Saturday, January 7, 2012

In Italy, it's 1984

One of yesterday's posts on ZeroHedge is gaining a lot of traction and definitely hits right at the heart of why Bitcoin has so much potential. Bitcoin users might find the following information disturbing (but not surprising). Reader discretion is advised:

Romano Prodi was the EU Commission President in 2001 and creator of the Euro, and is now pulling the financial policy strings in the new Italian government.  In 2001, he made the following statement:
"I am sure the Euro will oblige us to introduce a new set of economic policy instruments. It is politically impossible to propose that now, but some day there will be a crisis and new instruments will be created."
If you've ever read Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine," you already know that this will end in tears.

Now that the economic crisis in Europe has reached DEFCON 1, these new instruments have been implemented, and the orchestra is playing a sickening sound.

ZeroHedge lists these new "instruments":
  • An extraordinary edict making cash transactions of more than Euro 1,000 illegal (not subject to reporting – just plain illegal). Following Prodi’s own desire, the existing regime has indicated that this level will be progressively reduced to a limit as low as Euro 300. Hence cash is maybe for the first time in history no longer legal tender (over Euro 1,000, for now);
  • A requirement that credit card companies report all transactions carried out by Italians, in Italy and abroad to the fiscal authorities;
  • Delays and refusals by banks in allowing customers to withdraw cash balances of as little as Euro 10,000;
  • Finance Police has placed cameras at the physical borders with Switzerland (see below) to register all license plates. In addition, currency-sniffing dogs have been deployed at the border.
There has been a lot of speculation this week as to why the price of Bitcoins is on the rise. I suspect what you might be seeing is the first wave of interest in a decentralized, pseudo-anonymous currency, brought about by the implementation of financial policy that takes away the ability to freely conduct business.

Unfortunately, the corruption in Italy that led to the erosion of government revenue is being addressed through the strategy of assuming that every person is a criminal. It's also a great way to induce a revolt in your population.


  1. This is what I've been saying all along: Bitcoin is an unstoppable value transfer mechanism.

    Oh man... we're going to the effin' moon.

    And then, in the last country that doesn't try to stop Bitcoin (before it becomes a world-wide standard), the trick will be to get physical gold and silver out. I anticipate, in the time span between internationally coordinated government crackdowns on Bitcoin (the exchanges, P2P networks, encrytion, and etc.), and its eventual [inevitable] victory, that there will be a 2-5 year period of absolute financial chaos.

    Interesting times, dammit...


  2. For those new to Bitcon:

    Bitcoin: The Ultimate Offshore Bank Account?

  3. This 1000 euro limit may sound ridiculous - and it is - but something similar, though more focused, has already happened in Louisiana. (maybe this was even a posting here. I don't recall) The State of Louisiana made it illegal for "Dealers" to use cash AT ALL for transactions in second-hand goods. Think Craigslist. Think "legal tender for all debts, public and private".

  4. Yes indeed. According to @mytix, Slovenia just lowered the cash transactions limit from 420€ to 50€. How much lower can you go?

  5. well the original post explain that this is not happening right now, but that this can happen.
    There is a difference, and a big one. This is just the explanation of a possible program, not was is really happening in Italy...

    1. Sadly for some this is happening now in Italy

  6. 1,000 Euro limit is still high imo....


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