In the world of financial technology, few phenomena have captured collective attention and challenged established norms like Bitcoin.
From the creation of the mysterious pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 to the current explosion in market valuation, Bitcoin has stood the test of time, attracting not only investors but also regulators and legal experts.
To understand the philosophy behind Nakamoto‘s creation, we need to know that in the early 1990s, a movement with a strong libertarian political bent emerged on the Internet, known as the Cypherpunks, whose banner was – and is – to defend people’s privacy through cryptography, using anonymity, digital signatures, and electronic money. In a sense, they proposed to put a brake on government cyber-surveillance. In essence, cryptocurrencies, unlike legal tender, promote the separation between the individual and the state.
For this reason, Bitcoin has been accused from the start of facilitating anonymity, money laundering, and tax evasion. In addition, because of its price volatility, it has attracted many critics of immense power, but also defenders who are particularly tired of the abuses of the central actors of the financial system. It seems that from the very beginning, blockchain technology was destined to achieve the decentralization dreamed of by renegade Cypherpunks (2.0).
It was in 2010 when a certain Laszlo Hanyecz, a Bitcoin enthusiast and resident of the state of Florida, made a unique offer on a photo of his followers: he was willing to pay 10,000 bitcoins for two pizzas to be delivered to his home, which happened shortly thereafter.
This act was much more than a simple transaction: it marked the first time Bitcoin was used to purchase physical goods, taking the cryptocurrency beyond the realm of digital experimentation and into people’s everyday lives. Just three years later – in April 2013 – the price per bitcoin fell from $266 to around $50, and then rose to around $100. Today, its value exceeds $36,000.
The next milestone was the emergence of Ethereum – or Bitcoin 2.0, as some like to call it – a blockchain protocol with the ability to create smart contracts, among other things.
As Bitcoin gained popularity, many countries began to recognize its legal status and develop specific regulations for cryptocurrencies. Some, such as Switzerland, Singapore, Australia, Lithuania, Latvia and the United States, embraced the innovation, while others, such as Russia, Bolivia, China and, of course, Argentina, were cautious. In this sense, it was undoubtedly El Salvador that took a fundamental step forward by accepting Bitcoin as legal tender.
Argentina, without a single set of regulations, went from an expectant attitude – minor regulations from control bodies such as the Financial Information Unit, the Central Bank and the National Securities Commission – to a total prohibition, affecting banks and payment services that had begun to offer Bitcoin to their customers.
As Bitcoin adoption grows, new legal challenges are emerging. Market volatility, cybersecurity and concerns about misuse remain hot topics. Regulators are trying to balance innovation with consumer protection and financial stability, raising critical questions about oversight and liability. The National Securities Commission mandated the creation of an Innovation Hubb for developers to submit their projects for the agency’s (non-final) feedback before they invest money and go to market.
However, the eternal question is how to regulate what was born to operate and develop outside the magnifying glass of the state and with the aim of combating the abuses of governments and financial entities? I firmly believe that any regulation born within the State, without the intervention of the main representatives of the crypto ecosystem, is destined to fail.
In this sense, within the framework of LABITCONF (Latin American Bitcoin & Blockchain Conference), a leading conference in Latin America that brings together the main referents of the industry, the Draft Law of Bitcoin Argentina was presented, with an explicit call to everyone in the community to make the contribution they consider relevant.
Bitcoin celebrates 15 years and it is clear that the inseparable link between technology and legality will continue to evolve. This journey is a testament to technology’s ability to challenge convention and reshape the financial world. Looking ahead, the intersection of law and technology will continue to be a fascinating and challenging terrain, defining the next phase of the digital financial revolution.