Vitalik: El Salvador Law "Reckless"

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We can count Vitalik as one who is against the law in El Salvador that made Bitcoin legal tender while also forcing businesses to accept it. This is something that created a bit of controversy.

Many in the industry applauded the move but not Buterin. He took to Reddit to explain his stance on this.

In short his contention is as follow:

  • It is "reckless" to push this technology on people without prior education and leaves them open to getting hacked.

  • The fact that businesses are forced to accept Bitcoin goes against the core value of cryptocurrency i.e. freedom.

  • Also citing freedom, he took exception to them only singling out one cryptocurrency, Bitcoin when others actually provide better technology.

  • He took exception of the authoritarian stance the government took, something that goes against cryptocurrency's libertarian values.

  • Finally, he called out Bitcoin Maximalists:

Buterin also further singled out “Bitcoin maximalists” as the ones “responsible” for creating hype and uncritical reception of the Bitcoin law’s implementation, saying that the crypto community should be more vigilant about such a large-scale, and possibly highly impactful law.



Turning To Government For Implementation

It is always an odd situation when you think about governments strong arming people into using cryptocurrency. This was something from the start that was bound to create some controversy.

One of the issues that many in the cryptocurrency industry have is how governments behave. The fact they operate by force, using their guns and jails as means of ensuring obedience, has been the subject of many discussions within the cryptocurrency community.

Of course, Buterin is right. Suddenly, when the threats are to our advantage, we are in all favor of the force being applied. It is the epitome of "the end justifying the means".

Such hypocrisy is nothing new. May feel that voting is a form of violence, especially since the person elected tends to commit violent acts through the use of force. Nevertheless, many, even those involved in cryptocurrency, run to the polls each time, celebrating when their candidate wins.

Nevertheless, cryptocurrency adoption should be based upon the merits it provides and not come from the power of governments. This form of violence is obviously not sitting well with Vitalik.

There is the other issue of how well the law works out. If it does fail, it could be a set back for cryptocurrency acceptance.


There is the counter view that this only serves to balance out what is being done against cryptocurrency by governments. In this battle, it is required to have some allies to go against those government forces that seek to do away with cryptocurrency.

Certainly, this is hard to argue since we see those forces all over the place. Probably the best example is China. That country is making it perfectly clear where it stands regarding all aspects of cryptocurrency.

That said, it does appear the more the Chinese crack down, the more the industry (market) responds. Overall, I think most would agree that action against the miners was a good thing since it decentralized the mining from a geographic perspective.

We also have the debate of how much of a shutdown can there be of cryptocurrency. With mining operations, the government can follow electricity usage to get a hold of mining equipment and take it away. It can also go after exchanges. However, when dealing with the peer-to-peer nature of the technology, can they really go after individuals?

This is something we are going to find out over the next couple years. Since governments around the world are going to be tightening regulation, it is going to be tested to see how much out of reach cryptocurrency can be. For those projects that are truly decentralized, like Bitcoin, it is likely that they cannot be stopped.

Ethereum As Legal Tender

Would Vitalik have such a view if it was Ethereum that was chosen as legal tender instead of Bitcoin?

This is hard to tell. Perhaps he is just butt-hurt that his creation wasn't the one that got selected. Of course, from a financial perspective, no harm done since it is likely that Ethereum, and by extension Buterin, will do very well over the coming years.

Perhaps he is coming from the perspective that he would be true to his principles. Much of this does go against the values of many in cryptocurrency.

So what are your thoughts?

Do you agree with Vitalik and his stance on this? Or do you believe he is whining about something that is very beneficial to cryptocurrency and, thus, the world?

Tell us in the comments below.

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