Mar 16, 2018 · 3 min read

Hello again David!

Nope. Bitcoin is not text. Specifically, the Bitcoin communication protocol is binary in nature, mapping bits, not words.

I’m terribly sorry, but you are absolutely wrong. When you say, “Binary in nature” you are glossing over exactly what “Binary” is and also glossing over the facts of the PGP Zimmerman case, which directly relates to this. Ignoring it will not make it go away. When people start talking about “the protocol” it’s generally a sign that they are out of their depth. A protocol by the way, is text; a set of written instructions only.

When you say, “Binary” this is what you are actually talking about:

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Binary text that can be converted to ASCII that a human can read.

This is text. When it is stored or running in a computer, if it is a binary or just a flat file, it is text and is always text. In the Zimmerman PGP case, the source code for PGP was ptinted out in C form. It could have just as easily been printed out in binary, and still be protected by the First Amendment. If you were held to be correct, which you clearly are not, then binary strings of 0s and 1s would be exempt from the First Amendment. If this is the case now, you need to point to case law to prove it, and not just assert it.

I’m not claiming, btw, that this argument is valid, only that it will be used in court by people defending the government’s right to regulate cryptocurrency. It may also prevail. Judges and juries do not necessarily think the way we believe they should..

I am saying and demonstrating that your argument is wrong, and will not withstand scrutiny in a court. There is no such thing as “Cryptocurrency” either, another popular short hand that has no legal meaning, and which cannot have one in the USA, since it is speech only. Just because someone defends an indefensible idea in a court, that doesn’t mean that the idea they are trying to de-legitimise is illegitimate.

Anyway, I think you’re a little off focusing on “text” as speech. The original speech was verbal and the Supreme Court has ruled that nude dancing is a form of “artistic expression.” Might it be more fruitful to consider a Bitcoin transaction as an expression of intent?

“A little off” has no meaning, and switching the context to dancing as a form of expression is the Moving the Goalposts Fallacy. Text is a form of speech, and everyone familiar with this topic knows it.

When you say, “fruitful”, fruitful to who? The truth is fruitful enough for all rational people, and in the case of PGP it allowed that programme to spread all over the world legally. That is my definition of bearing fruit, and the same will happen with Bitcoin once a court challenge is mounted and the absurd nonsense of “Cryptocurrencies” is destroyed.

The analogy to email as private communication is good. I can send complete gibberish in an email and it’s just as protected by the First Amendment as anything else.

But you can’t say why it it is protected by the First Amendment, because you don’t understand what email is. Email is indistinguishable from “Cryptocurrencies” at the machine level, and yet you think email is distinct from Bitcoin. This shows that you don’t understand what Bitcoin is or what email is, and why the First Amendment applies equally to both, or why it applied to the PGP source code in the Zimmerman case.

I appreciate your take that regulation of Bitcoin is unconstitutional. I’m very pessimistic about the response by the people charged with upholding “law and order.”

This is a variation of the Appeal to Authority Fallacy. The argument I am presenting is absolutely air tight, and is not made wrong just because some violent thugs, computer illiterates or Ether huffers do not want it to be true.

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