Thursday, February 01, 2018

India Attempts To Ban Bitcoin

I saw that Bitcoin slumped again, so per my usual routine I went to Google, entered just, "Bitcoin," then clicked over to the news tab. First thing that popped up:
"The Indian government is to ban the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, finance minister Arun Jaitley has announced, kicking Bitcoin’s already-sliding value further down the slope...

...“The Government does not consider cryptocurrencies legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate use of these crypto-assets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system,” Jaitley said Thursday in his 2018 budget speech. “The Government will explore use of block chain technology proactively for ushering in digital economy.” -- D. Meyer
This is perhaps unsurprising given the Indian government's other relatively recent monetary antics, their sudden decision to ban 500 and 1000 rupee notes in late 2016, which created a crisis among India's poorer folks as holding cash at home was the primary means of saving for them. Then as now their excuse was that they needed to combat "illegitimate activities."

Some of those apparently "illegitimate activities" include Indian freelancers and employees of international firms having used Bitcoin to receive their wages from abroad, which created savings versus existing methods, such as Paypal, that effectively created an increase in their pay, improving their quality of life.

In both cases, in the name of combating crime, the Indian government has hurt millions of its own citizens, thus demonstrating how stupid and backwards that government is. Punishing millions of innocents for the alleged actions of a few is no way to dispense justice, and if the experience of India's neighbor, China, is any indication of what happens next, Bitcoin trading there will simply go underground. Who is likely to benefit from that? Quite possibly the very criminals that the Indian government thinks (or pretends...) it is combating.

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