I watched the Chinese government (from afar) seek to slow down the adoption of Bitcoin with mild fascination.
In a weird way, I kind of felt sorry for them.
They went after exchanges and sought to impose controls. The thought was…”if we shut these down, we end the run on the currency.”
Yet, as is often the charge levied against militaries, the Chinese were “fighting the last war.”
It’s a centralized entity seeking to shut down another centralized entity.
This is Phase 2 of Schopenhauer’s 3 stages. It’s the “violent opposition” that Primavera highlighted in her entry in Blockchains in the Mainstream, “Ridiculous, Dangerous, or Self-Evident.”
While centralized exchanges may currently be the best way to “on ramp” to Bitcoin, they aren’t the only way and, in response to the “violent opposition,” other ways that are decentralized (and thus immune to state control) will pop-up.
It’s difficult to believe that the history of the world for its entirety changed 9 years ago, but it did.
The concept of a distributed ledger could have existed in a whitepaper, but a global implementation wasn’t even possible until we had massive numbers of people connected to the Internet, generally affordable broadband, and low cost, powerful enough computers to maintain it.
Now, we have all of that.
And it’s going to get even more pronounced as mobile devices become the centerpiece of networks and the location where applications are run as part of a distributed network.
Then, the Chinese government (or any government) will have to shut down the entire cellular and data network of the country.
That’s going to be tough to do.
I’m not sure how governments and global crypto-currencies co-exist, but I’m pretty much convinced that if a national government tries to take on a decentralized crypto-currency, the government is going to lose.