Crypto Saves the Day
Trust cryptocurrency to shield anyone against the formidable power of financial discrimination.
That is what Sonya Mann, who works in communications and marketing at the Zcash Foundation, a non-profit institution dedicated to developing internet payment and privacy infrastructure for the public, emphasized in her latest piece on CoinDesk.
“Cryptocurrency is the solution to financial exclusion — if an imperfect one at present. Anyone in the space knows that the promise of a robust parallel system has yet to be fulfilled. Usability and adoption remain low. Bitcoin privacy is far from perfect (although it is steadily evolving, and alternate options like zcash and monero are available). The tax and regulatory environments remain intimidating, which is a huge problem for merchants,” Mann said.
She added several Americans have little or no access to the financial system for political reasons. Common targets of financial exclusion include sex workers and gun rights organizations.
The writer noted the spat between the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the New York state. The NRA is an organization which fulfills its duties despite the susceptibility to “selective advocacy” and “partisan rhetoric.” Its primary mission is to promote and uphold Americans’ right to keep and bear firearms. But the association, which asserts itself as the oldest civil rights advocacy group in the United States, have been struggling to gain access to financial services.
In May this year, the NRA sued governor Andrew Cuomo and the state’s Department of Financial Services in May this year.
“The NRA presented as evidence an April letter from Maria Vullo, the DFS’s superintendent, warning banks under her purview about the ‘reputational risk’ of doing business with gun-rights groups. The state also pressured the companies behind the scenes,” the National Review said.
Mann pointed out that NRA is a system itself which has close ties to politicians and firearm manufacturers alike.
“Whether or not you like guns or the Second Amendment, it should be alarming when a legacy institution as entrenched as the NRA is turned away by financial service providers, especially as a result of state pressure,” Mann said.
She added: “That financial discrimination shows just how precarious Americans’ rights are in actual practice. What if a financial regulator decided that the ACLU’s First Amendment advocacy was distasteful, and jeopardized the group’s ability to accept donations?”
Case in point: many banks would be cautious of servicing the likes of dissident gunsmith Cody Wilson, whose projects include publishing free weapons schematics and selling machines for the home manufacture of firearms. Although his activities are legal, not to mention that litigation comprises much of his activism, Mann noted he is a radical person.
Still, the point is to not force every bank to work with the NRA since it makes commercial sense for some banks to refrain from doing business with the association.
“If the reputational risk, or cost of monitoring compliance, outweighs the revenue that a financial services company can garner from a controversial client, it’s a rational business decision to drop that client,” Mann said.
Setting aside that point, Mann said the NRA situation demonstrates the vital need to provide “permissionless financial infrastructure” which would alleviate the state pressure caused to private entities which promote the constitutional rights of the American people.
“In this bear market, it’s important to remember the revelatory nature of Satoshi Nakamoto’s innovation. Freedom entails being able to say and do controversial things — and when it’s true freedom, you don’t have to beg for permission first,” Mann concluded.