I can’t really believe that we are writing this, but, according to a report by Coindesk, the recent ‘block’ of a file containing code for the production of a 3D printed gun, by Defence Distributed in Texas has been compared to an assault on the freedom of speech, as code and thus, has been outlined as a threat to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.
Before we begin, I am going to explicitly state that the prevention of banning the home production of a 3D printed weapon is not a threat to Bitcoin. This isn’t banning ‘the freedom of speech’ this is actually banning the circulation of a document that could lead to incidents and deaths that in the United States, in 2018, currently amount to over 34,000 incidents and over 8,000 deaths, according to http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/.
So you’re up to speed, here’s what has happened in the United States:
“The controversy over 3D-printed guns stretches as far back as 2012, when Cody Wilson announced plans to make such a weapon. It took him and members of his open source organization, Defense Distributed, just eight months. Because these guns are homemade, they don’t carry an industrial serial number (so they’re what’s called “ghost guns”). Besides that, people don’t have to go through a background check to get one, like they’d have to do to buy a commercial firearm.”
“Eight US state attorney general’s filed a lawsuit to block the distribution of 3D-printed gun designs online due to a State Department settlement with the gun Wilson and his company Defense Distributed.”
According to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey:
“The federal government is trying to allow access to online plans that will allow anyone to anonymously build their own downloadable, untraceable, and undetectable gun. This is an imminent threat to public safety and violates the law. We have a responsibility to ensure that these files are not made easily available to the public.”
See more for yourself, here.
The article on Coindesk, by Marc Hochstein, which can be found here, then argues that this censorship could also prove to be a challenge to cryptocurrency. The essence of this is that if the government can ban a set of code that creates a gun, then they will no doubt go on to ban a set of code for cryptocurrency, crypto assets and other blockchain services. This argument is reinforced by a discussion from Andrew Glidden from the University of California who states:
“The hoopla over 3D printed guns resembles the moral panics we face about evil internet money.”
I must note that this view is not representative of Coindesk and refers to Hochstein’s views alone, as per the disclaimer which is visible on the initial article.
Now, hopefully you’re up to scratch, why is Hochstein wrong?
It’s pretty obvious isn’t it. The banning of a code that could go on to inspire mass killings is right. The banning of a code for cryptocurrency is wrong. That’s why open source crypto-codes haven’t been banned yet. This is not an assault on ‘freedom of speech’, I like the idea that code and computer language can be considered as speech, this is fascinating, but overall, the slight notion that the mass, home production of a lethal plastic weapon is similar to cryptocurrency is actually a bit of a joke. Moreover, this article actually tarnishes the cryptocurrency community, by creating false ties between pro-crypto enthusiast and pro-gun enthusiasts. There are no direct links between these two groups so how can this comparison be drawn?
Banning a code for the production of a plastic weapon, is the same as banning the sale of alcohol to underage people, it’s the same as having a minimum age limit for driving. This is a case of public safety and honestly, national security.
Don’t listen to this FUD. The ban on the circulation of a 3D printed weapon code is not a threat to Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies, these are two industries that couldn’t be further apart.