Canadian Truckers Make the Case for Crypto
The killer application for crypto is clearer than ever
Money is speech. What we use it for allows us to say something. Fiat is increasingly permissioned money, which is controlled speech. Crypto is permissionless money. Crypto is free speech.
Meanwhile, in Canada, per the BBC:
“Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said at Monday's news conference that banks would be able freeze personal accounts of anyone linked with the protests without any need for a court order.”
I didn’t fully accept that crypto was free speech until I saw that announcement from the Canadian government. If you think the Canadian government is right to freeze the assets of protestors, should US banks have frozen assets of protestors that demonstrated across the country in 2020 in the wake of George Floyd?
You can either believe governments should tell financial institutions to freeze assets of all protestors causing significant disruption or none. If you pick and choose, you’re a hypocrite. Of course, identity politics is hypocrisy, and that’s sort of the point.
Everyone is for protesting, as long as the protests are for what they believe. Everyone is for free speech, as long as what’s being said aligns with what they believe. It’s a persistent human flaw to only be able to see one side of an argument. When one side supports rules to hurt the other, it rarely considers the counterfactual of how those rules would affect their own side if the roles were reversed.
Free speech guarantees equal footing for discussion, debate, and if necessary, protest. Without free speech, truth is governed by the rules of speech rather than the exploration of ideas. If you can’t speak freely, you can’t think freely, you can’t do anything freely. Free speech is the most basic human need after food and shelter. Permissioned money means that others can control access to food and shelter, which means they can control speech.
There is no free speech without free money.
The biggest criticism I hear of crypto is that it doesn’t do anything valuable. It doesn’t do anything that fiat doesn’t do better. The Canada situation should put that debate to rest. Crypto can’t be censored. Fiat can. If you agree that free speech is a fundamental human need, then crypto must be the most important technological invention right now — more important than electric vehicles, more important than AI, more important than space exploration.
Before critics jump in on other common anti-crypto narratives, let me address the two most obvious:
Crypto is just a tool for drugs, money laundering, and other criminal behavior. Yes, freedom comes with costs. Another lesson we never seem to learn. Enabling ultimate and undeniable freedom through crypto comes with enabling objectionable behavior. That is the cost of freedom.
Crypto is just a tool for scammers that steal money. It also comes with speculators looking for quick profits. All emerging technologies serve to match grifters and gamblers in the beginning. That’s the Wild West phenomenon. See email scams of the late 90s and social media scams in the 2000s. As crypto gains more widespread acceptance, it will be harder for scammers to take advantage of more sophisticated users. This is another cost of freedom.
Does crypto as free money mean it will completely replace the fiat paradigm? The reasonable me thinks probably not, at least not in the next couple of decades. The legacy fiat system has advantages in familiarity and certain types of security. But the crypto advantage becomes clearer and clearer as attacks on free speech increase. Whatever happens with fiat, I am more certain that crypto has an irreplaceable function as the ultimate enabler of free speech.
Crypto is freedom. Period. It’s that simple. Like Buffett said of value investing, you either just naturally get it or you don’t.
Should a protestor anticipate the gvmnt freezing their bank account and preemptively transition to crypto? How does said protestor buy food, gas, stocks?
The OG freedom money is cold hard cash.
But the bars to invoke the law are quite high: "... the situation must be considered a threat to the security of Canada, as defined by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act.
This law outlines four possible scenarios:
- Espionage or sabotage
- Foreign-influenced activities
- Threats or use of acts of serious violence for political, religious or ideological objectives
- Covert, unlawful acts intended to undermine or overthrow the constitutionally established government"
If Trudeau should decide to invoke the law, this would certainly be challenged at court.
On the other hand, it's an illusion to think of crypto as being "free" money:
- to ramp on / ramp of you need bank- and creditcard-accounts: the gov could prohibit to transferring funds to and from exchanges.
- to buy and sell crypto the majority of holders use exchanges: the gov could close exchanges located within the reach of its jurisdiction and block access to foreign exchanges.
- without being able to pay with it, crypto does not really qualify as money: the gov could prohibit to making any payments in crypto.
- to verify transactions many cryptos, including bitcoin, use proof of work, which requires big data-centers with high energy use. The gov could, like China did, crack down on these data-centers within its reach and convince its allies to act accordingly.
All of these measures together would probably not kill crypto but would make it practically useless for common people.