There aren’t many areas of modern society unaffected by the draconian war on drugs, and non-violent crypto exchange is no exception. Two San Diego men in their twenties reportedly pleaded guilty on Monday to charges of money laundering conspiracy, for selling cannabis on the darknet for bitcoin and operating an unlicensed crypto exchange service. The two young men could face a maximum of 20 years in prison for the victimless crimes, further highlighting the escalating and ongoing war against peaceful trade via crypto worldwide.
Two More Victims of Senseless Violence
In the case of Aidan Curry and Connor Brooke, the two San Diego men involved in this most recent episode of Homeland Security muscle flexing, the Times of San Diego reports the apparent “crime” the men committed was trading without government permission. Cannabis is only a plant, now legal in many parts of the world, and Bitcoin simply a network open for anyone to use. The interesting aspect of the guilty plea is the fact that the whole thing revolves around an assumption: that one needs a license to start a private business. There’s a reason, however, that roadside farmer’s markets and even non-crypto cannabis dealers aren’t made such a sensationalized example of: they’re not a big threat to the prevailing monetary system. Marketplaces and businesses the Silk Road, and Curry and Brooke’s “Craigslist of Crypto” definitely are.
The 25 and 23-year-old business partners are just another example in a long line of victimless crime pariahs of the drug war and USD fiat money racket. Their January sentencing could end up taking nearly a quarter decade of each of their lives, much as Ross Ulbricht of the now defunct Silk Road has already been robbed of seven years of his.
— Ross Ulbricht (@RealRossU) October 1, 2019
Should things continue as they are for Ulbricht, without a pardon, he’ll die in prison. When one imagines the innovation and new ideas minds like Ulbricht’s — and entrepreneurs like the creators of Baycoins — could potentially bring to the table of human progress, the legitimacy of the justice system as a whole is called into serious question. This not even to mention the more obvious violence and inhumanity of systematically caging non-violent individuals in the first place. Regardless of what one thinks of Ulbricht or the young men from San Diego, it is logically irrefutable that monetary and drug laws as they stand now punish non-violent, completely consensual market action.
Defining Victimless Crime
In describing the nature of his business over text messages, Curry reportedly told an acquaintance “I’m basically like a currency-exchange place for Bitcoin.” Baycoins is said to have had at least two online advertisements, and accepted only cash. It stands to ask in such a scenario: “Who’s the victim?” Curry and Brooke received money for their services of selling bitcoin, and customers received the bitcoins they voluntarily wished to purchase for a premium. Similarly, those who purchased cannabis from the pair on the darknet felt the plant was worth their crypto. As far as one can tell from current reports, no one was violated, and there were no threats of violence, either.
While deciding what specifically might constitute an actual victim, it is true there are many gray areas. For legal purposes, however, this is not so difficult from a logical perspective. If the body or property of another individual is not violated, no violence has occurred, and thus no crime. To determine what does and does not constitute property is then the issue, but this is also relatively cut and dry. The voluntaryist perspective on such matters says simply: my body and the property legitimately derived thereby are mine, and the same is true for you. In cases like Ulbricht’s and the guys from San Diego, this is not the case. The drug war says “Do what we say, or else we will violate you, just because we say so.” The god-complex inherent to this religious line of thinking is truly mind boggling.
Order Without Centralized Government
Some may fairly object that things like driving recklessly on a highway may endanger all other drivers, without actually victimizing anyone in the final reckoning. This sort of behavior would not be desirable in most sane societies. How then could a “no victim, no crime” paradigm work? The fact is, it already does, and private property owners and markets already create rules in given societies without the illogical, religious violence currently leveraged by governments and failed campaigns like the war on drugs, which assume that one specific class of humans has authority over another class by fiat alone, or mere decree.
Getting back to the roadside farmer’s markets mentioned above, no government agency is guaranteeing the produce they are selling isn’t poisoned in most cases. Still, should they lace their apples with arsenic, community members would soon find out and the vendors would find themselves without customers (economic means to survive). They’d also likely be on the run from angry individuals, or in an anarchist society, defense agencies seeking justice. As it stands, even the largest federal regulatory bodies today are guilty of the very crimes they prosecute, on a scale no private ne’er-do-well could ever hope to match. Whether it be falsely advertising and selling highly addictive and dangerous drugs, shipping cocaine, or child porn and human trafficking. The bullshit story that two kids in their twenties selling bitcoins is cause for alarm begins to ring phonier than ever.
The sentencing of Aidan Curry and Connor Brooke will come and go, and many will view it as just another criminal case passing through the courts. For some in the crypto space, however, it symbolizes yet another failure in a long list of a broken, centralized fiat system of governance. As fiat money has been divorced from original value and the backing of sound assets like gold, so has governance been divorced from individual self-ownership and sound conceptions of property. Now, it is merely a fiat proclamation of rules. “Because I say so.” Until sound, decentralized and permissionless conceptions of governance are restored, the war on people – falsely known as the war on drugs – will continue unabated.
What are your thoughts on the San Diego case and unlicensed bitcoin exchanges? Let us know in the comments section below.
Op-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.
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