange, bank and online payment platform in the world declined to offer their services tomorrow, this would still be the case. People have been living off Bitcoin for the better part of a decade – a task (or privilege) that’s becoming easier by the day.
In short, there’s no middle-man when you tap the Bitcoin source directly. Yes, an initial transaction must take place, but with LocalBitcoins dealers present in 16,628 cities, across 248 countries, it’s as easy as buying from Craigslist.
Ultimately, the Bitcoin source code isn’t capable of discrimination – something that can’t be said for JP Morgan.
When David Almasi confronted Jamie Dimon at last week’s shareholders meeting, he asked him to explain the abrupt closure of bank accounts belonging to Enrique Tarrio, Joe Biggs, Laura Loomer and Martina Markota. Almasi recorded the encounter:
A written account of the question can be found here. Almasi, in the aftermath of the meeting, said:
“We gave Dimon a chance to definitively say that JPMorgan Chase has not debanked conservatives and will not wield its power against conservatives in the future, but he really only gave us half.”
In response to Almasi’s nine-paragraph question, Dimon gave the following brusque response:
“Very directly, we have not and do not debank people because of their political views. We have not and do not. And we debank people ’cause they’re DSA, AML, KYC or unable to meet regulation – regulatory-type of requirements for them.”
Those KYC claims run contrary to the accounts of the dumfounded victims, who say there accounts were fully up-to-date and legitimate. Indeed, they say when they contacted customer support, ground level staff were equally confounded by their sudden deletions.
Almasi says those on the right side of the political divide are left with a simple choice:
“If Jamie Dimon can’t absolutely guarantee that Chase Bank won’t ever discriminate against conservatives, conservatives should consider banking elsewhere.”
Had blockchain been invented in the wake of the Watergate scandal in the 1970s, one of its first proposed use cases might have been logging government communications. In the 80s it would have been hyped as a tool for tracking illicit imports from Colombia into the Miami coast. In the 90s, with enough foresight, saving the internet from the dystopian nightmare it would soon devolve into.
The first words in the Bitcoin genesis block gave some clue as to the motivations behind its invention. And while the threat of another catastrophic recession like that of 2008 may still beckon, it appears as though the focus of Bitcoin’s battle lies elsewhere.
“The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”
As more major companies, banks and internet services continue to censor conservatives, the road to cryptocurrency adoption may open up of its own accord. The collective global effort expended on converting people to Bitcoin thus far would be surpassed overnight, as people naturally sought financial apparatus they could depend on.
But, there’s a price to pay for the independence that Bitcoin provides. That price is responsibility. JP Morgan Chase became the giant, centralized authority it is because people handed over their responsibility in return for convenience. It can be cut down to size just as quickly if people suddenly decide to take it back.
This article was edited by Samburaj Das.
Last modified: May 29, 2019 6:03 AM UTC