If there is one United States politician who has shown his appreciation to cryptocurrencies, it is Ron Paul. The former Republican presidential candidate and congressman has always believed in the concept. He even got a cryptocurrency named after him. After remaining silent for quite a while on the subject, he popped up this Wednesday, answering a question about Bitcoin on Quora.com. Interesting thing about his answer, Ron Paul does not believe Bitcoin is ‘true money’. Wait, what?
Let it be known to all the Bitcoin haters out there, you do not need to think of Bitcoin as a true monetary system in order to like it. Ron Paul has never hidden his affection for Bitcoin. Of course, this has to do with his own ideas about currencies and why there should be a healthy, legal competition among them. The congressman has championed this cause for years and Bitcoin fits that bill perfectly.
“We have a terrible monetary system today. We have a government that purposely counterfeits and debases the currencies, and I believe that the alternative would be a competition. That means that anything that wants to substitute for the American dollar should be permitted. There should be no prohibitions; there should not be a monopoly and a cartel running our monetary system because it so often benefits the privileged few. We certainly saw this in the bailing out of the financial system where the wealthy bankers got bailed out it in this recent and severe recession. I am a strong believer in competition. Bitcoin is an introduction to that.”
This sums up most of Bitcoin fanatics’ thoughts about cryptocurrencies. It is a way to take the power back, at least to some extent. Bitcoin has not reached that spot where it can make a big change yet, but it gives us hope. Hope is one of the most important things nowadays. So if Ron Paul is rooting for Bitcoin (or any other currency that can rival the existing system), why does he not think of Bitcoin as ‘true money’? His short answer to that question was “If I can’t put it in my pocket, I have my reservation”. Fair enough. Luckily, Mr. Paul also gave us a longer answer. One that still refuses to call Bitcoin ‘money’, but tells us why the concept of Bitcoin is important.
“Though I don’t personally believe that Bitcoin is true money, it should be perfectly legal and there should be no restrictions on it, there should be no taxes on it. The people who operate Bitcoin would, of course, be prohibited from committing fraud, but the people should be able to have competition whether it is a basket of commodities or cryptocurrencies – it should be perfectly legal. For this to operate, we need to have freedom from government intervention when it comes to the Internet. I am concerned that the government ultimately wants to curtail the Internet and there have been attempts to do so.
The internet is the salvation for those of us who believe in liberty because it is an alternative way of getting around the system not only in the spreading of our ideas in this instance but in terms of getting around the monetary system on the whole if they do permit crypto-currencies and other forms of transactions. So, this is something that we should all be concerned about whether we endorse it or not.
What we should all argue for is the use of freedom rather than having a monetary system with regulation domination that is run by a cartel and the special interests – that is the kind of system we have today. We want a system that truly challenges the government in their ability to take care of the very wealthy at the expense of the middle class and the poor.”
Ron Paul hits a soft spot there. Whether we regard Bitcoin (and any other cryptocurrency that wants to mean something in this world) as ‘true money’ does not really matter here. What matters is what we do with it. Right now, Bitcoin is a product of the Internet. One that allows us to do things outside of the system. This feeds concern since some services do operate in a grey area. In the end, though, grey areas exist everywhere. I think the US Dollar is used in more shady deals than Bitcoin is. The difference is that the US Dollar is a regulated currency. Why are no politicians screaming about that?
Ron Paul photo by opencurrency.com