Recently, a real political opposition has emerged in the USA between those in favour of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies and those against.
In general, proponents are more prevalent among Republicans, despite the fact that they should theoretically be the most conservative, while opponents are more prevalent among Democrats, who often call themselves progressives or liberals.
For example, the US politician who is most opposed is the Democrat Elizabeth Warren, who was a Republican until 1996. Another Democrat, Maxine Waters, is also trying to resist these innovations.
The exception is the Democrat Robert F. Kennedy Jr, third son of the late Robert Kennedy and grandson of John F. Kennedy.
However, Kennedy Jr. is in some ways an anomalous Democrat because he is an ardent Catholic and is closer to some typical conspiracy positions than, for example, the supporters of the Republican Tucker Carlson.
Bitcoin as an exercise in USA democracy
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has spoken about bitcoin many times before, probably because he is more a libertarian than a classic liberal democrat, a lover of the financial freedom that bitcoin offers.
But this time he also expressed a real political concept that goes far beyond pure finance.
After all, the US is the country in the world that most prides itself on being the home of democracy, even though it may not be from a strictly technical point of view. In fact, democracy was certainly not born in the US, and the US is not even the most democratic country in the world.
But whether bitcoin can also be seen as an exercise in democracy, in the broadest sense, is a matter for reflection.
Bitcoin and democracy
Bitcoin has one obvious and colossal difference from democracy: there are no elections.
In some ways, however, it could be seen as vaguely similar to a form of direct democracy, where citizens do not vote with a ballot paper, but with their own usage decisions.
But there is a big difference. In a direct democracy, every citizen has the same political weight, while those who have the most BTC count more than others when it comes to making decisions.
To tell the truth, very few decisions are made about changes to the Bitcoin protocol. Suffice it to say that it has only been updated twice since 2017, once in 2017 and again last year.
In both cases, it was a community initiative that was eventually simply accepted by the users, but in 2017, for example, not everyone was in agreement and so some created another version (a ‘fork’) that was not very successful (Bitcoin Cash).
Be that as it may, for the development of bitcoin it is the majority that counts, not the majority of users, but the majority of capital.
The words of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
To this we should add that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is actually doing political propaganda for himself because he wants to run in next year’s presidential election.
In fact, in the video where he says that bitcoin is an exercise in democracy, he also says that when he is president, he will make sure that everyone can own their bitcoins in their own wallet with their own password without any government interference.
Rather than a speech about democracy, this sounded like a speech about freedom, and while democracy and freedom go hand in hand, they are not technically the same thing.
The fact remains, however, that what he said seems very ‘American’, so much so that it is surprising that there are ‘champions of democracy’ in the US who argue that it should not be allowed.
Also because, more than champions of democracy, the US seems to be champions of freedom, since it ranks well on the so-called ‘freedom index’, while it ranks a little less well on the ‘democracy index’.
But given that Robert F Kennedy Jr’s main concern at the moment is the US democracy that he wants to lead, it is not surprising that he is trying to shift the discourse on bitcoin from freedom to democracy.
Bitcoin and the USA
It is important to remember, however, that bitcoin is not a US product or infrastructure, but a public and global protocol that now belongs to the whole of humanity.
The US can only choose to accept it, i.e. to continue to allow its citizens to use it, or to oppose it.
In the latter case, the level of real freedom of US citizens would suffer a severe blow, so much so that the US could no longer be considered the home, or one of the homelands, of personal freedoms.
Paradoxically, on a political level, bitcoin is stronger than the US, both because it is global and above all because not even the most powerful government in the world can change it.
If we add to this the contradiction that an innovation like bitcoin in the US is well received by conservative Republicans and less so by liberal and progressive Democrats, the picture becomes even more skewed in favour of bitcoin, and US politics is in danger of looking really bad.