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The U.S. Government Tried To Shut Down Bitcoin

Bitcoin conspiracy theorists have long suspected the U.S. government, among others, would like to shut down bitcoin.

Bitcoin’s first decade has seen its price explode, making early adopters overnight millionaires, and prompting some of the world’s biggest technology companies to create their own versions of bitcoin.

Now, it’s been revealed federal prosecutor-turned bitcoin and cryptocurrency expert Katie Haun was asked to look into “shutting down” bitcoin by her boss at the U.S. attorney’s office in 2012.

“They said ‘we have this perfect assignment for you’–there’s this thing called bitcoin and we need to investigate it,” Haun told CNBC in a wide-ranging interview, adding a colleague asked her to take down bitcoin.

“That was the first time I’d ever heard of bitcoin.”

Over the next few years Haun would go on to sit on the board of U.S. bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase and teach a class on cryptocurrency at Stanford Law School.

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Any serious attempt made by the U.S. Department of Justice to shut down bitcoin inevitably came to naught, with Haun saying, “it would have been akin to saying ‘let’s go prosecute cash.'”

Haun, who is now the first female general partner at U.S. venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and co-heads its $350 million cryptocurrency fund, has worked closely with social media giant Facebook in development of its troubled libra cryptocurrency project.

U.S. government opposition to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies has become far more transparent since Donald Trump entered the White House.

Earlier this year, U.S. president Trump sent shockwaves throughout the bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry when he tweeted a vicious attack on Facebook’s bitcoin rival plans, branding it and bitcoin “unregulated crypto assets.”

Others in the U.S. government were quick to tow the line, with U.S. Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin adding his voice to the assault on bitcoin, Facebook’s planned Libra crypto project, and other cryptocurrencies, warning they pose a “national security” risk to the country.

Elsewhere, Apple chief executive Tim Cook has warned companies against creating their own cryptocurrencies.

“What we heard with libra were the same criticisms [I’d first heard about bitcoin]” Haun said.

“They were just heightened and they got more attention because of the high-profile nature of the project and the fact that Facebook was involved. I think it would be a really dangerous thing, and frankly a dangerous precedent to start shutting down technology before it’s built.”

Facebook’s libra has been under fire over the last week, with internet payments company PayPal, one of the Libra Association’s founding members, suddenly pulling out of the group on Friday.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and chief executive, had hoped to work with global regulators to clear libra’s path to launch in June 2020 but appears to have underestimated the level of opposition to the scheme.

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I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk I reported on how technology is changing business, political trends, and the latest culture and lifestyle. I have covered the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012 and have charted its emergence as a niche technology into the greatest threat to the established financial system the world has ever seen and the most important new technology since the internet itself. I have worked and written for CityAM, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, amongst others. Follow me on Twitter @billybambrough or email me on billyATbillybambrough.com. Disclosure: I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Source: The U.S. Government Tried To Shut Down Bitcoin

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Bitcoin Payments Down 80% in 4th Quarter of 2018: Chainalysis Data – P. H. Madore

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Citing Chainalysis data, Reuters is reporting that Bitcoin retail payments were down 80% in September, and no mention of a rebound was present.

Several things are to blame, including scalability of Bitcoin transactions (and the expensive nature of them as a result) and the volatility of the currency itself. In order to have mass adoption and continued growth in the retail payments sector, more retailers will have to accept the currency. In order for that to happen, market conditions must be met and retailers must see it as an added value.

BitPay has recently taken a number of measures to make its service more attractive to retailers who want the US dollar value of their sales protected. Beyond the base value of allowing retailers to accept Bitcoin and cash out dollars, BitPay has added three “stablecoins” to its arsenal, giving retailers more flexibility and increasing the likelihood that some of them will remain in the crypto market with their money, at least tangentially.
Lightning Network Yet Unproven

There is also the advent of the Lightning Network, which eliminates the problems of high transaction fees, network congestion, and the ceiling on the number of transactions that can be processed. At least in theory. The way payment channels work, a retailer that wanted to be able to process $1 billion in transactions in a given length of time would have to open up a channel that would allow for that.

Bitcoin retail transactions generally increase with the ticker price, as the buying power of a single unit goes up dramatically. The continuing relative difficulty of acquisition makes it less attractive to spend coins on a regular basis unless you’re seeing an increase in the amount of things you can purchase. At the same time, the regulatory situation is still murky regarding all types of crypto transactions. In some cases a user might be charged capital gains tax if he spends his Bitcoin to acquire goods or services.

Chainalysis spoke to 17 major Bitcoin payment processors to determine the 80% overall drop (in value, not necessarily BTC transacted). Public data obtained on Coinpayments.net, which processes transactions for dozens of traditional cryptocurrencies, showed that it had seen a drop of 50% in the first half of the year.

Actual Bitcoin transactions have been steady, although not extreme, with a high in January of more than 350,000 on a single day


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