Now a lot of people are really excited about
Bitcoin because it’s not issued by any central
bank, it’s not controlled by any government.
Let me tell you why I’m excited about it.
Bitcoin is a censorship resistant currency.
What that means is that, although we may be
punished after the fact for having conducted
a transaction, that transaction cannot be
I’m Jerry Brito and I’m a Senior Research
Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason
University, and I teach at GMU Law
In 2010 Wikileaks released secret State Department
cables. This angered a lot of folks, other
folks actually though were happy about it,
and wanted to make a contribution to Wikileaks.
Wanted to make a donation. Yet, they found
that when they went to the Wikileaks website
their options for payment were simply Visa,
PayPal, MasterCard. And when they tried to
use those, they found they could not. Payment
denied! It could not process your payment.
And so why did they do this?
Well, many would argue it’s because they
came under political pressure. Folks in Congress
were pretty upset, and were sort of hinting
at these payment processers that they would
not be very happy if they would continue to
make these payments to Wikileaks.
I was recently talking to a woman who runs
a U.S. based NGO who tries to help the victims
of sexual crimes around the world. So these
are women who have been sold into slavery,
or child brides, or victims of acid attacks.
And she’s trying to get money to these victims.
But this woman found is that she has a very
difficult time getting money to these victims
because the payment processers in those countries
won’t process the payments. These countries
governments either prohibit, or put pressure
on these payment processers because they don’t
won’t to see a U.S. NGO meddling in their
affairs, but yet we want the victims to get
that money.
Bitcoin has ushered in a revolution. In the
past transactions always required a third
party. And that third party could exercise
prior restraint. Now, that’s no longer possible.
And whether the Bitcoin protocol itself succeeds
or fails, it doesn’t really matter, because
the technology is here to stay. That technology
that Bitcoin brought allows two parties to
transact online without the need for intermediaries.
That’s a bell that cannot be un-rung.