BTC Manager have today posted an article discussing why the authorities (in the USA specifically) are wrong to blame Bitcoin for rising drug usage figures. You can have a read of the article for yourself, here- https://btcmanager.com/authorities-blame-bitcoin-for-rising-drug-usage-fail-to-consider-loopholes/
This is something I want to discuss as it is something that I think needs clearing up. 20 years ago, did any authorities blame the dollar or the pound for rising drug usage? Probably not.
Yes, Bitcoin did make the purchase of illegal drugs online possible, but even so, dollars, pounds, euros and every other FIAT currency have also facilitated the payment of illegal drugs for decades too, so what’s the difference?
The BTC Manager article, discusses an interesting point in which it puts some of the blame for the silk road boom on the US Postal Service, it states:
“Interestingly, government authorities are quick to blame bitcoin for fuelling many illicit activities, but never make comments about the supply chain and logistics system that makes actual delivery possible: The U.S Postal Service (USPS). Criminals utilize a simple loophole in the postal system which makes the mailing of drugs possible. According to authorities, the USPS has no requirements on providing information to make a delivery, including not declaring the contents of a package. Thus, it is a straightforward method for underground markets to parcel their products. This lack of oversight proves that bitcoin in itself causes no harm and is not wholly responsible for facilitating the million-dollar underground drug network.”
Okay, so it would be wrong to give the postal service the power to scout through every piece of mail as that in itself brings up a wealth of privacy concerns, so the blame shifting here is easily countered but this argument does raise some interesting points.
As I have mentioned, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has in the past offered criminals the opportunity to deal illicit drugs (among other things) online but this is something that still happens in day to day life, away from the internet anyway. Yes, a lot of the advantages of cryptocurrencies can be translated with criminal intention but the currencies aren’t the issue, the issue is learning to understand why these criminals need and want to do this in the first place.
By blaming cryptocurrencies, authorities can encourage their citizens to put pressure on the industry as part of an ad-hoc anti cryptocurrency movement, without them really knowing why. By blaming the cryptocurrency industry, citizens of a country won’t blame their government for problems caused by illicit drug dealing both online and, on the street, instead, they will follow what the consensus says, which in turn is very damaging for an industry that too, wants to stop cybercrime taking place.
These sorts of discussions need to happen more in order to secure the future of cryptocurrency. In a world that wants to encourage regulation, blaming all sorts of otherwise, government level issues on cryptocurrency will just give the authorities the ammunition they need to shut it down, with the backing of a society that is disgruntled about cryptocurrency, without even knowing why.
There are so many other contributing factors that are increasing drug usage levels, not just in the USA but in the UK too. Healthy care, poverty, job markets, housing markets, security and the overall economy, yet all’s they want to do is point the finger at cryptocurrency.
As the BTC Manager article states, here’s a poignant comment from Perianne Boring the President of the Chamber of Digital Commerce:
“Cryptocurrencies do not kill people. Opiates are killing tens of thousands of people a year. Blaming bitcoin for this crisis would make as much sense as blaming the internet or cars that drug traffickers have to use.”
Sorry if it sounds a bit Goldie-Lookin’-Chain-esque to you but the bottom line is this, the authorities need to work with the blockchain industry to do something about this, not against it.