Started by Bitcoin, Nov 06, 2022, 08:52 am
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The BPI took on the U.S. Department of Treasury's challenge. Treasury requested public comment on digital assets’ national security implications, and the Bitcoin Policy Institute answered with a bomb of a document. It explains the overall value of bitcoin as a tool for freedom. It compares bitcoin to classic US-funded initiatives like Radio Free Europe and the Tor network. It touches the heartstrings and exposes the case in a convincing way.
Today, @USTreasury requested public comment on the national security implications of digital assets. In response, @matthew_pines and I submitted this report, detailing how #bitcoin promotes American interests and values abroad. https://t.co/AOyWDH3p4v— David Zell (@DavidZell_) November 3, 2022
Today, @USTreasury requested public comment on the national security implications of digital assets.
In response, @matthew_pines and I submitted this report, detailing how #bitcoin promotes American interests and values abroad. https://t.co/AOyWDH3p4v
— David Zell (@DavidZell_) November 3, 2022
To persuade people to read it, the BPI summarizes it like this:
"Open digital assets that empower individuals can help advance the cause of freedom, stymie the objectives of authoritarian adversaries, and help advance a core national security interest. Peer-to-peer systems like Bitcoin represent the essence of autonomy, voluntary cooperation, and liberal values that our country was built on."
Over at Twitter, one of the authors took a different approach. David Zell wrote:
"Today, the US Department of the Treasury requested public comment on the national security implications of digital assets. In response, Matthew Pines and I submitted this report, detailing how bitcoin promotes American interests and values abroad."
We now know what we're dealing with. Let's analyze the BPI's case to see if they can convince us.
The BPI sets the stage by making the case for bitcoin as a whole:
"Bitcoin allows anyone in the world with an internet connection to store and send value in a manner that cannot be reversed, frozen, or seized. It is open and permissionless. It is distinct from other cryptocurrencies in that it is credibly neutral, widely-decentralized, uncontrolled by any leadership or founding team, and optimized for resisting censorship."
The bitcoin/ Tor comparison might sound weird at first, but the BPI brings it home with these examples:
"Just as Tor enabled tens of millions of people to see and access the freedom of open societies, Bitcoin enables tens of millions to escape the capital controls of authoritarian states and connect to the western financial system. Just as Tor digitally enshrines and exports the right to communicate freely across the globe, Bitcoin digitally enshrines and exports free trade and the right to transact."
In the risks section, the BPI seems to throw some altcoin projects under the bus. They acknowledge that "criminal groups (some state-sponsored) have dramatically increased the scale, sophistication, and severity of ransomware operations." Then, the BPI says that criminals are increasingly using Monero more and more.
The BPI also admits that "revenue from hacking and theft are on the rise," but they say its "principally driven by the dramatic increase in funds stolen from decentralized finance ("DeFi") protocols." This is true, but did the BPI have to write the following? "This portion of the crypto-ecosystem inherits the "move fast and break things" ethos of silicon valley and their open source code is a ripe target for hackers to exploit and reap very large bounties."
Last but not least, they address the elephant in the room, "The Lazarus Group (a hacking group controlled by the North Korean intelligence service) is the dominant exploiter of DeFi protocols." But then, the BPI blames "their use of the Ethereum-based mixer Tornado Cash to launder their stolen assets." They don't celebrate the OFAC's decision to sanction the smart contract, though. The BPI wrote that the act "precipitated widespread consternation in the crypto-community and will likely be challenged in U.S. court."
To close the risk section, the BPI brings up sanctions and :
"It has been a common refrain that Bitcoin is a useful tool for rogue nations and entities to evade U.S. sanctions. This concern was raised in the immediate aftermath of of e, but thus far, no significant use of Bitcoin to evade sanctions has materialized."
The BPI left Treasury with some simple actionable items that they called "strategic principles," to "mitigate risk, while maximizing the promise of these emerging technologies." Those were:
This report is not only important to the US. Every country's leadership should study it and adapt it to its realities. Bitcoin is that important.
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