Editor’s note: Bitcoin has been garnering attention in libertarian circles or among people looking for an opt-out to government fiat currency, but there are still some kinks that need to be worked out before it’s a viable alternative.
Sometimes, things don’t go as planned.
As background, I was approached a few months ago by two young entrepreneurs. They had purchased a semi-workable BitcoinATM from another entrepreneur and were excited about the prospects. They approached me to help with marketing to the public and prospective franchisees, as well as garnering investment interest.
It was a verbal handshake I had done via Skype from the jungles of Guyana while looking at a gold-mining enterprise. I then set off on a month-long media sojourn which had me in all the mainstream media promoting BitcoinATM. I had been approached by numerous investors interested in the project.
Last week, I went to San Diego to nail down the final specifics with the two young entrepreneurs. I flew in my top financial adviser, a former chief financial officer of numerous billion-dollar companies who has done business worldwide for decades. What we uncovered was that this was not going to be as simple as we had hoped.
Specifically, in the United States and Europe, there are an incredible amount of banking, money and even telecommunications rules and regulations that would have to be adhered to if the company had any hope of survival — not the least of which was a $25 million "insurance bond" necessary, since the BitcoinATM would be deemed a "money transmitter" in the United States.
Those who know me know that I despise all government regulation and taxation and see it as being economy-destroying. Bring in investors would require adhering to even more agencies (securities law in the United States). It was beginning to look like an insurmountable problem. The fascist system in the United States has done its job. Threatening force (imprisonment), it had already laid out four agencies that were massive hurdles for putting a BitcoinATM in the United States, making it almost impossible for a small organization to do so.
I still hadn’t given up hope. As I always profess, I will fight oppression and control over the money, banking and financial system with everything I can.
Blessing In Disguise
Then, 23-year-old entrepreneur Evan Rose, who was half-owner of the BitcoinATM, notified me a few days ago that my participation was no longer necessary.
That was interesting, I thought, as we had an agreement for my involvement and I had done everything I said I would do. It turned out that once I had put BitcoinATM on the world stage, he decided to take all that I had done and dismiss me.
I do not wish to publish dirty laundry. While the actions of the co-founders of BitcoinATM were incredibly dishonorable, I put it down it to them being much like me I was when I was 23: young, unwise and unaware of what they are even involved with.
But it is my belief that Rose has no idea what kind of business he is trying to get into and how hard it will be to do without a number of the right pieces in place.
Official End Of My Involvement
As always, and very unlike Barack Obama, I am very transparent in everything I do; so I do wish to announce publicly that I will no longer have any involvement with BitcoinATM.
After a day or two of pondering, however, I have realized that this may truly be a blessing in disguise. The biggest issue with BitcoinATM, and one that I have stated in the past many times, is that it is hardware. Any government, anywhere, can just come and take it away.
It was always the Achilles’ heel of this product.
Can it succeed? Sure, under the right guidance and a massive amount of capital of lawyers to fight off every single country in which the machine is placed. And, even then, there is no guarantee. Just look at Canada, which has already begun to shutter bank accounts of anyone even involved in a Bitcoin exchange. As I’ve also stated numerous times in the past few years, there is no real law. Those with the guns do what they want. And those with the guns are backed by the major money-controlling cartels (central banks and those who control them). They don’t like a major distruption in their business.
My Future In Bitcoin
I still am incredibly excited about Bitcoin. It will change the world. And the reason it will is that it is decentralized, and there is no physical place where the powers that be can shut it down. This is the one very difficult challenge for BitcoinATM. And one that I have always stated but still got behind it because it does have the ability to change the game.
I am now focusing more of my efforts on less physical ventures that will be much harder to be controlled by governments and central banks. Things such as a P2P Bitcoin exchange — similar to Mt.Gox, but without any central servers — and many more.
In this vein, if you or anyone you know is one of the top percentile programmers and theorists in P2P protocols, please contact The Dollar Vigilante.
If there is one thing that my involvement with BitcoinATM has shown me very plainly in the past month, it is that Bitcoin has the direct attention of the governments, central banks and banks. It took them nearly two decades to figure out the Internet would be their downfall. In this case, it has taken them only months to realize that Bitcoin could end their monopoly on money and banking. The only way for us freedom fighters to defeat them will be to do so much in the same way as Bitcoin is and has been doing — by being decentralized and unable to be stopped by guns and regulations.
That is where my focus will now go. This is an incredibly revolutionary environment and mistakes will be made along the way… constantly. I’ve never been shy about admitting my mistakes, and neither have I been shy in promoting the value of things like the Internet and Bitcoin to unchain humans from slavery.
My involvement with BitcoinATM has turned out to be a mistake, but not one without some positives. I sat front and center before the U.S. and world media alerting people to the scam of central banking and government-controlled money systems. That alone has some value. I will be back; and the next time, I will be smarter and bolder. This is not the last you’ve heard from me on Bitcoin.
— Jeff Berwick
This article was originally run on The DollarVigilante.com.