A few days back, it was announced the Lawsky fellow in New York who wants to bring New York regulations to Bitcoin that exceed what everybody else seems to have the audacity to propose has extended the period of comments he is "allowing" by another 45 days. And then he plans to throw out another draft and allow comments on that. Now this isn't exceedingly interesting beyond the opportunity to watch aspiring regulators flail in horror as the actual, emerging regulators in Bitcoin become established. Or to quote the whitepaper on the subject:
Statal regulation does not necessarily mean English, or US, or white regulation. That’s right, there’s no guarantee that the regulation will be written in English, or to the liking of the United States, or by white people. Obviously for white English speaking United States citizens alternatives are unimaginable : everyone they know, aye! everyone they could hit by throwing a rock out the window is an English speaking US citizen. This is the whole world, until it isn’t.1
Now Lawsky has taken criticism for his proposal because in the language used this thing could be construed to apply to software developers, miners, mining pools, and all manner of other actors in spite of his protests that this doesn't actually mean that. Maybe this language problem wouldn't be an issue if German had won the competition to determine the common language in the United States, but thankfully it looks like the competition is heating up again with Spanish gaining a commanding position and the spectre of Simplified Chinese2 looming as a possibility. It is possible in the Analytic English to produce written text which conveys precise meaning, but Lawksy and his cohorts production of a text which they assert was merely misread though it was misread widely highlights a previously discussed problem endemic to the Anglophone world which empowers the worst of bad actors.
This Bitcoin thing is still to many a kind of magic that they deal with in mystical terms. In the case of previous adventures of aspiring regulators fumbling into this space this has resulted in incredibly lulzy situations like the Securities and Exchange Commision scratching out a settlement for one thing, parading it as something else, and letting Erik Voorhees to buy indemnity from any future actions by them for pennies.
Actual Bitcoin regulation comes from recognizing Bitcoin is like fire. Not any particular fire, but the sum totality of fire. Many people keep fire they have mastered in their stoves and blast furnaces. Smoking a cigarette allows someone to enjoy mastery of a small bit of fire for some time. Handled carelessly the cigarette's small bit of fire can birth more fire, unmastered fire that can bring ruin not just to the careless but as far is it can. There's even a firefighting profession which is centered around not the extinction of fire, but containing the damage fire can bring.3 The extinction of fire and even the excessive containment of it would be far from desirable outcomes, even if they were possible. As much of the western United States has learned attempting to thwart fire's cleansing merely allows it far greater strength when it does manifest. Then there's the matter of the great nuclear fire in the center of the solar system which if extinguished would leave this place uninhabitable in short order.
- Mircea Popescu, The Future of Bitcoin Regulation. Trilema (April 29th, 2013) [↩]
- Because its the softest, weakest, most pidgin of various actual Chinese languages. Also, yes, despite the fact that Simplified Chinese is supposed to merely refer to the written form; its existence and promotion corrupts the whole endeavor of trying to have a grown up language. [↩]
- Pirateat40's ponzi, Labcoin, NeoBee, and Ethereum are all destructive wildfires which have torn around the edges of Bitcoin. Much as actual firefighters much let these things come to their own end, the actual Bitcoin regulators work to contain the damage. [↩]