Central banks looking at Bitcoin as real threat to dominance


Governments and banking officials are watching Bitcoin in fear of losing their leading position to the virtual currency and the infrastructure building around it, Arwa Mahdawi, consultant, journalist and Bitcoin employee, told RT.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed that there was an “ongoing investigation” that followed the blocking of the account of Dwolla, a business that allows users to convert U.S dollars into BitCoin and back again.

According to the Department of Homeland Security in the US, the peer-to-peer currency violates new laws that require online transfer systems to identify its users.

“The shutdown of Mt.Gox is a little bit worrying, it looks as if the US government wants to put a stranglehold on the kind of business that’s popping up around Bitcoin, but, crucially, it doesn’t affect much the currency itself. It’s just the exchanges around it and the US exchanges. And by the nature of it, Bitcoin being an international currency, shutting down an exchange like Mt. Gox, even if it affects the liquidity of Bitcoin, can’t kill Bitcoin.”

What’s more, the idea of rivalry between Bitcoin and regular currency is a relatively new phenomenon, as Mahdawi indicated.

“Central banks around the world are looking at the development of Bitcoin with a lot of fear, and not just central banks, but the traditional banking as a whole. If you think about it, Bitcoin has been around since 2008, it’s been around for ages. The regulators didn’t pay any attention to it whatsoever, they dismissed it as sort of monopoly money.”

According to Mahdawi, just in the past few months, Bitcoin has really gained legitimacy, we saw the huge spike in terms of its value, we’re seeing investors pour money into Bitcoin.

“A couple of weeks ago, Union Square Ventures, a very credible investment group, spent $5 million investing in Coinbase, which is sort of a PayPal for Bitcoin. A lot of infrastructures are building around Bitcoin, and that’s why the [Federal Reserve] is looking at it as a real threat to its dominance,” she said.

The virtual currency leads to people re-assessing the value and the meaning of money, Mahdawi stressed.

“The interesting thing about Bitcoin is that it’s made everybody start to talk about what money is, and why money has any value. If you think about it, since 1971, when the US came off the gold standard, the dollar hasn’t been linked to gold, it hasn’t been linked to anything. You have a piece of paper which says ‘In God we trust’ on it, but it isn’t the government we trust. That piece of paper is absolutely meaningless. You’re putting your trust into banks and central authorities. Bitcoin is a whole new idea of money when the money is basically regulated by network and by people.

Mahdawi believes that with people losing trust in governments, the idea of something like Bitcoin is really gaining in popularity, and people are beginning to realize that dollars are no more real as a currency than something like Bitcoin and they are starting to re-assess what the future of money is.

“Bitcoin isn’t going to wipe the dollar off the face of the Earth in the next few years, but I think we’re going to see the emergence of the alternative currencies in a world where traders buy through the internet, in a borderless world with the internet, so the idea of sovereign currency is starting to make less and less sense,” she said.

Mahdawi suggests that Bitcoin could represent a new path in the history of currencies.

“We’ve been in the recession now for several year, the eurozone crisis…People are starting to realize that the government isn’t the best people to put their money to, the government isn’t necessarily going to protect their money for them. So something like Bitcoin represents a call for alternative, [an idea] that you might be better off putting your money in technology rather than in the government. We’re seeing lots of governments beginning to scratch their heads and think about ways they could regulate Bitcoin, think about what things like Bitcoin means to them. Last October, the European Central Bank produced a paper on virtual currencies, and that was the first time that a public institution had produced any kind of meaningful document that looked at virtual currencies.”

The journalist notes that if you look at the bibliography of that document “you will find that the European Central Bank is looking at Wikipedia articles, at Mashable articles trying to find out what on Earth the virtual currency means for them.”

“This week, in the UK, a lot of government officials and people involved in financial regulation got together to start thinking about what Bitcoin means for them. All over the world, the governments are starting to take note and kind of wonder what the future of money means, and how that’s going to affect their dominance,” Mahdawi added.

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15 Responses to "Central banks looking at Bitcoin as real threat to dominance"

  1. dundalkmartialarts  May 19, 2013 at 12:09 am

    So how do you know that bitcoin was not created by the central bank?

    • Aponi  May 19, 2013 at 12:40 am

      It doesn’t matter…it brings awareness to people that anything can be traded. We do not need the currency of a central banking system or the government to give things value. As long as something has worth to someone else, it can be used for barter. Even something created out of thin air can have value. This is true of ideas as well as things. The only thing that gives any “money” any kind of value is people’s willingness to treat it as something valuable. Look at the history of the tulip…an entire country went crazy over tulips until one day no one wanted them anymore. What good is gold? You can’t eat it, drink it or breathe it. It is completely unnecessary for our survival, but it became valuable only when people started wanting it. We give the central bank power when we value it’s product – currency. We can also strip it of it’s power simply by not valuing it’s product.

    • james  May 19, 2013 at 1:54 am

      It doesn’t matter at all who created it, it could have been created by mickey mouse it still wouldn’t matter because who ever created has no control over it.

    • Fabre Geffrard  May 19, 2013 at 3:55 am

      because Bitcoin is basically taking power away from all central entities. So why would the central bank decide to give its own powers away?

  2. Ross Bennetts  May 19, 2013 at 6:27 am

    that article is full of inaccuracies… try this one: http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/16/mt-gox-dwolla-account-money-seizure/

  3. DJC  May 19, 2013 at 6:44 am

    One of the tenents of a more Fluid, more Demokratic society is a new currency. See how to create a fluid society here Interesting… http://iwillknow.jesaurai.net/?p=1238 . But is Bitcoin it?

  4. DJC  May 19, 2013 at 6:48 am

    If we combine a new currency with a crowdfunding “gift” economy using the new currency as its… well currency we can usurp the old order quite quickly. It relies on benevolence though. The seeds are sprouting but will they grow into trees? http://iwillknow.jesaurai.net/?p=1731

  5. Cardinal Rationale  May 19, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Arwa Mahdawi, consultant, journalist and Bitcoin employee is the only source being used to verify these claims. So basically u have no 3rd party without any stake in Bitcoin for comment…? Ok everyone lets move on…

  6. Roberta Stewardson  May 19, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    The best thing we could create is an alternative to the central banking system . It would cripple the Rothchilds and Morgans, etc. It would screw up our governments as well because they couldn’t tax it. ( I am sure they will try) Any barter system would be better than what we have now. The dollar is meaningless, if we all agree that it is.

  7. nelson  May 22, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    y seguimos con el juego del poder como cuando dezanso le dijo a economia que los socios del trueque tenian creditos .no interesa la pelea por el poder del billete ,papel pintado .nadie habla de dar balor al rabajo .con eso se respaldo cada moneda social que hubo si no se respalda con produccion entre los que producen y consumen .es mas de lo mismo .una pelea de poder por poder


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