David H. Hansson, the creator of web development framework Ruby on Rails, admitted that he was wrong about the “fundamental necessity” of bitcoin (BTC) not only in struggling, authoritarian economies, but also in Western democracies.
In a blog post on Monday, the Danish programmer and best-selling author said he changed his mind about bitcoin and crypto following Justin Trudeau government’s harsh response to the recent anti-vaccine mandate protests in Canada.
“I still can’t believe that this is the protest that would prove every bitcoin crank a prophet. And for me to have to slice a piece of humble pie, and admit that I was wrong on cryptocurrency’s fundamental necessity in Western democracies,” Hansson wrote.
Canada imposes ‘martial law’,
Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau has invoked an emergency law from 1988 – never before used – to crack down on the protests, which began as a peaceful rally against a new rule that forced all truckers crossing the US-Canada border to be vaccinated.
The Emergencies Act, meant only for catastrophic events, allows banks to freeze personal accounts of anyone linked with the protests without need for a court order. Canadians have hurried to empty their bank accounts, worried the impending blockade could prevent access to their money.
Police have also tried, and succeeded, in confiscating more than $8.3 million in donations for the protests, intending to redirect the money towards other purposes of their choice. They only backed down following a public outcry. Several measures are being put in place to blacklist people that made donations.
David Hansson criticized the “shockingly authoritarian” reaction from Trudeau’s government, calling the measures “martial law”.
“This is crazy. Absolutely bonkers. Terrifying,” he moaned. “In just three weeks of honking, blocked streets and bridges, bouncy castles and flag waving, this peaceful protest movement managed to provoke the most shockingly authoritarian response from the Canadian government.”
He continued: “I don’t think we have any idea what kind of radicalizing seeds have been planted by Trudeau with these actions.”
Bitcoin’s ‘virtuous argument’ – freedom to transact
It is at this point that the long time bitcoin critic saw the light, and suddenly realized the true value of censorship-resistant crypto assets such as bitcoin against governmental overreach.
“Bitcoin’s most virtuous argument was presented – in if not bad-faith then in fig-leaf-faith – by get-rich-quick boosters, doesn’t mean it isn’t true,” said Hansson, who is also founder and chief technology officer at U.S. software company Basecamp. He added:
“It is clear to me now that I was too hasty to completely dismiss crypto on the basis of all the things wrong with it at the moment. Instead of appreciating the fundamental freedom to transact that it’s currently our best shot at protecting.”
Historically, economically failing and increasingly isolated governments like Venezuela’s or Zimbabwe’s resort to obsessive control of institutions and repression of citizens as they voice protests. Hansson had never imagined Western democracies would resort to similar tactics, and push citizens into adopting bitcoin.
In his own words, he “had for so long deemed the practical desire of people in Venezuela or Iran or China for crypto irrelevant to the entire Western experience.” Now he believes, “you do not need laser eyes or an NFT avatar to appreciate [bitcoin’s libertarian values].” Reports say some Canadians have started to switch to bitcoin
As a decentralized currency, bitcoin is not vulnerable to the whims of governments such as Canada’s. Whereas fiat currencies are subject to geopolitical considerations or asset freezes as is happening in Canada, bitcoin users have little reason to worry about central banks or sanction committees, who are powerless to control a decentralized currency.
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