The Coming Bitcoin Crackdown

By James Corbett and cross-posted from Steemit.com

We all know the old dictum: “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!” Well, governments have their own version: “If you can’t beat ’em, use your jackbooted thugs to go out and steal their idea and outlaw all competition.”

Case in point: bitcoin.

As I pointed out in my Tech Trends for 2017 editorial, bitcoin regulation is going to be one of the dominant themes of the year. Indeed, that prediction has (unfortunately) already come true, with the EU Council proposing the registration of all bitcoin users under the guise of “anti-terrorism” legislation and the IRS’ legal pursuit of information on all Coinbase users continuing to play out in the courts.

Check the newswire on any given day and you’ll see any number of government regulators looking to get their regulatory mitts on the cryptocurrency:

  • Japan’s new regulation regime for bitcoin and “other virtual currency” takes effect this April.
  • The Philippines’ Central Bank just issued a circular detailing a raft of new regulatory requirements for virtual currency exchanges.
  • The Australian Digital Currency & Commerce Association has pre-empted the Aussie government by coming up with their own self-regulatory code of conduct.

But perhaps nowhere is this clampdown more obvious than in China, where the population’s hunger for circumventing capital control laws is matched only by the government’s hunger for clamping down on capital outflows. The booming Chinese bitcoin market has been widely recognized as the driving force behind the currency’s meteoric rise in the last six months to once again pass the $1000 mark, and it has not done so without drawing renewed scrutiny from the so-called authorities

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