Let's Talk Bitcoin! #407 India's Catch-22 & How to Work With Money when Money Doesn't Work


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On Today's Episode of Let's Talk Bitcoin...

Join Adam B. Levine, Andreas Antonopoulos, Stephanie Murphy, and Jonathan Mohan for a first-look at a particularly draconian law that's been proposed in India.

Later, HRF.org director Alex Gladstein joins Adam B. Levine for the latest in the Global Voices series. This week we're talking practical applications in Venezuela with returning guest Alejandro Machado.

Thanks to Purse.io for sponsoring this episode of Let's Talk Bitcoin!

Join the Let's Talk Bitcoin! team for a live recording at the Blockchain Training conference

Selected Highlights by listener ProfessorMeow

LTB #407 India's Catch-22 & How to Work With Money when Money Doesn't Work

On today's show, we're digging into recent disturbing developments out of India with what canonly be described as the most draconian cryptocurrency law we've ever seen proposed.India

'œI have the quote here: whoever directly or indirectly mines, generates, holds, sells, deals andtransfers, disposes of or issues cryptocurrency shall be punished with a fine or imprisonment,which shall not be less than one year, but which may extend up to 10 years or both.' - Adam B.Levine

'œThe maximum penalty for rape in India is 7 years. The maximum penalty for drug crimes is 7years. The maximum penalty for holding a private digital currency is now 10 years. Themonetary fine is approximately $4,000,000 USD.' - Andreas Antonopoulos

'œThis is worse than Venezuela. Worse than North Korea. I mean, it is astonishing. This is not alaw yet. This is a proposal, but there's a very good chance it will become law.' - AndreasAntonopoulos

'œIt's really, really disappointing. [...], It's worse for the billion and a half people who desperatelyneed this type of technology in their country, and the hundreds of thousands of people whoworked in a thriving industry that was doing incredibly good work.' - Andreas Antonopoulos'œ...how it's enforced is intimidation. Selective prosecution. It gives them a mechanism to imposeextremely harsh punishments on people who are political dissidents' - Andreas Antonopoulos'œ..the moment this law passes, every Indian desperately needs Bitcoin. [...] your government issignaling exactly what it's going to do next with money. If you're on a cruise ship and thecaptain says lock down all the bulkhead doors and burn all the lifeboats, you're like, what areyou planning exactly!?' - Andreas Antonopoulos

'œDo you think that this is going to cause Indians to do a monetary rebellion where they all turninto anarcho-capitalists or whatever? Not going to happen. Quite the opposite, in fact. So it'sreally a huge disappointment for an industry that was thriving and is now basically dead in avery important country in the world.' - Andreas Antonopoulos


'œBasically, the Venezuelan crisis is a self-inflicted crisis. It's something that for years the policymakers of Chavismo (the ruling party of Venezuela) heard from advisors. If you print moremoney if you spend unlimited amounts of money in social services and social policies that youcan't measure the effectiveness of, [...] you're not going to be able to survive. You're not goingto be able to maintain the economy.' - Alejandro Machado

'œVenezuela has always been a country rife with corruption. So what happened was that most ofthat money was just stolen by individuals, by companies, by people with access to government.'

  • Alejandro Machado

'œVenezuela had an oil boom that lasted quite a bit, and especially from 2011 to 2014 or so, thestate had so much surplus of money. They believed they were invincible. So they were recklessabout printing money, but they were also reckless about spending the money that they had,stashing it away in tax havens and so on.' - Alejandro Machado

'œWhen we talk about hyperinflation, we talk about an inflation rate of over 50 percent month overmonth. So if you can imagine something costing you $10 today, next month it costs $15. Now in

Venezuela, it's much more accelerated. Things are doubling in price every couple of weeks orso.' - Alejandro Machado'œIt seems like we're seeing the start of people being able to trade dollars for bolivars more freely.But, there is a big effect of people being afraid of what the government might do.' - AlejandroMachado

'œPeople still use bolivars in Venezuela, because it is the currency that is the most widespread.Ordinary people don't have access to dollar accounts. So it is very hard for them [to] just acceptdollars. There's a perception that the government will crackdown on this. There is fear.' -Alejandro Machado

'œTo give some scope, depending on the day, there's four, five, six, seven, eight times morevolume traded on Localbitcoins in Bolƒvar than on the stock market in Caracas, which is a lowbar because there's not a lot of activity on the Caracas stock market.' - Alex Gladstein'œWhat we would like to do with the Open Money Initiative is to broaden access to the systemsthat exist today that are permissionless, that are available to anyone, and lower the difficulty ofuse.' - Alejandro Machado

'œ[...] because the people that most need this, they have older phones and they don't havecomputers. They're not very tech savvy. So how can you make something like what WhatsAppdid in the product space for money management and sending and receiving money?' -Alejandro Machado

'œInfrastructure is collapsing and we're losing a lot of connectivity and now there's blackouts. Soevery day it gets a little harder. But there is still enough penetration of smartphones and Internetin the country that it would really make a difference.' - Alejandro Machado'œI think people will always remember that relentless money printing and hyperinflation and all ofthese crises was something that could have been avoided by taking responsibility for yourself.' -Alejandro Machado

'œWhat we need is for Bitcoin to be liquid in global markets so that if in one specific country thereis a loss of freedom, there is a loss of ability to trade your money for another arbitrary currency,then there is always at least the option to trade your money for Bitcoin.' - Alejandro Machado'œWhat we need to do is to make sure that this grows from very new and very specialized knowledge to something that everyone can benefit from.' - Alejandro Machado

This episode was sponsored by Purse.io and BlockchainTraining.orgMusic for this episode was provided by Jared Rubens and general Fuzz, with editing by Steven Aram.

Any questions or comments? Email adam@ltbshow.com.

Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alyssablack/12185839253/

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