MARK MECKLER: Crypto is rooted in distrust of federal power—that's why we've got to keep government out of it

Cryptocurrencies are fundamentally rooted in a singular concept: distrust. Without the pervasive skepticism surrounding the competence and stewardship of money by federal authorities, centralized powers, and traditional banks, the very essence of this ubiquitous digital exchange medium would cease to hold relevance.

In our lifetimes, the meteoric rise of cryptocurrencies has been nothing short of remarkable, offering a potent avenue to try and wrest control of financial authority from the grips of both governments and Wall Street.

This surge comes at a time when growing populism underscores a deep-seated cynicism towards distant federal and global entities wielding consolidated economic might, leaving many feeling disconnected and disenfranchised. In response to this pressing need for trust and stability, a vibrant market has birthed an entirely autonomous medium of exchange. It’s a testament to an undeniable truth: where there’s demand, the market unfailingly responds.

But what happens when the federal government interjects itself into that process?

This year, one of the most recognizable cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, rebounded to smash records after floundering in 2022. The popular crypto hit an all-time high earlier this year (more than $69,000), and although it has since experienced a retreat, the overall trend points to sustained appreciation. And it’s not just Bitcoin; Ethereum is up, too, and appears poised to continue its gains over the long haul.

Yet, amidst this surge, at least one entity is less than pleased — the federal government.

In early February, the Biden administration temporarily declared a crypto emergency in response to surging Bitcoin prices, according to Forbes. Although the White House has since “withdrawn and ceased” the emergency declaration, it’s evident that the administration continues to monitor the increasing prominence of cryptocurrencies with unease. Indeed, as a previous Biden executive order explicitly declared, the President believes he must “take strong steps to reduce the risks that digital assets could pose to consumers, investors, and business protections,” enforce “appropriate controls and accountability for current and future digital assets systems to promote high standards for transparency, privacy, and security,” and ensure “that the benefits of financial innovation are enjoyed equitably by all Americans and that any disparate impacts of financial innovation are mitigated.”

That roughly translates to, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help” — the nine most terrifying words in the English language, according to President Ronald Reagan.

Given that the primary allure of cryptocurrency stems from its autonomy from central governing authorities, President Biden’s intentions to “take strong steps” to regulate the asset undoubtedly stir numerous concerns. After all, government regulators suffer from a poor track record. As The Beatles’ Ringo Starr so eloquently put it, “Everything government touches turns to crap.” Millions of Americans would agree. Do we really want this administration — or any other, for that matter — “intervening” in a process specifically designed to eschew centralization and the many pitfalls of an overbearing nanny state?

Fiat currency, tethered to government oversight, inescapably faces the risk of depreciation and collapse. Only a currency that rejects centralized influence remains impervious to such perils over the long term; safeguarding this autonomy is paramount for fostering enduring economic viability and stability. Thus, shielding it from government interference and intervention becomes not just a preference but a necessity.

If we are to remain broadly prosperous, cryptocurrency and other digital stores of value, unfettered by the choking regulation of government bureaucracies will be necessary. Even more importantly, if we are to remain free, we will have to find methods to permanently protect this new frontier from a government which works to control every aspect of our lives.

The federal government will resist, but we have the tool, in Article V of the Constitution, that allows us to bypass the government, call a convention of the states and impose protections for cryptocurrency in our Constitution. Unique in the world, our Constitution is designed to protect us (our rights and liberties) against the intrusions of government. Such an approach is the only way to guarantee that we remain permanently free from the predators of centralized control over our currency. 


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