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When Bitcoin is often spoken about in the media, or by government officials, you’ll often hear the word crime in the same sentence. This leads many people to believe that Bitcoin is only used by criminals. But this is not necessarily the truth, and it’s important that you research and make your own decision about the topic.
One of the main reasons the government like to accuse Bitcoin of being used by criminals is because it is an anonymous currency. This means when you, or anyone else, participates in a Bitcoin transaction, your name won’t be attached to the transaction. Now this doesn’t mean the US government, or bored people on the internet, can’t trace your wallet address back to a name, but it means it’s difficult to do so. And this leads to the government thinking that Bitcoin will be used by criminals to hide their behavior.
The government isn’t necessarily wrong, because criminals can use Bitcoin to commit crimes, and they have in the past via an online marketplace known as The Silk Road. But does this mean they’re committing large acts of terrorism using Bitcoin? No. Large transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain attract lots of attention both from the government and the people within the system. And if you make numerous transactions worth over $10,000 USD, you will definitely be flagged. What’s more, in recent years, most wallets have been following KYC and AML procedures as outlined by the US government. So, if you want to use an app to get a cryptocurrency wallet, you will need to register.
This has basically made Bitcoin inconvenient for criminals to use. Not that many were using it in the first place, as criminals themselves have said it’s easier to keep with their traditional ways of laundering money, via art or products such as cigarettes.
If you are reading the above information and wondering why the criminals couldn’t just split their transactions to be smaller and stay under the radar, well, this could be a possibility. But it is an unlikely one simply because the transaction fees on Bitcoin can get very high very quickly, making it non-ideal for trying to make the most of your money. Not just that, but Bitcoin transactions can take some time, especially if you aren’t performing them on an app like Coinbase (which a criminal can’t use because of KYC and AML). And this means Bitcoin a change price by the end of the transaction, which could cause a criminal to be flagged even if they didn’t send what they thought was worth less than $10,000. And this adds another level of risk to something which is already risky to begin with.
So, if it’s pretty obvious that large scale criminals aren’t using the blockchain to send money, why would the government say it? Well, in 2001, after the 9/11 attacks, the fear of terrorism made it very easy for the government to pass some pro-government bills. Therefore, the government hopes that by telling you that Bitcoin is used by criminals, that you will be scared away from using the cryptocurrency yourself.
Now you may be wondering why the government cares about if you use cryptocurrency or not, and this is a circle argument because it goes back to the fact that the currency is anonymous. The government likes control, and it likes its taxes, and when citizens use cryptocurrency to transact instead of fiat money, it makes it difficult for the government to control where the money is going and ensure they are getting their proper taxes on it. Which basically means it’s in the governments best interest if you are too scared of Bitcoin to use it.
If criminals aren’t using the cryptocurrency, then who is using it? The truth is, especially in the present year 2021, lots of everyday people just like yourself are seeing the uses of cryptocurrency. Towards the ends of 2020 PayPal became the next in a long string of businesses to offer the currency on their payment processing platform. This follows in the footsteps of CashApp, which implicated the same change just two years before. In more recent news, Visa has also invested heavily in the future of Bitcoin, as has JP Morgan, and a number of other banks. This means that plenty of everyday people using the popular cryptocurrency for all sorts of purposes.
Currently, a lot of people are buying cryptocurrency to simply hold it as an investment. But, thanks to apps such as PayPal and CashApp, you can use your cryptocurrency to pay your friends or split bills when you go out to a restaurant. And even if they don’t want to hold cryptocurrency, they can easily use one of the two aforementioned apps to cash out in their native currency.
Because it takes so long to process a Bitcoin transaction, retailers accepting the currency is not yet widespread. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use Bitcoin to pay at various outlets, because several online businesses have begun to accept the coin. Major examples include Expedia, CheapAir, Shopify, and Microsoft, just to name a few. If you want to pay for something in Bitcoin, it is always worth asking, as the shop owner may want some Bitcoin for themselves. Just make sure you are prepared to wait a few minutes for the transaction to process.
You may be speculating as to why you would want to hold a coin which is not yet accepted everywhere, and this is because acceptance of cryptocurrency is quickly rising. Although the exact future of the coin can’t be known for sure, the list of merchants which accept the coin has already grown exponentially in the last couple years, and it’s expected to continue to grow in the future as more people learn about the benefits of Bitcoin.
Besides just the fact that Bitcoin may one day be the new widely accepted cryptocurrency, you should also ask yourself how important privacy is to you. In the modern day and age, thanks to a government, which is becoming increasingly more invasive, you have even less privacy than you may think in your everyday life. In fact, every move you make online is tracked and logged by the US government. If this is something you don’t agree with, then using Bitcoin is standing up for what you believe in, which is a right to privacy when it comes to where and how you spend your money.
Overall, it will be interesting to see where Bitcoin goes in the future, especially because the price has increased tenfold since March 2020. And if you’re still on the fence on to whether or not Bitcoin may be for you, make sure you talk it over with someone your trust before you buy your first Bitcoin. Or for more information, subscribe to MintDice.com and receive a free copy of guides which outline to process of investing in cryptocurrencies.