Earlier today, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the Internet Archive, and Reddit, all filed public comments to the NYDFS regarding their proposed BitLicense Bitcoin regulation. The EFF first posted about the BitLicense, simultaneously revealing their stance and prompting the populace to send their own comments to the NYDFS, last week. The San Francisco companies have given voice to an opinion about the BitLicense that doesn’t require any prerequisite knowledge about Bitcoin.
The public comment submitted today represents the opinions of three defining organizations from the Internet generation and is notable because it casts the BitLicense in the same light as SOPA and PIPA, a fitting comparison. EFF’s Activism Director Rainey Reitman summarized:
Digital currencies such as Bitcoin strengthen privacy and are resistant to censorship. We should consider this a feature, not a bug; it’s an innovative way of importing some of the civil liberties protections we already enjoy offline into the digital world.
EFF: Bitcoin Is Free Speech
As many other comments have pointed out, the BitLicense threatens to stifle the use of blockchain technologies, not just Bitcoin’s illegal and legal uses. The EFF “notes that digital currency protocols are used for more than just payments – they have expressive and associational uses, too.” EFF’s Special Counsel Marcia Hofmann wrote eloquently on the topic of free speech and Bitcoin in the full comments provided to the NYDFS and available for public perusal here:
The courts have long recognized that code is speech protected by the First Amendment. At their core, digital currency protocols are code. Attempts to regulate code must include robust protections to ensure constitutionally protected speech is not stifled, and the BitLicense proposal would undermine those First Amendment principles.
Internet users around the world should visit the EFF’s action site regarding the BitLicense. The EFF has a pre-written email that users can send to the NYDFS directed at both Superintendent Lawsky and General Counsel Syracuse. Lawsky has promised to have a revised BitLicense proposal by the end of October, something that everyone is looking forward to.
Have you commented on the NYDFS BitLicense yet? Comment again below!
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