Critics of Bitcoin often point to its long-term goal of being a global, apolitical store of value as unrealistic. Wouldn’t governments eventually decide to shut it down if it was a threat to sovereign currencies? They may try, but ultimately it is likely impossible to ban Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is impossible to ban, but still, critics seem to argue otherwise. Being a decentralized network, Bitcoin never ceases to run. So, it can never be ‘shut down’ like most typical platforms currently used today.
However, this hasn’t stopped governments from trying. China and India, for example, have both been ruthless in their crackdowns on Bitcoin. Yet, the cryptocurrency space continues to thrive in both these countries.
In the United States, however, even a blanket ban on Bitcoin — regardless of how ineffective it would be — is impossible. This has less to do with Bitcoin’s network and more to do with the legal situation in the United States. Despite being arguably a competitor to U.S. monetary policy, Bitcoin is legally a “free speech issue” in the country, which has protected it somewhat.
According to Abra CEO Bill Barhydt, as reported by Forbes, court rulings have already decided that an outright ban on Bitcoin is impossible. According to Barhydt, “You can’t prevent people from holding ones and zeros on a device in their pocket.” That’s already been established by the courts, Barhydt says.
What governments could do, however, is target the services operating on top of the Bitcoin network. These could include exchanges, stablecoins, and various fiat ramps into the cryptocurrency market — therein lies the trouble.
Thus, although the United States can’t ban Bitcoin, they could technically make it a lot harder to trade and acquire. The regulations in this regard would be comparable to banking restrictions as opposed to anything specifically-crafted for the cryptocurrency industry.
As Barhydt says, the bottom line is that Bitcoin can’t be banned in the United States. Yet, we can expect a serious legal battle in the coming years regarding the many platforms which interact with Bitcoin’s network.
Do you agree that banning Bitcoin is impossible given the legal constraints in the United States? Is it a free speech issue? Let us know your thoughts below.