During a talk, noted bitcoin advocate, technologist entrepreneur Andreas M. Antonopoulos was asked the inevitable question- ‘Will Bitcoin make it easier for terrorists to fund their operations?’
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Bitcoin is known by many for its dark past, notably its association with the deep web marketplace Silk Road. A haven for drug dealers, would-be assassins, and myriads of other criminal activity, it was unfortunately because of the affiliation with Silk Road that many first heard of Bitcoin. That association often lead people to believe Bitcoin was a scam or somehow illegal, a reputation the cryptocurrency still causing friction to this day.
The suspicious refer to Bitcoin’s anonymity and inability to be traced as the primary motivations for terrorist organizations to utilize the cryptocurrency as a means to fund their operations. That and Bitcoin’s widespread adoption throughout the deep-web makes the cryptocurrency an obvious choice for under-the-table and illegal transactions.
These very reasons that make Bitcoin appealing to criminal organizations are hard-baked into the cryptocurrency’s protocol. Bitcoin’s method for obfuscating the identities of users involved in transactions is a key component of the success of distributed ledger technology. The identity protection allows for public, yet secure, ledgers that are visible to all users.
Is it worth the Risk?
Though these features of Bitcoin make the technology a potential avenue for terrorists and criminals, by facilitating the success of blockchain technology these features, suggests Antonopoulos, are what make cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin such a potentially disruptive asset for the global population.
“We live in a world where criminals use technology,” Antonopoulos goes on to explain, “money, telephones, shoes, but we don’t ban those technologies just because criminals use them.” He responds to the question by outlining how cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based technology will serve a far greater purpose: giving access to financial systems historically out of reach for over four billion people around the world.
“Most of humanity will use them for food, sanitation, healthcare, etc. It is a fake promise that we’re going to stop terrorism by controlling everyone’s money, because all it goes is exclude billions of people from the global financial system.”
For his full response see Antonopoulos’ video of the talk.
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