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Colonising the Cryptosphere

by Radha Stirling

The US is attempting, by hook or by crook, to assert global jurisdiction over all issues pertaining to cryptocurrency

It is entirely possible that the heyday of cryptocurrencies is already over. The era of brilliant young visionaries imagining a world of decentralised finance, in which every person could conjure wealth seemingly out of the ether -- potentially empowering the masses with new technological opportunities to escape poverty, oppression, and upward immobility -- had a good run.

Arguably, the creation of the Cryptosphere was the most promising event since the discovery of the New World 500 years ago. Beginning in 2009 with the launch of Bitcoin, a whole new realm of apparently infinite possibility was being explored. When crypto pioneers explained this new terrain to the rest of us, they might as well have been delivering a lecture about quantum physics to a kindergarten class. No one was quite sure what it all meant, but the bottom line appeared to be that this new world was liberating.

Perhaps because it was so new, so confusing, and so exciting; governments around the world have been slow and fumbling in their approach to cryptocurrency…until now. It has become increasingly clear that states do not want to lose their grip on the control of money. The analogy of the discovery of the New World is more apt than it seems, because it looks like the Old World of the Federal Reserve and Central Banks is planning to colonise the Cryptosphere --and it is going to be ugly.

Because cryptocurrencies are still baffling to most officials and lawmakers, the wilderness of digital finance remains largely unregulated. Is Bitcoin money? Is Ethereum an asset? Is Dogecoin a security?