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The bitcoin bill & explosive revelations

Legit. | Legal News
Legit. | Legal News
Happy Monday! Just two stories today:
  • The big Bitcoin bill.
  • Explosive Trump-DOJ revelations.

CRYPTO
The Big Bitcoin Bill
Image: Beeple
Image: Beeple
El Salvador has become the first country to adopt Bitcoin as an official currency.
Nayib Bukele - the nation’s meme-loving, laser-eye donning millennial president - claims embracing Bitcoin will “generate jobs and help provide financial inclusion to thousands”, especially those who don’t have access to banks, and those want to send remittances to El Salvador from abroad.
According to the new law:
  • Citizens will be able to use Bitcoin to do everything from paying taxes to buying goods and services.
  • People who launch Bitcoin-related ventures will be offered permanent residency.
  • USD will stick around as the country’s accounting and “reference currency”
THE TAKEAWAY
Using Bitcoin to stitch together the national and international economy is a pretty forward-thinking move, but one that’s ultimately needled with concerns.
Concern #1: Bitcoin might not have a meaningful impact on El Salvador’s lower class, many of whom won’t have access to the tech required to use it.
Concern #2: per the University of Cambridge, El Salvador isn’t exactly a Bitcoin-mining hub. But this could change soon:
  • During a live (and impromptu) conversation on Twitter Spaces, Bukele announced an idea that occurred to him in realtime: using El Salvador’s volcanoes as a renewable source of geothermal energy to provide cheap electricity for mining.
Concern #3: Bitcoin isn’t regulated, leaving a grey area for money laundering, tax evasion and other underhand deals to flourish.
Concern #4: the price of Bitcoin is wildly volatile.
Putting these concerns temporarily aside, El Salvador’s Bitcoin bill is a pivotal experiment in proving whether crypto can be a viable alternative to fiat.
THE OTHER (MORE INTERESTING) TAKEAWAY
To paraphrase Aubrey Strobel, by jumping on Twitter Spaces unannounced to muse over the power of crypto and volcanoes in front of 20,000 people, President Bukele perfectly captured the crypto-social media zeitgeist defining the cultural shift of our age.
We’re increasingly drawn to tech and platforms that decentralize power and information.
Crypto and social media are both striking examples of this: crypto cuts out banks and monetary authorities; Twitter cuts out newsrooms and press agencies.
With the trend of opening up walled gardens burgeoning across sectors, the question of our time seems to be: Do we really need an intermediary for this?
The answer, more often than not, is no.
TRUMP
Unethical faux pas
Image: Our Cartoon President
Image: Our Cartoon President
Last week, The New York Times reported that the Justice Department subpoenaed Apple to seize metadata from accounts belonging to two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee as part of an investigation into leaks about Trump’s ties to Russia.
The probes produced few results, but Attorney General Bill Barr insisted that prosecutors keep them alive, raising the question: did the Justice Department do this as part of direct attack against two of Trump’s political foes?
If so, the Barr Justice Department’s politically motivated leak hunt would be a massive abuse of power.
Why haven’t we heard about this before? A sustained pattern of seized communications is quickly emerging:
  • The subpoena included a gag order, which meant Apple wasn’t allowed to tell anyone about it. The gag order was renewed three times.
  • The Democrats in question only learned that the government had secretly obtained their communications after the gag order had expired.
  • The Justice Department also subpoenaed Twitter in Nov 2020 to uncover the identity of an account that criticized a Trump ally.
This web of secrecy probably extends much further than the above; if Apple was subpoenaed, it’s likely other social media companies and data providers were, too.
THE TAKEAWAY
Part of the executive branch, bolstered by a US President, went rogue and hunted the metadata of members of Congress and no one knew about. Even worse, no one still really knows about it.
Out of all the revelations to come out of the Trump administration (and amidst the collective desensitization they’ve caused), this revelation is explosive in its brazen abuse of power.
  • “What the Republicans did, what the administration did, the justice department, leadership of the former president, goes even beyond Richard Nixon” - Nancy Pelosi.
What’s next? The Justice Department’s inspector general will investigate the department’s handling of the leak investigations.
LEGIT ONE LINERS
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Legit. | Legal News
Legit. | Legal News @anniamirza

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