December 1, 2022

Bitcoiners Should Work With FATF – Bitcoin Magazine

This is an opinion piece by Kevin Murcko, CEO and Founder of Coinmetro.

On October 12, 2022, I had the honor of speaking at Bitcoin Amsterdam’s panel discussion titled “The FATF and the Bitcoin Privacy Threat.” With my fellow speakers, we looked at the changing role of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and its relationship with Bitcoin. It is so important that we understand both sides of the argument if we are to create a world where the ideological and practical implementation of Bitcoin matches the original intentions outlined in by Satoshi Nakamoto now famous white paper.

To sum up, the FATF was created in 1989 by the G7 to collect data on money laundering, almost 20 years before Bitcoin was born. Over time, the FATF has become a police body responsible for combating all illicit money movements. During this period, Bitcoin entered creation and became mainstream with the launch of regulated exchanges and wallets. The coexistence of the FATF and Bitcoin raises one of the most recurring and controversial debates around cryptocurrencies: whether they should be regulated.

The conference brought together less-than-popular arguments for working with legislators and regulators, with those of a technologist detailing evolving solutions to solve regulatory problems, and welcomed ideas from ideologues, arguing that regulating service providers cryptocurrency services goes against its core concept. sovereign currency and privacy.

Seeing such a diversity of opinions in one room got me thinking about the evolution of Bitcoin conferences themselves. I myself have been on stage and at meetups since the beginning of Bitcoin, and I see how the dialogue within the industry has expanded. In their early days, the conferences focused only on ideology. Bitcoin had far less monetary value and had very few use cases. Thus, the discussions needed to be driven by the ideology of changemakers who seek to improve financial markets and give people back their sovereignty over their money. It’s an incredible ideology, and it’s an ideology that hasn’t been lost.

But beyond ideology, to get to where we are today, bitcoin and the bitcoin network have matured and taken on more use cases. They have grown into full-fledged platforms and businesses with loyal consumer bases. And with that comes an increased duty to the customer and the financial landscape in which they exist.

Hosting Bitcoin Amsterdam today, at a time when Bitcoin prices are not at an all-time high, is an important reminder of the conviction of the average Bitcoin user. If Bitcoin were at an all-time high, we would have unanimous support for the ideology of self-sovereignty. Many people who talk to Bitcoin Amsterdam haven’t had any losses recently – they’ve been in the game much longer and are therefore still in profit. But most users are not in that position and the average consumer is still acutely aware of the volatility that comes with the currency. “Crypto Winter” ushered in a reflection on what is holding back mass global adoption of bitcoin, and how this can be overcome to attract a new wave of bitcoin users. This decline has prompted discussions on the business, regulatory and technological aspects of digital currency, examining practical ways to improve these facets.

However, since ideology is so central to Bitcoin, conversations rarely take place without returning to its key tenets.

Sitting on the Bitcoin Amsterdam panel, I sat in the middle of these various speakers, both literally and figuratively. For me, all stakeholders want the same result. We all believe there should be a choice between using government-controlled currency and centralized payment vehicles and opting for channels run by a consensus model, in which users have self-sovereignty. and are able to operate outside of the traditional powerhouses that run the world. In this world, there still needs to be oversight, because ultimately no one wants to see funds flow into the hands of illicit and violent actors.

My own view is that change must start from within, not from without. Many players, in the broader cryptocurrency space and in traditional finance, may see the regulator as a hindrance. But, we live in a world that demands law and order. And while the regulatory system is flawed, the only way to fix it is from within, after experiencing its weak points firsthand.

In order to present a compelling case that commands respect for mainstream global finance, the Bitcoin community must prioritize unity. All market players, whether exchanges, wallet providers, or DeFi products, big or small, need to make their voices heard by engaging with regulators and legislators to educate them directly. Keeping in mind our common end goal, it is much easier to fight from the inside by sitting in a room with a dozen Regulators than trying to educate every person on the planet about the virtues of bitcoin and drive mass adoption that way.

Overall, the panel was a great opportunity to share my thoughts and opinions on the industry as it stands today. Yes, the Financial Action Task Force will continue to do all it can to combat money laundering and illicit transactions, but if it continues to dictate the rules without the Bitcoin community at the table, the end result will not be what any of us want, ideologically or otherwise.

This is a guest post by Kevin Murcko. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.