Alternative Media Attacks Bitcoin: A Response to “Bitcoin Cannot Liberate Palestine”

Palestine, flags waving

It is obvious that bitcoin cannot liberate Palestine, let’s start there. The bitcoin network only offers better money, not a miracle cure. It offers a decentralized currency that cannot be devalued by any government, no more, no less. The author of “Bitcoin cannot liberate Palestine“, he says,” at the heart of Bitcoin’s appeal is the urgent and necessary pursuit of Palestinian financial independence. “Okay, bitcoin can help with that particular problem.” Ultimately, there is no substitute for a political resolution to end Palestinian colonization, “he says, stating the obvious.

Another day, another reporter who hasn’t done her homework and comes to attack bitcoin with the weakest arguments possible. “An independent Palestinian economy will not magically arise from a sovereign currency.” Of course she won’t. Who claimed otherwise? Hadas Thier’s article appears to be a response to the “Could Bitcoin be Palestine’s currency of freedom?As you can see, there is a huge difference between Gladstein’s premise and Thier’s wild claims.

As if that weren’t enough, the author has no problem lying to make her point of view understood. There may be no malice in her using “bitcoin” and “cryptocurrency” interchangeably, even if that fact invalidates her entire argument. Perhaps this is not her field of hers and she is as confused as the average citizen. However, there is a distinct intellectual dishonesty in claiming that private keys can be seized and that El Salvador has lost money on its bitcoin bet, for example.

Let’s read what the author actually said and answer each of the wild claims.

Since the focus of this publication is bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, we will stick to the statements related to these two topics. Everything else is out of our jurisdiction.

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Can Bitcoin Help Palestine? Of course, it can

The article starts a bit shaky, it is obvious that technology is not the author’s forte.

“They argue that Bitcoin, the oldest and most widespread among thousands of cryptocurrencies, could be used to subvert Israeli sanctions and financial control of the money supply, give a busy and isolated people a means to carry out financial transactions with the outside world. and allow people Palestinians are a means of saving in cyberspace ”.

Man, cyberspace? For real? Is this article from the year 2000? Either way, bitcoin can definitely do all of this. And it does it every day for people who are willing to get down to business and figure out how to use it. The author is far from that group. He hasn’t even begun to learn about the miracle that is bitcoin and is already trying to ridicule it.

“Since local crypto transactions in Gaza and the West Bank do not connect directly to banks or major cryptocurrency exchanges, it is unclear how many Palestinians have engaged with cryptocurrencies. In fact, most cryptocurrency advocates admit that the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is limited to a small number of tech freelancers. “

The first point, this is a good thing. The “banks or major cryptocurrency exchanges” are centralized entities. If you take care of those, decentralizing the bitcoin network won’t help you. The second part of the claim is true around the world, bitcoin is still a relatively small phenomenon. Does that mean it doesn’t have the potential to help Palestine? No it does not.

Enter Alex Gladstein and Sara Roy

Does Hadas Thier have a problem with Alex Gladstein? It seems so. He tries to ridicule him by saying that he offers “cryptocurrency as a solution to every variety of global injustice”, not knowing the potential of this shocking technology. Return to Palestine:

“Furthermore, the economic analysis used to justify cryptocurrency-based solutions misunderstands the roots of the problem. Gladstein states that” money lies at the very root of [Palestinians’] struggles. “But in fact, the monetary relationship between Israel and the Palestinians reflects a more fundamental political asymmetry of power. Israeli politics has long sought to prevent the emergence of a viable Palestinian state or movement. Sabotage of the Palestinian economy is a consequence of this political reality, which cannot be circumvented through cyberspace “.

Money is the foundation of every struggle because money is the cornerstone of every society. Everything he says about Palestine may be true, but money is still at the root of that problem. Furthermore, he argues that political reality “cannot be circumvented through cyberspace” as if it were a fact. This is just the opinion of someone who does not even imagine the eternal problem that bitcoin solves. That is: the separation between money and the state.

Later, the author states that “Gladstein relies heavily on the work of political economist and scholar Sara Roy”. And she reveals: “Roy’s economic analysis is not limited to matters of currency”, as if it were some kind of limitation.

“I talked to Roy about the Gladstein article. He strongly disagreed with the idea that “cryptocurrency is somehow impervious to the political reality in which Palestinians and Israelis reside” or that it could “give dispossessed Palestinians parity with authorized Israelis, eliminating gross asymmetries of power between them. them and granting the Palestinians economic sovereignty. “

First of all, bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are two different things. Second, perhaps Gladstein exaggerated there. Does this mean that bitcoin cannot help Palestinians willing to do the work and learn to operate in this new world? No it does not. Bitcoin can and is certainly helping Palestine. It is not and never will be a miracle cure, though.

Lies to get his point of view

This is where intellectual dishonesty intensifies. For example, the author says:

Thousands of crypto millionaires swarmed Puerto Rico, for example, taking advantage of tax incentives and beach resorts, buying properties and experimenting with energy-intensive crypto projects on an island plagued by energy shortages.

We analyzed the articles to which it refers and, 1.- These are cryptographic people, not bitcoin people. 2.- Not once is it said that someone is mining in Puerto Rico, so “energy-intensive crypto projects” are not a factor. 3.- Those tax incentives are in place precisely to attract those crypto-millionaires. In any case, intellectual dishonesty aside, the author has not yet lied. However…

“A year later, very few Salvadorans use Bitcoin, but government investments in Bitcoin have so far lost tens of millions of dollars in public funds. For a country with a relatively high public debt, investing in such a volatile asset could further strain the state budget and leave the country vulnerable to non-compliance with its debt obligations ”.

El Salvador did not lose a dollar because it did not sell a bitcoin. Does this woman think the Salvadoran government was unaware of bitcoin’s volatility? This is insulting. Furthermore, El Salvador’s economy is practically the only one in the world that is currently showing signs of growth. While other dollarized countries like Ecuador and Panama are struggling, El Salvador thrives.

I return to Palestine with the same stale arguments

Unbelievable, but Hadas Thier got the girlfriend to say, “Given the level of economic hardship, many Palestinians are unlikely to use cryptocurrencies. Most don’t have the resources to do so.” He followed that offensive statement and didn’t even interview a single bitcoiner in Palestine for his article Fortunately for us, Gladstein did for its.

“Some receive bitcoins directly via mobile apps from friends or family abroad. Others use Telegram groups to coordinate in-person meetings to exchange cash for bitcoins, or bring cash to physical stores and trade there. In these stores, Uqab said, authorities monitor and keep lists of those who buy and sell. No one has yet, he said, been arrested for using Bitcoin. To store bitcoin on their phones, Gazans could use Binance or Payeer as custody solutions, or Blue Wallet, which has native Arabic language support, as a non-custody solution.

We could interpret the following paragraph as Thier’s feeble answer:

“Finally, even the most limited promise of easier transmission of remittances from Palestinians in the diaspora is flawed. The first are obstacles to sending remittances, which in most cases require a bank account and identification, as well as often high fees. So the wildly fluctuating value of bitcoin and other digital assets means that what could start as $ 100 worth of bitcoin could result in $ 50 the moment it is withdrawn, provided the recipient finds a way to convert the bitcoin into cash. “

What is this woman talking about? “Bank account”? “Identification”? “High tariffs”? Not with bitcoin. And the “wildly fluctuating value of bitcoin” also means that those $ 100 worth of bitcoin could carry $ 200 upon withdrawal.

More lies, this time about Hamas

This is where the author loses all trace of decency. She claims:

In fact, last summer, when Hamas attempted to raise finance through bitcoin and other digital currencies, the Israeli state responded with seizing their cryptocurrency wallets. Hamas raised over $ 7 million in cryptocurrencies. The Israeli National Office for the Financing of Terrorism traced 84 digital wallets and their private keys believed to be controlled by Hamas and transferred their contents out of the wallets. If they can seize Hamas’ crypto assets, they can certainly do the same with Palestinian investors. “

This is a lie. The article it links to clearly says:

“Officials did not specify how much cryptocurrency was seized. But the Elliptic report showed that Hamas has collectively received over $ 7.7 million in cryptocurrencies. “

If Hamas had its cryptocurrency in a centralized service, okay, some intelligence agency could seize their coins. That’s why one of the core principles of bitcoin is “Not your keys, not your coins”. If Hamas had its coins in self-custody, there is absolutely no way they were seized. And Hadas Thier would have known if he had done his homework. What he did instead was exaggerate an already bogus report that said nothing about “private keys”.

“Neither Gladstein nor others in the cryptocurrency community are willing to say they support Hamas in doing so because it further implies blockchain technology as a conduit to circumvent illegality.”

Another of the central principles of bitcoin is “Bitcoin is money for enemies”. The logic here is that if your enemies are guaranteed to be able to use bitcoins, your friends are guaranteed the same. In other words, bitcoin is for everyone, even people who break the law. Everyone in bitcoin is willing to say this and often does.

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