Don’t hold your breath.

The blockchain is a global permissionless protocol that by default anyone can innovate on without having to ask permission. You’re saying that the existing financial establishment has the ability to stop people from using those innovations? Well, yes, you’re right, but only in a very narrow frame of reference. I’m going to explain why you’re taking into account less than 14% of the world.

Because, in general, only about 1 billion people have permission to use the various legacy financial platforms, and of those, very few have permission to actually innovate on top of those platforms. That represents less than 1/7th the population of the world.

But remember, there are 6 billion other people, most of which are about to come online in the next 4 years (by 2020, as the internet nears the top of its exponential adoption S curve). And most of these people do not live in developed countries with powerful financial establishments like we do here in the US.

So while the financial establishment in the US and other developed countries may very well be working to wield government powers to punish people from using blockchain apps, they can’t stop the other 6 billion from using them out of necessity, in the regions where their practically non-existent institutions have failed them.

To do what you’re suggesting would require stationing a policeman in every bedroom of every person in the world, to make sure nobody benefits from using any sort of blockchain app. Many of the 6 billion people coming online soon don’t even have a government issued identity let alone a bank account. There’s no way in hell you can even think about stopping them from pressing a few buttons on their encrypted smart devices.

The result is the nation state dying a slow — at first, then suddenly accelerating — death by a thousand pinpricks. Stopping billions of people from innovating freely on top of a global, borderless, permissionless platform (analogous to the internet), is like 1 man running back and forth trying to plug thousands of holes in a damn.

Centralized entities like governments which derive their power from taxation, can not afford to station a policeman in every bedroom. Think about it. Inherently, there are more bedrooms than there are policemen.

If the population of a country using cryptographically secure devices is 300M, then you must pay 300M policeman to enter 300M bedrooms to constantly look over the shoulders everyone to make sure they don’t use a blockchain app.

Okay, sure, it’s not 1 for 1. You could try to ban cryptography. And to make sure nobody secretly uses cryptography, pass a law which forces everyone to install government surveillance cameras in their bedrooms and kitchens and workplaces to watch them at all times, but you’d still have to hire many millions of policeman to enforce that unpopular law.

No matter which way you slice it, the cost of banning everyone from pressing a few buttons on their phone, will always outweigh the benefit of the ban. Just as no government has the resources to stop everyone from blinking, nor does any government have the resources to stop everyone from using cryptography.

Implementing cryptography is simply a matter of taking your finger and pressing a few buttons. Whatsapp recently rolled it out for 1 billion people in a few blinks of the eye, and there was nothing brazil or any other government on the planet earth could do to stop that update from happening.

Reasoning from first principles, it is as physically impossible for a government to stop people from using cryptography as it is for a human to jump, leave the surface of the earth, reach escape velocity, and land on mars. If you actually do the math you’ll see just how accurate that analogy is, but until then you’re stuck relying on human intuition, which is practically worthless as a tool for thinking about exponential technologies.