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Is Bitcoin for Criminals?

Posted 9/18/20 by Reed Wommack

People new to Bitcoin commonly think that Bitcoin is for crimi­nals. They think it is for hackers, kidnap­pers, and drug-dealers, not for normal people like you and me. This idea arose because Bitcoin was indeed used as currency on an early online drug market­place, called the Silk Road. And it is true that many computer hackers now demand Bitcoin as a ransom payment.

Many people continue to associate Bitcoin with unlawful behavior, but in reality, less than 1% of Bitcoin trans­ac­tions are actually for illegal activ­i­ties.  In the grand scheme of Bitcoin, the lawful users vastly outnumber the unlawful users. Most people use Bitcoin to store value, send money overseas to relatives, pay rent, give gifts, or trade. Here at Swan Bitcoin, we help people use Bitcoin to save money long-term, much like you would use a piggy bank or a 401k. 

However, there is no way to elimi­nate unlawful users from Bitcoin. Bitcoin is for every­body. It is a neutral, open currency. Anyone who wishes to use it can use it. In that sense, it is sort of like physical cash. Physical cash can be used by murderers and kidnap­pers, but also by teachers, landscapers, and children selling lemonade at the end of their driveway. 

Like physical cash, there is no easy way to stop crimi­nals from using Bitcoin. After all, Bitcoin is avail­able to everyone. Just because some people have used it for evil before, doesn’t mean that the tool itself is evil. Just because physical cash has been given to kidnap­pers before, that doesn’t mean that you should swear off using physical cash. Or just because bank robbers use a getaway car, doesn’t mean that cars are for crimi­nals!

Fortu­nately, Bitcoin is legally treated as property in the United States. So it is legal to own and legal to trade. While we condemn using Bitcoin for uneth­ical activ­i­ties (like ransoms), the vast majority of Bitcoin users are using Bitcoin for whole­some activ­i­ties (like savings).

So Bitcoin is certainly not just for crimi­nals.

This blog offers thoughts and opinions on Bitcoin from the Swan Bitcoin team and friends. Swan Bitcoin is the easiest way to buy Bitcoin using your bank account automatically every week or month, starting with as little as $10. Sign up or learn more here.

Reed Wommack

Reed was a high-school teacher and outdoor guide for five years before he fell down Bitcoin rabbit-hole. Now he loves to read Austrian economics, write, and meditate. He currently works as Customer Support for Swan Bitcoin, joyfully on-boarding new Bitcoiners.

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Swan Bitcoin does not provide any investment, financial, tax, legal or other professional advice. We recommend that you consult with financial and tax advisors to understand the risks and consequences of buying, selling and holding Bitcoin.