Bitcoin has had a scandalous past already, with many high profile court cases. When you go to conferences, the focus is on how Bitcoin is world changing and the opportunity of a lifetime. In most discussion circles, and at most lectures, nobody will dare mention those people who have been arrested and charged with whatever crimes.
Some come to mind, such as LocalBitcoins trader Pascal Reid, Coin.mx trader Anthony Murgio and Trendon Shavers – the much-hated Pirateat40 – who was considered a villain in the Bitcoin community, but one of his lawyers have recently come out and told of a different Trendon.
So, here the Bitcoiners are, ignoring their own fates. Netki COO Dawn Carey Newton spoke at the Inside Bitcoins conference in San Diego in December where she mentioned federal agents told a digital currency conference that there were currently many pending investigations. Dawn guessed dozens were pending.
That means many more Bitcoiners are going to have charges brought up against them. That could be you. Might already be you. And just like what happened with other Bitcoiners before you, nobody will stand up to defend that you were merely helping the Bitcoin ecosystem to grow and never thought you were doing anything wrong. And the prosecutor won’t care either.
As lawyer Jason Seibert said at Inside Bitcoins, Bitcoin is “legal sexy.” What he means by that phrase is that hard-working law enforcement agents and prosecutors might wish to make a name for themselves in the field of crypto-currency legislation and policy.
Because of regulatory vagueness, a number of Bitcoin business models are at stake. Even if you’re once removed from any transacting of money, you could get caught up in a court case of a client as a witness. Even this will put you under great scrutiny.
If you’re one of those Bitcoin entrepreneurs who loves the Bitcoin community, and is doing whatever you can do to add new applications to the cryptocurrency space, then you might be at risk for a state or federal investigation. And when your time comes, you’ll just be another trending name on the top of r/Bitcoin. And, at the Bitcoin conferences, venture capitalists will just talk how innovative they’re being with their lawyers and booty of dollars.