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Can India or anyone else actually stop cryptocurrency?

India has announced they want to “stop the flow of Bitcoin”, this happens from time to time, some bank or government tries to take control of something that they cannot possibly control.

The Narendra Modi government and India’s central bank have made it amply clear they aren’t comfortable with virtual currencies. The recent spike in bitcoin’s value, which attracted many investors, has only made the government more frightened and thus stronger in its criticism.

However, these announcements don’t make these virtual currencies, or trading in them, against the law. Even if a country passes a law banning cryptocurrencies, it can’t actually stop it, but why? – Simple, because they don’t own the currency. It’s like India banning US Dollars. No one cares. People will still carry on trading with the currency.

Banning a cryptocurrency though, is a much more complicated affair as there are no physical notes to prove that anyone actually had the currency, accounts are generally only tied to people in online services like Blockchain/Coinbase, if you had the currency on a ledger wallet, for instance, you’d just have a USB key, useless to anyone who did not know the password. Equally, a mobile phone with a wallet on it is easily hidden, even if they found it, getting past the security of the passwords would be difficult. Building a firewall to block Bitcoin transactions is also impossible, as they are put on the Blockchain and frankly, that’s everywhere and nowhere. You could block online websites like Blockchain/Coinbase, but that would make no difference as people would just use offline wallets.

Much like the police in Leicester here in the UK who think they have someone’s coins, it’s like catching fairy dust. Governments and banks are getting scared because cryptocurrency is gaining wider use and that means people will be able to control their own destiny. I do feel it’s rather ironic that Gandhi is on the Indian note, I wonder what he would have to say about all this, being a lover of freedom I am sure he would be so excited about a currency that is run by no-one and owned by everyone.

My excitement about crypto is actually not making a million bitcoins (although that would be nice), but more about the technology and freedom for us all to control our own destiny.

Perhaps I’m a bit of an anarchist when it comes to money.



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