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Facebook's hold in developing economies is true. But developing economy's hold on their Fiat currency is true as well. So much so that, India is planning to jail anyone who is holding cryptocurrency for 10 years[1]!

If this legislation passes, any computer scientist, mathematician, programmer who is working with crypto tokens & block chain can technically be held liable for possessing a crypto currency when they run their program?

Yes, the plan to jail those who hold cryptocurrency in a democratic country is preposterous; but this shows how sensitive a developing economy could be when it comes to its money. It's not like the data of their citizens which these countries give a free run to the hoarders, money is totally different ball game.

I wonder if Facebook decides to give a free crypto to everyone who holds a FB account, anyone in India with a FB account will go to jail including those who proposing such legislations?

P.S I don't hold any cryptocurrency due to its impact on energy and thereby planet (Also, I'm including this just in case the legislation passes in my country!).

[1]:https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/finance/dr...




> Yes, the plan to jail those who hold cryptocurrency in a democratic country is preposterous

No it isn’t. We jail people who hold child pornography in democratic countries as well. The core of a democratic country is that it’s governed by democratically elected representatives, not that it’s citizens be allowed access to whatever they want independent of criminal consequences.

I get you and others are calling to the sentiment of “how can we be free if we aren’t free to x” but the value of that sentiment isn’t independent of what X is. You aren’t free to rob banks and you aren’t free to print you own paper currency. Just because crypto is digital and “difficult to stop”(it isn’t though) does not mean that it has to be freely available to business and individuals. It’s still up to our democratically elected representatives to decide if they feel private institutions printing money without control will damage the economy significantly enough to not allow it.


> you aren’t free to print you own paper currency

As far as I know, in the U.S. you are free to print your own paper currency, just so long as it doesn't conterfeit that which is produced by the Federal Reserve Bank. Also, there's nothing illegal about conducting transactions with it either, provided you can find willing trade partners.


>As far as I know, in the U.S. you are free to print your own paper currency

This is not the case, when a 'private' currency gains traction or seemingly encroaches a territory, which is traditionally assigned to government ─ it gets shutdown.

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/25/us/liberty-dollar-creator...

https://www.openpr.com/news/25136/TUC-IMPROVING-THE-US-ECONO...


They called their currency a dollar. If they had called them "freedom rounds", they would have been fine.

Or if they had been owned by Disney for that matter...


http://www.berkshares.org/

It's been around for a long time.


Right this is totally legal provided you report any income obtained through such a scheme on your tax return in fair market US dollar terms. It's no different than bartering (which is also legal).

The other caveat is that if someone owes you a debt you can't require them to pay in your own "funny money" currency. You have to accept US dollars if offered, otherwise the debt won't be legally enforceable.


> in the U.S. you are free to print your own paper currency

Indeed, this is currently done. For example:

http://www.ithacahours.com/


>If this legislation passes, any computer scientist, mathematician, programmer who is working with crypto tokens & block chain can technically be held liable for possessing a crypto currency when they run their program?

Please appropriate your logic on that.


>If this legislation passes, any computer scientist, mathematician, programmer who is working with [automated ponzi schemes] can technically be held liable for [creating a ponzi scheme] when they run their program?

I don't see the issue. When a democratic society thinks something isn't good, they can outlaw it. There are all sorts of regulations on financial transactions and investments already.

I'm not trying to imply that cryptocurrencies are ponzi schemes, just that when something is illegal, doing it on your computer doesn't make it not illegal.


Furthermore, were cryptocurrencies to become illegal, it would probably be similar to computer viruses; It's fine to play with viruses on your personal computer or in a lab, but it's illegal to use one "in the wild." So I doubt it would be as absurd as you claim.


> It's fine to play with viruses on your personal computer or in a lab, but it's illegal to use one "in the wild."

I hope cops understand the difference. When I was in school, computer science teachers asked us to remove the shoes, because 'virus from it' would infect the computers at the lab.


I guess similar to how a chemical lab might use compounds that are illegal in the wild or a pharmaceutical company holding classified drugs.


Found the authoritarian.


This implies that crypto is a democratizing force. So far, it's been mostly early adopters wanting to preserve the system under which they are wealthy and powerful. Who can blame them? I'd do the exact same. But in other words, the same age-old pattern that is barely any different from the banking system that crypto was supposed to bypass, except the inequality actually manages to be quite higher.


I don't know what you're talking about. I call authoritarian someone who thinks that they can circumvent an individual's freedoms arbitrarily by finding enough people to agree with him/her. The topic of cryptocurrency is only one that is good at revealing someone's authoritarian tendencies.


I think there's a line between being authoritarian and supporting a system where democratically elected officials can enact laws. This isn't about crypto, this is about respecting rule of law in society.

> I call authoritarian someone who thinks that they can circumvent an individual's freedoms arbitrarily by finding enough people to agree with him/her.

I suspect there are a lot of people who agree that counterfeiting money isn't something that should be allowed. Are they all authoritarian as well?


Sure, but there are principles that come before the laws themselves.

If following the principles leads to a degradation of the rule of law what would you do?


> I get you and others are calling to the sentiment of “how can we be free if we aren’t free to x” but the value of that sentiment isn’t independent of what X is.

Do you propose an objective criteria by which a state can legitimately dictate behavior on one set of Xs and not another set of Xs? If not, then you are by omission saying that every totalitarian state is legitimate. I suspect you might want to say, if the 51% wants something, that makes it legitimate. In that case you are're saying a murderous state is legitimate. (I won't go full Godwyn here, but suffice to say that many democratically elected regimes have committed legal murder on a massive scale and continued to enjoy majority support.)

Hey, here's an idea for an objective criteria: Does X invade any other particular person's life, liberty or property? Banning crypto fails that test.


Not everyone agrees on the validity of mob rule.


In South Africa, we still have capital controls. My mom earned dollars through PayPal. She couldn't spend it online and had to convert her earnings to Rand within 3 months. Bureaucrats will insist that the same rules apply to libra.

India is even less ready for relaxing capital controls. They will tell Facebook to block libra for their citizens or be firewalled. No one is going to jail, but libra will not succeed there.


Talking of PayPal in India, money should be automatically remitted to the bank account immediately.

At-least 3 months in SA sounds reasonable incase we have to process any refund, though I'm not trying to belittle the discomfort faced by your mother.


that is why totally decentralised systems such as Bitcoin are important. Noone can firewall it


And the people who aren't technical will forget their password.

Since there is no centralized government, they lost their money.

Source: wrote some articles on my own "media" website to try out SEO.

Most popular article, how to recover Bitcoin password


Capital controls can be an important part of a monetary system. It’s not part of most western countries’ systems, but it’s a very valid tool with a real purpose.


Thank you for your input. I'm not very familiar with India's politics, so I cannot be too assertive on its politicians' inflexibility.

I noticed that you expanded a bit on the "cryptocurrency" angle. May I invite you to a different perspective for a second. I don't think Facebook cares whether or not their Libra is crypto or otherwise. Despite appearances this is not a discussion about crypto anything. Facebook is not out to revolutionize money. Facebook has an ecosystem, a walled garden. It also has first mover advantage in many economies with a quasi monopoly. So in essence it has a huge potential market that's just sitting out there waiting. But what Facebook doesn't have (yet) is a tap to suck at the delicious nectar. That's where the Libra comes in.

Facebook is willing to play ball with whoever will allow them to install the tap. They will do all that is necessary for the tap to be legitimized. If it means pinning it to the Euro, the Dollar, the Yuan, it'll be so. Just as long as it's recognized. Once that happens, it's more advertisement revenue and a slew of new paid services through the walled garden. Meanwhile out of the walled garden, revenue from transaction fees to an unprecedented level.

This is not a cryptocurrency conversation.


I will try to travel on the same angle, I brought in India because you predicted Facebook's success on developing economy and India is the largest user base for Facebook besides it being a developing economy.

Crypto or not, it is still a digital currency which is not being controlled by the central bank of the country i.e. India in my example. Especially when the country is trying to roll out a digital currency of its own.

For the sake of argument, let's assume Facebook has no compliance trouble with any of the countries; will Libra be successful? It most definitely will, because Facebook has the capacity diminish friction and users would use Libra like any other coins found in a mobile game like candy crush.


>who is holding cryptocurrency for 10 years[

zuckcoin isn't cryptocurrency, it's digital currency, like gold in WoW


The draft policy is titled, "Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019".

Anything which is not official digital currency will be liable for action.


> I don't hold any cryptocurrency due to its impact on energy

Just to note, the impact of Libra on energy is very very light compared to the current banking system. It does not use proof of work.


Yes, and there are also projects like chia [0] that aim to be a green digital currency.

[0]https://www.chia.net/


How about impact of Facebook on energy compared to the current banking system?


I agree, even those based on Mimblewimble, Casper should alleviate my energy concerns. Then again I can't posses them with the risk of jail term looming around.


I think India, or most other countries, will deem facebook coins an exception. It's probably being negotiated right now.


Facebook's 'Free Basics' didn't work in India in spite of negotiations and even 'hugging'[1].

[1]:https://www.google.com/search?q=Zuckerberg+hug+modi&prmd=niv...


Indian central bank (RBI) is rather conservative and cautious. Also, its policies don't always agree with that of indian government.

I have a strong hunch it just wouldn't let Libra be legal currency.

Besides, given that currently government is run by a ulta right wing party, so it might be possible they wouldn't agree to Facebook plans.


You are assuming they use those laws to lock up Libra users and not just the competition. It seems likely they could allow censorable cryptocurrencies like Libra.


The proposed law is generic to any cryptocurrency, in-fact it was proposed before the Libra was in news.

It's not about censorship, it's about taxation.




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