If True Value of Cryptocurrency Is Freedom, Why Do We Need to Regulate It?

Like many technological advantages before it, cryptocurrencies represent massive strides forward in social, economical and technological advances for all of us.

To be clear, this reflection shouldn't be taken from a technical stand point, the technical debate around cryptocurrencies is long and in depth and best reserved for another time. This review should be undertaken at a much more top level.

Something fundamentally mind blowing

Better explained sticking with the aircraft analogy, most of us don't know (or care) how the jet propulsion engine works, but we still happily drink a Gin and Tonic at 40,000 feet while heading off to our next vacation.

The same is true of the cryptocurrency. In the future, and indeed today, many individuals will use these technological advances with little to no understanding of the technology behind it. Of course, those of us who follow technology closely will know this ignorance doesn't come from not caring how it works, its the opposite, its putting total faith in the system working, and working well.

Let's put it this way, much like the combustion engine or the turbo prop doesn't show us what the car or aircraft truly represents, much of the technology behind the cryptocurrency doesn't show us its true value. Freedom. Freedom to trade across borders with anyone for anything. Now Stop. Think about this for a moment. For the first time in the history of mankind since the “Gold Coin,” the same currency can be used in Moscow to pay for flowers that can be used in Johannesburg to buy a new TV (although, yes, gold coins were not used to buy TV's).

Further to that, the concept that my money is worth as much in Downtown London as it is in Uptown Singapore is fundamentally mind blowing. A future in which you are as rich in Dublin as you are in Mumbai is an exciting one that can only help to unify and grow both commerce and the world closer together.

Regulatory issues

However, as the cryptocurrency “grows up” it has had to overcome some serious compliance and regulatory problems internationally. These regulatory issues are numerous in nature depending on which country you read this in. Yet one problem seems to slip under the radar time and time again. Money Laundering. 

For those of you reading this in certain jurisdictions that don't have laws against Money Laundering, the concept of Laundering is taking funds gained from illegal sources and “filtering” (or as the name implies “laundering”) them to appear as a legitimate source of income. With the rise of much smaller cryptocurrencies in the last few years, money laundering investigators and enforcement agencies are struggling to keep up.

As an example of this, the US Department of State (INCSR) identified countries such as Canada, Germany and even France as those of “Primary Concern” for money laundering purposes. To put this into perspective, these countries feature on the same list as countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Guatemala.  

While its true there are a number of reasons those countries