War Is Calling Crypto’s ‘Neutrality’ Into Question
Whose side is cryptocurrency on? If you had asked Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous person (or persons) who created the Bitcoin platform in 2008, he/they likely would have rejected the question. The whole point of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin was neutrality—the fact that no government, bank, or entity could prevent you from using it, whether you were paying for a pizza, a forbidden book, or a bag of cocaine. That, of course, started changing as soon as crypto’s value made it the perfect medium for criminal transactions, from ransomware to dark net marketplaces. Regulators around the world demanded that exchanges and other “off-ramps” blacklist cryptocurrency from accounts linked to criminal activities or individuals, despite illicit trades accounting for just 0.15 percent of global crypto movements in 2021.