Since Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA has been conducting mass surveillance of not only US citizens but of citizens all around the world, there has been a substantial increase in the adoption of end-to-end encryption. These new encryption tools have made privacy so robust that now anyone with a smartphone, has access to more financial privacy and security than a swiss bank account.
Encryption, Privacy and Bitcoin
In March of 2016, Barack Obama gave a speech at SXSW in response to the recent San Bernardino shooter’s iphone containing encrypted messages that were beyond the reach of law enforcement.
“If, technologically it is possible to make an impenetrable device or system where the encryption is so strong that there is no key or no door..at all.” …“if government can’t get in…then everyone is walking around with a swiss bank account in their pocket.”
But what exactly is he talking about when he says “a swiss bank account in their pocket”?
While I personally believe that Obama is speaking of encryption as a whole, many bitcoin advocates have made the claim that he is talking specifically about bitcoin since it provides many of the same features as a swiss bank account but without the human vulnerabilities.
In June 2016, Motherboard published an article on how cryptocurrencies might make tax havens obsolete because they create an on-ramp to financial privacy that is greater than that of swiss banks. What separates cryptocurrencies from numbered accounts is that cryptocurrencies are completely inclusive of everyone regardless of age, gender, race, religion, citizenship or social class with no minimum deposit and can be set up in seconds with nothing but an internet connection. Swiss banks simply cannot say the same.
Swiss Banking and Privacy
In 1934, Swiss authorities entrenched themselves in banking secrecy when they passed a set of laws known as “The Banking Secrecy Act” which made it a criminal offense to reveal a client’s identity. Yeah, Switzerland made it a crime to violate people’s financial privacy. This is one of the reasons why Switzerland is one of the largest tax havens in the world. According to the Boston Consulting Group, Switzerland is holding approximately $2.1 trillion of offshore wealth (approximately 27% of global holdings).
One of the most common financial tools offered by Swiss banks is known as a numbered account. A numbered account is a type of bank account where the name of the account holder is kept secret, and they identify themselves to the bank strictly by means of a password. This provides account holders with one of the highest degrees of banking privacy in the world. With a Swiss numbered account and the corresponding password you can empty the account with little resistance.
Use Bitcoin Like a Bank
I don’t think bitcoin is going to replace swiss banks and offshore accounts anytime soon but it certainly offers some amazing financial privacy for people who don’t have access to financial services that are typically only available to the ruling class. Bitcoin on the other hand is the most radically inclusive store of value on the planet and possibly the best hedge against global economic uncertainty and if you don’t have any at all, you most definitely do not have a swiss bank account in your pocket. What are you going to do to fix that?
Do you think bitcoin is like a swiss bank account? Let us know with a comment below or a tweet at @BitcoinReasons