Archive | September, 2015

Euro crisis and the case for Bitcoin

The European common currency, the Euro, is in trouble. As usual.

The past week the European Central Bank (ECB) gave a bleak forecast. The BBC reports…

The European Central Bank (ECB) has cut its inflation and growth forecasts for 2015 and the next two years.
It expects inflation in the eurozone to remain “very low” for some years as threats to economic growth increase.
ECB president Mario Draghi said Europe’s economic recovery would continue, “albeit at a somewhat weaker pace than expected”.
The euro fell sharply as Mr Draghi also hinted that the bank could expand its stimulus programme if necessary.
He was speaking after the ECB kept its main interest rate on hold at 0.05%.
The ECB is now forecasting economic growth in the eurozone of 1.4% in 2015, down from 1.5%, and 1.7% in 2016, compared with its previous projection of 1.9%.
However, Mr Draghi said that risks to the outlook for economic growth and inflation had worsened since mid-August, when the latest projections were calculated.

The Euro was doomed from the beginning–and is only kept alive by political prestige and with taxpayers money. But that can only go on for so long.

This ought to be a golden opportunity for Bitcoin.

From Greece and Cyprus we have learned that banks might close or limit withdrawals–or simply take peoples money. When the next crisis hits the Euro (we don’t know when or where, but it will happen over and over again) people simply cannot trust the banking system.

  • Bitcoin provides a firewall between banks, the government and peoples money.
  • Bitcoin provides a free, swift and simple method for payments even when banks are closed.
  • Bitcoin stands free from political manipulation, bureaucratic intervention and national economic meltdowns.

Everyone ought to have at least a few bitcoins. Before you know it, this might be the only workable way to send and receive funds. Seriously.


On the Euro: BBC | The Guardian | The Telegraph | NYT | Bloomberg

A good introduction to Blockchain and Bitcoin, from the BBC (radio) »


Meanwhile, in France

La Quadrature du Net reports:

“Paris, 3rd September 2015 — Today, the non-profit ISPs FDN and the FDN Federation as well as La Quadrature du Net announced the introduction of two legal challenges before the French Council of State against the Internet surveillance activities of French foreign intelligence services (DGSE). As the French government plans the introduction of a new bill on international surveillance, these challenges underline the need for a thorough oversight of surveillance measures.”

Three French NGOs Challenge French International Surveillance »


Swedish Assange hearing before end of year?

For years, prosecutor Ms. Marianne Ny has refused to interview Julian Assange about the Swedish sex crime allegations against him. First, she refused to do it at the Swedish Embassy in London. And when Assange was granted asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in the UK, she refused to interview him there. Meanwhile both the British Government and a Swedish High Court have urged Ms. Ny to get her act together.

This spring there was a half-hearted Swedish attempt to move the case forward. But the request from Sweden to Ecuador about an interview was sent with very short notice – resulting in Ecuador asking for a guarantee that Mr. Assange will not be extradited from Sweden to the US (where a Grand Jury is preparing a case against him). Sweden was not prepared to grant such a guarantee (extradition cases can — at least formally — only be handled by courts, not by the government in Sweden).

But yesterday, Monday, there was a statement from the Swedish Ministry of Justice, that seems to have taken some form of control over the situation. There has been a meeting between Swedish and Ecuadorian officials in Stockholm. Ms. Cecilia Riddselius at the ministry is optimistic about an agreement. It seems that there is some sort of general agreement (not just concerning Assange) being negotiated between the two countries. Both Swedish and Ecuadorian representatives are hopeful about establishing such an agreement shortly.

Ms. Riddselius tells the Swedish national broadcaster, Sveriges Radio, that she is hopeful that Swedish prosecutors will be able to interview Julian Assange in London before the end of the year.

That’s about time. After that, hopefully the very thin case against Julian Assange will be dismissed all together — so that he can focus on the important work with Wikileaks.

The question is what will happen when this affair is dealt with. Will Assange be able to safely leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London? He is, after all, wanted in the UK for jumping bail. And what about the risk of the Brits extraditing him to the US?

Link to todays’ statement (in Swedish). »


Update: AFP “Sweden eyes Ecuador deal by year-end, paving way for Assange probe” »