David Zell is a co-founder of the Bitcoin Policy Institute and Director of Policy at BTC Inc. In this interview, we discuss how the Bitcoin Policy Institute engages to educate politicians in DC through combating FUD, distinguishing Bitcoin from crypto, and aligning Bitcoin with US National Security interests and American values.
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Bitcoin was developed on the shoulders of the cypherpunks building new forms of money outside of government control and oversight. Permission was not sought, as permission would not have been granted. Government actively disrupted the cypherpunk vision, seeking to destroy it. Bitcoin’s emergence was therefore antithetical to the concerns and endorsement of decision-makers.
But, some believe that the initial battle has been won. Bitcoin is now 14 years old. It has spread to all corners of the globe, and radically changed the mindset of those who have interacted with it. This includes some of those in the corridors of power, who have been won over by its ideology and technical resilience. The question now is how Bitcoin development continues.
Bitcoin could continue to evolve without seeking to engage with the levers of the state. Experience suggests that this would marginalise Bitcoin and Bitcoiners within the US. In the meantime, other protocols and blockchains would continue to curry favour with lawmakers and mould the regulatory framework to their needs. Who would win in this situation?
Or, through advocacy and education and cooperation with those in DC, Bitcoin could be allowed to develop openly within the United States. Much like the internet, the risks posed by this new innovation wouldn’t be allowed to throttle the huge benefits it has to offer both individuals and society.
In a grand scenario, Bitcoin could allow the United States to continue to compete for hegemonic power whilst continuing to champion individual freedom and sovereignty. This is a huge prize. Perhaps the biggest prize. This is why there are people willing to put in the hard graft to develop and nurture bodies like the Bitcoin Policy Institute. The future owes them gratitude.