Karen Petrou: When Crypto Arrogance is Criminal Contempt
Bankers are often said to live in isolated splendor. There’s truth to this, but banker insularity is nothing compared to the astonishing effrontery of cryptoasset executives who think their self-assured brilliance puts them above not just the law, but even concern for the public good. Nothing argues more compellingly for immediate, stringent crypto regulation than the outrage with which crypto companies have greeted Treasury’s demands – request failed to work – that they cease facilitating the kind of dark-money transactions that fund Russian war crimes, North Korean nuclear-obliteration threats, and webs of human trafficking, narcotics smuggling, and general evil around the world. These companies clearly cannot govern themselves and they must thus be quickly and sharply made to do so for everyone else.
What brought this issue to a head is the self-righteous fury with which crypto companies view Treasury’s efforts to make them comply with the same sanctions rules demanded of anyone dealing in any other form of money. Somehow, money in digital form is money that can do no wrong because, we are told, those who use crypto-currency – apparently unlike users of any other form of a medium of exchange — have a right to do so as they wish.
This omnipotent perspective is clearly evident in last week’s Coinbase suit against the U.S. Treasury on grounds that sanctioning a crypto “mixer”, Tornado Cash, trampled on so many First Amendment rights that press stories giving its side of the case had space only to list a few. …