The other week I quipped on Twitter that China enjoys banning things I’m into (bitcoin obviously, and I work at Facebook). What these things have in common is not that I am involved with them (although my ego would love to believe otherwise) but that they are powerful. They have the power to shift behaviors and paradigms of human interaction.
The Chinese government is clearly afraid of bitcoin, which is a testament to its potential. If it weren’t disruptive, they wouldn’t bother banning it. Even the bans to date, however, come across as half-hearted. Perhaps Xi Jinping and the rest of the Chinese government are just trying to keep a close eye on the situation while they await developments and formulate a long-term strategy. What I find most fascinating is that other governments, particularly the Chinese, would be well poised to capitalize on that potential rather than suffer from it if they chose to strategically guide its adoption instead of banning it altogether. Eventually these things come to a head, and it’s not often pretty when they do.