Bitcoin Q&A: Taxation and failed societies

[AUDIENCE] Hi, Andreas. Thank you for coming.
Here in Argentina people don’t like to pay taxes. [Laughter] If we are going into a world without cash,
as the use of anonymous cryptocurrencies becomes… mainstream, do you think that governments
will find it hard to earn money through taxes, and control what people earn, buy, and sell? Do you think this is a good thing or a bad thing? [ANDREAS] I think traditional mechanisms of taxation
will encounter difficulty if they refuse to change. There are many mechanisms of taxation
that work; with sales tax, as one example. You can implement cryptocurrencies with various
forms of progressive and regressive taxes. I am not recommending this, I am simply saying
that we will see all those possibilities explored. There is a common argument you hear
especially in countries where taxation is… a problem, like my home country of Greece. When I have talked about cryptocurrencies in Greece,
people say, “But people already don’t pay taxes.” “How will we build the roads?” Well, first of all,
there were roads before taxes. [Laughter] Secondly, as we are saying this, we are
in an auditorium built by private money. [Although, had I delivered this talk] in Greece,
the government may have confiscated it afterwards… and then let it fall into disrepair.
So, [that is often an outcome]. [It should be the case that], if you live in a society where
valuable and desired services are delivered to you, like a social safety net for retirement in your old age,
then people will often want to pay taxes for it. They will pay taxes more voluntarily than they do
in countries where they [receive] nothing in return. It is ironic. You would expect that the countries
with the strictest rules, controls, and bureaucracies, who carefully monitor your bank and pull money out of
every tiny corner, are the ones that collect the most tax; the ones that have the lowest rate of tax evasion. But it is the exact opposite. I sometimes try to explain taxation
in America to my Greek relatives. [They ask], “How does the government know how
much you make?” “Because I tell them every April.” “Why do you tell them?” [Laughter] “Okay, let’s rewind… The only reason you are paying
taxes is because, otherwise, they would figure it out, and you would go to jail? Is that the only reason?”
In some countries, that is the only reason you pay. But what you are really saying is,
you are living in a failed society. The taxes are a symptom of a failed society,
a society in which people don’t believe… that they will get something for their taxes,
or that they will be used for something useful. I am not a huge fan of taxes or big governments either.
But there is something to be said about failed states. There are plenty of [countries] where the tax rate is
really low and people pay taxes very comfortably. When you go outside, the roads are actually amazing. In fact, in the countries where people say, “who will
build the roads,” the immediate [answer should be], “Have you seen the roads [the government built]?
Because I have, and they are full of holes!” This is a matter of whether societies can adapt to
environments where people [won’t] just pay taxes… if they know those taxes will be wasted, or misused to
bomb other people. Quite honestly, I am an American. We create refugees and then say, “No, you can’t come
here.” “Why did you bomb my fucking village then?” [Laughter] [Applause]
“I can go back, but it is not there anymore!” The problems that cryptocurrencies will create for taxes
are symptoms of deeper problems in our society. Today, we accept that multi-national companies
and billionaires get away with not paying taxes. The only time we see that as a problem, is when
the entire middle-class can use the same [tools]. That tells you, the problem isn’t the [cryptocurrencies].

29 thoughts on “Bitcoin Q&A: Taxation and failed societies”

  1. Taxation like that of today is a combination of stupidity & legalized theft. Taxation in the real sense only comes into operation when you make a transaction i.e. when you spend the money you literally made, some of it (sales tax) goes into a common wealth pool ; We The People's own Reserve Bank which deals only with actual value based money…absolutely no QE. One tax everybody pays…super simple whereas modern taxation is like why make things simple when you can make it complicated ?

  2. If you can print money from air you can also make roads from air. I hope we will soon see first taxless country. Everything is in mathematics.

  3. "Why would people not want to pay taxes?" A good enough reason is to end both implicit and explicit support for murdering children in other countries. I got others.

  4. The problem comes when people start actually using crypto instead of just speculating. When a lot of transactions are done by machine, automated, high frequency or hidden in the protocol layer and invisible to the user. How exactly all this can be tracked for tax purposes is anyone's guess. What has been invented is friction-less digital value transfer. If the government adds friction back into crypto then its entirely pointless.

  5. 4:24 The United States of America didn't bomb Greece, so why's he there? And, no, he's not "American" any more than if he had moved to Japan he'd be "Japanese". Read the single sentence that comprises the whole of the Preamble to the United States Constitution if you're confused. And remember who exactly drafted this Constitution (hint: not the Greeks).

  6. I don't like paying taxes either. Especially, when it involves funding useless programs that do not benefit me at all.

  7. we only pay so much taxes because of our ponzi monetary system. half of your taxes flow back to parasitic banks through interst payments controlled by a little elite. we would save so much god damn money if we hadn‘t this kind of system. bitcoin will correct that.

  8. Paying taxes is not a bad thing, if those taxes are used for things that make sense (e.g. roads, firefighters, schools, judges, …) and everyone pays a fair share. The problem is that this is often not the case in modern societies, because our current system of centralized control always leads to corruption.

  9. We need to end unjust taxes. Income should not be taxed. Instead, a fair tax on savings should be used instead.

  10. Problem is not the taxation, but who does and who doesn't pay tax. If we all pay or most of us pay, we can say for example: "This road is owned by the society!" But if we don't, the richest wil pay for the roads (because they want to reach places) and you won't be able to use them, only if you pay taxes to the investors. This was in the Middle Ages, but now we have much more way to control people.
    In other hand rethink the societies is really necessary. Why would we pay? What can we reach if we are working together? Etc.

  11. rober kiyosaki doesn't fight back but exploits loopholes in law, satoshi nakamoto fights back and creates an indestructible system!!

  12. You forgot to mention how Bitcoin will force governments to actually use taxation as the means of financing themselves, instead of illegitimate money printing (which is basically an invisible tax on everyone).

  13. This is the only arugement which makes me question bitcoins future, without collection of taxes countries are destroyed

  14. Crypto is the future of capitalism, not socialism 🙂 and it’great! Crypto will allow us to have small government, less bureaucracy, lower taxes, more liberty and freedom, just what unkle Jefferson was thinking of 😉

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