The law of unintended consequence could be about to strike the Taiwanese government. At the end of September PayPal, the popular payment service, will prevent Taiwanese residents from sending or receiving funds from other Taiwanese PayPal users, due to recently introduced legislation. The legislation was brought in to better control virtual money flow, and the PayPal situation was just one result of the wording.
However, while most Asian countries including Taiwan continue to warn consumers of the danger of digital currency, Taiwan is actually one of the few places in the world Bitcoin can be purchased over the counter. This, combined with the legislation affecting the traditional fiat based payment services, could result in a rise in digital currency use in the near future.
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Governments around the world never seem to lose their desire to control the financial system and how people use and move their money. That might not be so problematic if they were at least careful about the implementation of their ideas, but that is not always the case. Recent legislation in Taiwan designed to facilitate digital money transfers through the existing networks between citizens specifically excludes the use of third party processors. Why that exclusion was implemented is not clear; however, the result of that action is very clear indeed: beginning at the end of September, PayPal users in Taiwan will not be able to send money to other Taiwanese PayPal users.
This is so that PayPal itself, the popular payment service, remains compliant with local laws. Taiwanese will still be able to use their PayPal accounts to send money abroad or make international payments, but not to people in their own country. Yes, that does sound like something went horribly wrong during the crafting of that legislation if that is the outcome. Sadly, that is indeed the outcome.
However, while the government of Taiwan – like most governments in Asia - is anything but friendly towards digital currency, focusing on the potential weak links in exchange and wallet providers, Taiwan does remain one of the few places in the world where Bitcoin can be purchased over the counter. In that regard, Taiwanese are better prepared than people in most nations for a potential shift to digital currency. More restrictions on financial movement (PayPal is built within the traditional fiat system after all) may have the unintended consequence of speeding Taiwanese popular acceptance of cryptocurrency.
This seemingly never ending desire to control all aspects of financial movement could very well be the driving force for the widespread adoption of digital currencies as we move forward. While privacy and other benefits have attracted many so far, the need to keep control of our own money is a much more powerful driving force for most people. Could this be the start of the widespread adoption of digital currency many have hoped for?