Bitcoin and blockchain have established themselves as one of the most important developments in the field of technology as well as FinTech. The digital currency has proven itself to be capable of changing the world economic model for good. Thanks to the decentralized and distributed nature of the digital currency, it offers an alternative to the existing financial and economic structure. Apart from that, it is also capable of creating an inclusive financial system where even the unbanked and underbanked population of the world can be a part.
Even though there is abundant proof of bitcoin’s potential to make the world a better place, governments and their think tanks are hell-bent on finding ways to control it for their own benefits. This is proven by a recent report published by a US Military and Government funded think tank called RAND Corporation. RAND Corporation’s report titled ‘ National Security Implications of Virtual Currency’ was published as part of the study on bitcoin and blockchain technology conducted at the think tank’s RAND National Defense Research Institute.
The report urges the government to find technologically advanced ways to exert control over virtual currencies like bitcoin and also implement regulations to curb its adoption among people. The report suggests that the US government should stop not just the terrorist groups, but even individuals, non-profit organizations, alternative financial services for poor, unbanked and underprivileged etc. from using bitcoin. According to the report virtual currency has increased awareness about cryptographic technology and services among individuals and the technology can be used to disseminate information in the form of blogs, social media, news articles and even communication which the government will not have control over.
RAND Corporation’s report also mentions other non-monetary applications based on bitcoin technology as a threat and that it should be disrupted as well. The methods of disruption suggested also includes disruption of the very properties that make virtual currency based technology and applications attractive, effective and encourages adoption.
Funded and sponsored by the office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, various arms of US Military and Intelligence agencies, the report advises the US government directly and(or) indirectly to curb the right to free speech, freedom of expression and right to privacy of individuals and groups over virtual currency technology based medium.
If the government accepts and implements the suggestions made in the report, one of the most powerful democracies in the world will be trampling upon various rights conferred upon its citizens by the constitution in the form of the Fourth Amendment. The full report can be accessed at this link.