HH Regulating The Unregulated

I was thinking about this question of how to regulate global technology platforms that don’t recognise national boundaries, mainly in the context of crypto and digital currencies. How can you regulate a global currency that has no view of state or national laws? Obviously, you can only regulate it when someone puts national currency in or out of the digital currency, but what if they never have to do that? Today, there are a number of bitcoin millionaires who could probably stay within the bitcoin system, never cashing in or out and therefore never paying taxes. Equally, there are hundreds of Silk Road 2.0’s out there, so they could easily buy any illicit items, materials or actions they want, without ever being tracked, traced or caught.

It is a real issue and I cannot see how any government can deal with it, as the genie is now out of the bottle. But then I see the actions of the European Parliament in response to undesirable activities amongst the American internet giants and, for me, the issue is the same as what I described above. How can you stop Google and Facebook doing undesirable things?

Well the EU is having a go. First, they forced Google to introduce the right-to-be-forgotten. Then they’ve started to take action against Facebook, and content that incites hatred or radicalization. Finally, they’re having another go at Google over its subjective searches on shopping that play to Google’s own shops.

So you can regulate global technology platforms like Google and Facebook, but there is one fundamental difference between them and the digital currencies like bitcoin I am focused upon. In the case of company that is running a global platform, you can go to the company’s head office and grab the CEO by the fundamentals and slap a fine on them. You cannot od that with bitcoin or any other digital currency, as they are decentralized structures. Same with ICOs and distributed ledgers. Once built and in the wild, these systems offer global technology platforms with no central operator. That is totally different to any of the internet giants, and if a government cannot find an operator, how can they regulate such structures?

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