Bitcoin represents the third war between the digital society and the physical society

In order to increase the acceptability of Bitcoin for ecommerce purchases everywhere, a service has emerged where by an intermediary takes the responsibility of converting the buyer’s bitcoin payments to the legacy currency of the ecommerce site. Bitsumo  a company in Bolivia has offered to assist bitcoin users to shop in all e commerce sites with bitcoins at a price of around $3 per transaction.

Bitsumo type of  of conversion services will become more common in days to come and certainly helps in making bitcoins more acceptable. However before rushing to use such services it is essential to establish the reliability of the intermediary.

As the popularity of Bitcoins seem to grow unabated, the voice of pessimists are also growing shriller. There are many who claim that Bitcoin is doomed to fail and Bitcoin is a Ponzi scheme.

While discussions on Bitcoins have been occupying the Indian minds as a prelude to the first global Bitcoin conference coming up in Bangalore in the second week of December, it is time to spare a thought on how to help public not losing money in pursuance of what may turn out to be a mirage.

In the opinion of, Bitcoin system or the crypto currency concept in general is an innovative concept which is inherently capable of providing a digital form of currency which can be functionally more efficient than the traditional fiat currencies which are more prone to inflationary pressures. However the balance of legal enforcement power is today with the physical world and if the masters of the physical world so decide, they have the ability to kill the concepts like Bitcoin by force. Will they do it? is the question and not whether they can do it. had been arguing for a long time for Cyber Laws by the Netizens and for the Netizens. However what finally got adopted and thrived is “Cyber Laws for the Netizens by Non Netizens”. The laws therefore were meant more for protection of the non netizens rather than the netizens. The regulators considered the cyber space as a continuum of the physical space and created laws accordingly rather than letting both societies grow on their own and manage only the bridge between the two societies.

Bitcoins now has posed a fresh challenge to the world to resolve the conflicts between the two societies.

The first war between the digital society and the physical society was fought on copyrights. This was decisively won by the physical society with the closure of Napster.

Presently the second major inter society war is happening on the Social media in the form of “Privacy Protection” Vs “Security Requirements”. the trend is again indicating a victory for the Security Needs.

Now the war about whether Crypto currencies should survive or not appear to be the emerging as the third war between the Cyber and Meta societies.

Will it be third time lucky for the cyber society? or

Will we finally learn to live together and find a way for the two societies to strike a treaty where the crypto currencies may be allowed to survive and also benefit the meta society?

…is the problem on hand. Perhaps this is more difficult than the crypto problems which the bit coin miners have been trying to solve day in and day out.

Striking a treaty between the two societies also implies that representatives of both societies try to handle the issue diplomatically and with a spirit of give and take. While the Regulators in the Meta society has  people who have such diplomatic skills, it is not clear if the Bitcoin community dominated by young technical minds and speculative traders have the necessary maturity for a diplomatic bargain.

The attempt towards finding a mutually acceptable solution to let Bitcoin survive can start with India if RBI the regulator has an open mind and starts a dialogue with the Bitcoin community without looking at Crypto currencies as an attempt to challenge regulation and therefore intrinsically inimical to the society. The opportunity is here with the global conference in Bangalore.

It is stated that RBI is “Watching” the Bitcoin situation and it is rumoured that RBI and SBI representatives are likely to participate in the conference. At least the Indian stakeholders of the Bitcoin community would be well represented in the conference. There is therefore no better opportunity than to start a dialogue right here and now on how to make the Bitcoin system acceptable to the regulators and how to prevent the regulators from taking such restrictive actions that may make the doomsday predictions come true.

I urge the conference organizers to form a “Crypto Currency Association of India” as a legal entity in the physical world with a responsibility to negotiate with the RBI to find an amicable solution to the perceived conflict between the digital society and the physical society as a result of the emergence of Bitcoin.


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About Vijayashankar Na

Naavi is a veteran Cyber Law specialist in India and is presently working from Bangalore as an Information Assurance Consultant. Pioneered concepts such as ITA 2008 compliance, Naavi is also the founder of Cyber Law College, a virtual Cyber Law Education institution. He now has been focusing on the projects such as Secure Digital India and Cyber Insurance
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