Banks are aware of Bitcoin. One CEO doesn’t think it is long for this world.
Bitcoin developers “are going to try and eat our lunch,” Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase said last week. “And that’s fine. That’s called competition, and we’ll be competing.”
Dimon sees the point in Bitcoin. But there are some problems he sees on the horizon.
“I agree with real-time digitization,” Dimon agreed. “The issue I have with Bitcoin is that it’s not about the technology, it’s about governments. When people form nations, one of the first things they do is form a currency. Are regulators and governments really going to foster Bitcoin over a long period of time? I think the answer is no.”
James Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley, echoed Dimon’s sentiment.
“You have to be respectful in the face of new technologies like Bitcoin, but you don’t capitulate,” he said. “You adjust and take advantage. Consumers feel better putting their money with a brand they recognize. We have capabilities and resources that are very powerful.”
PRECEDENT IN PIRACY?
For fourteen years Hollywood has tried to undermine torrents. Each year it seems the industry doubles down their efforts. In 2013 Google and other search engines were accused of being a gateway for pirated content online.
“Search engines bear responsibility for introducing people to infringing content, even people who aren’t actively looking for it,” according to MPAA chairman Chris Dodd.
Other efforts to combat piracy include The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the well-known legislation. Proponents said the bill would protect intellectual property, while critics said it impacted free speech laws.
This bill was combated in 2012 when Wikipedia, Google, and 7,000 other smaller websites blacked out their services in protest against the bill. Wikipedia said over 162 million people viewed its anti-SOPA banner.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) stated, “It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users and arm them with misinformation”, and “it’s very difficult to counter the misinformation when the disseminators also own the platform.”
Despite so many efforts, piracy remains a popuar internet activity. Game of Thrones, in fact, recently set online piracy records with its season premiere. Semetric, which monitors online media consumption, claims that Game of Thrones, at peak popularity, made up over half of all television-related downloads on piracy websites. When the show ended its fourth season, fans downloaded the last episode 2 million times within 24 hours.
So, as Jamie Dimon says, he doesn’t expect Bitcoin to be viewed keenly by government and regulators. Dimon says banks, at least his, will compete. But, does he mean compete via legislation and lobbying like Hollywood? That has yet to be seen. It seems already, hinting towards the way of the future, the regulatory agencies treat Bitcoin differently than it does the banks.
How will regulators, and those wanting to treat bitcoin like online piracy, achieve this? One might assume they will treat it like piracy. Users of torrent sites have been the ones targeted in that arena. Bitcoiners can possibly expect the same.
There’s the story of the 32-year-old Minnesota mom who was found “liable for willfully infringing the copyrights of 24 songs she downloaded off the Web and awarded record labels $1.92 million. That’s about 80,000 per song.
Earlier this year, Prince fined 22 individuals $22 million for copyright infringement.
The UFC sued one man $32 million for piracy.
There’s no shortage of examples.
It appears to me, despite this fight against it, pirating music is more popular than ever. The truth of the matter is, in this day-and-age, you don’t even need to download the albums. All you need is a link, like this one here.*
Justin O’Connell is the Chief Executive Officer of GoldSilverBitcoin. He is also the author of the bitcoin book, Bitcoinomics, and administrator of the Bitcoinomics website. Justin is also a co-host at Our Very Own Special Show, a lifestyle podcast about music, news, life and other topics, and head researcher at The Dollar Vigilante. He lives in San Diego, California.