Chicago N. America Bitcoin Conference – Philanthropy, Emerging Markets & Regulation

Superintendent of Financial Services for New York, Ben Lawsky, has issued his proposed regulations for a Bitlicence governing Bitcoin businesses.

I’ve warned people repeatedly about the fact that regulators are not our friends — so the onerous proposal came as no surprise. Many Bitcoiners seemed shocked and caught off guard that the proposal could be so unrealistically strict. Some examples include Bitcoin companies being unable to retain profits in Bitcoin, requirements that small startups hire expensive compliance personnel, requirements that inventors and programmers obtain a license before creating new alt coins, rules which would essentially end mining etc. The regulations are at the core a thinly veiled ban of Bitcoin in New York.

These actions didn’t surprise me at all.

Mr. Lawsky has proven himself to be a corrupt and dishonest political manipulator who is a clear enemy of progress, innovation and this community.

So why engage him?

Dishonest: not being truthful (eg: claiming he had no knowledge of Charlie Shrem’s arrest timing then using it as political theater during his hearings, claiming he would carefully evaluate input from the Bitcoin space then not doing so etc.)
Corrupt: dealing in a dishonest manner for personal gain (eg: working with bank cronies to further protectionist policies which greatly harm jobs and Bitcoin, pushing policies which do not have a primary goal of serving the public good….etc.)
Political manipulator: using political tactics, media, duplicity, political theater (such as invoking events like the tragedy of 9-11 -which was mentioned in the hearings- and fears of terrorism as the justification for these anti innovation actions when, in reality, all Bitcoin on planet earth has only a fraction of the value we know with certainty was laundered by HSBC for example)

Furthermore, his power does not come from competence, knowledge or even an election but from threats of violence. Lets be honest, without the threat of violence (his threat of using his power as an unelected political official to place people in jail for use of math) he would have no standing in this space and most Bitcoin people would have never even heard of him.

If Mr. Lawsky had to let his ideas stand on their own merit without force and violence he would be laughed out of every Bitcoin meeting with his proposal that Satoshi should have had a license before inventing a coin.

Instead of laughing at him we’ve made him famous in this community and look to him as some sort of leader simply because he has threatened us with violence.

So why deal with him?

The extreme and damaging Bitlicence proposal shows that he has no intention of operating in an honorable, fair or even remotely logical manner. Why spend time spinning wheels in an attempt to use logic to show the reasons his plans are bad when he clearly does not care about the merit of his plans?
Bitcoin leaders keep seeming to be holding out hope that with just one more white paper or one more AMA or one more legal letter we can get him to see the light. He does not care about right or wrong. He cares about fame and personal gain and his political career and helping his banking cronies by harming Bitcoin. By engaging him we only further this harm.


What do I propose instead?

I do not believe it productive to engage with someone who wishes us ill and who has shown no intention to operate honestly or with reason or the most basic logic. I think that all of the significant advocacy efforts wasted on engaging with Lawsky should be instead spent on PRODUCTIVE activities which are actually likely to yield positive results.

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