Earlier in December, a European bitcoin exchange said it had been
granted “payments service provider status” by French government
officials. In other words, the French government considered the exchange to be like Paypal, or similar services.
The exchange is called Bitcoin-Central. The status allows them to seek protections against loss from fraud, among other legal “perks.”
This sparked a good deal of controversy within the active bitcoin community. It puzzled me, at first, because I would think that governments would want to stop bitcoin — I’d expect to see more of what we saw within the U.S. government this past year, decrying bitcoin as a currency for drug dealers and other black-marketeers.
Here’s the worry: If members of the political class cannot stop bitcoin for being used, they can seek to regulate it. This would undermine one of the points of bitcoin. It was meant to be an unregulated currency; it was meant to put purchasing power back into the hands of you and me, and to distance such power from politicians, unelected government officials, and corporate bankers.
On the other hand, this could be a sign that the digital currency is gaining acceptance. But does it need acceptance or recognition from government agencies?
“Here’s the real issue — regulation in this context is only a bad thing if it leads to crony capitalism or if it suggests that ‘still-in-beta cryptographic play money’ bitcoin requires regulation similar to a national political currency.”
– Jon Matonis, Forbes.com
In my opinion, this is something to watch out for as the use of bitcoin continues to spread. However, I doubt that use of bitcoin could be successfully regulated.
Agree or disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments section…