Rick Falkvinge: The Coming War on Bitcoin

November 17, 2014 17:41 UTC

Rick Falkvinge, the founder of the original Swedish Pirate Party, argues on TorrentFreak that Bitcoin circumvents every single financial regulation, and the government itself, as irrelevant and obsolete. He predicts that the establishment will fight back ruthlessly.

“The copyright monopoly war wasn’t the war, it was the tutorial mission. The internet generation is using technology to assert its values and its place in society, and the old industrial generation is pushing back hard against irrelevance. Things are about to get much worse.”

After recalling the history of the copyright wars, Falkvinge remarks that Cory Doctorow’s observation in his brilliant speech about the coming war on general computing was right: Politicians are clueless about the Internet because they don’t care about the Internet.

“They care about energy, healthcare, defense, education, and taxes, because they only understand the problems that defined the structures of the two previous generations – the structures now in power have simply retained their original definition, and those are the structures that put today’s politicians in power. Those structures are incapable of adapting to irrelevance.”

The Internet Generation Claims Control

Movie and music piracy were small time items, and the politicians didn’t care much until the massive lobbying of the copyright industry forced them to act. But cryptocurrency like Bitcoin – based on the same social mechanisms, social protocols, distributed principles as BitTorrent’s sharing culture – is not something that passes unnoticed, because it demonstrates the obsolescence of central banks and today’s entire financial sector. Bitcoin hits the establishment where it hurts, and of course the establishment will fight back.

“Cory Doctorow was right when he said this isn’t the war, this is just the first skirmish over control of society as a whole. The Internet generation is claiming that control, and the old industrial generation is pushing back. Hard.”

Beyond Bitcoin, there are technologies like Ethereum and Counterparty, which aim to make the more core services of government – incorporation, courts, arbitration – obsolete and circumvented. The old structures will not accept that development sitting down.

“[T]his time, the technology and social changes are going to be attacking the very core power of politicians head-on. This time, they will try to crush technology and its users quite deliberately, rather than out of ignorance. This time, they will hold no punches and consider no balance against rights to privacy, life, happiness, or liberty.”

But, says Falkvinge, this time we are ready.

It is to be hoped that the coming war on Bitcoin can be resisted within the legal and democratic processes of our societies, without resorting to what Falkvinge calls “The Fourth Box.”

What do you think of the coming war on Bitcoin? Is Falkvinge overstating his point? Comment below!

Images from Wikimedia Commons and Shutterstock.

Last modified: November 17, 2014 17:43 UTC

@giulioprisco

Writer specialized in futurism, science, technology business.