Way back in 2012, when Bitcoin was still relatively unknown, the US Attorney's office attempted to have it shut down. Obviously, it was not successful.
Federal prosecutor Katie Haun was told to look into "shutting down" Bitcoin, in 2012. Now, Haun is a cryptocurrency expert.
Haun stated in a recent interview with CNBC, "they said 'we have this perfect assignment for you' – there's this thing called Bitcoin and we need to investigate it." Haun said that was the first time she had ever heard of this new crypto coin.
That "assignment" that Haun was given, changed her life, actually. As she went on to sit on the board of Coinbase – which is a Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange, based in the US. She also teaches a class on crypto at Stanford Law School. This all happened in the years after this assignment was given to her in 2012.
So why was the US government unsuccessful in shutting down Bitcoin? Well as Haun stated, "it would have been akin to saying 'let's go prosecute cash.'"
The government likely wanted to shut down Bitcoin because it saw it as a way to launder money, and because it had no real authority over it. Like it does with stocks, thanks to the SEC. Cryptocurrency has been able to run free on its own over the past decade or so. It does need some regulation, but shutting it down was not the way to go.
Haun now is the first female general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, and also co-heads its $350 million cryptocurrency fund. She has also worked closely with Facebook, to create its Libra coin. Which is having a ton of issues itself right now. And Libra is renewing the threat that crypto faces from the government. As Senators have asked Facebook to shut it down already, before it even launches.
Bitcoin has become pretty popular in the last five years or so. It's become so popular that many tech giants are looking to launch their own cryptocurrency. Facebook is just one of many that has plans to do just that. This has Congress worried, especially when it comes to Facebook, as it has shown that it simply doesn't care about privacy and security. And security is very important when talking about crypto.
We'll have to wait and see if the US government is going to be successful in trying to shut down Bitcoin or any other coins in the near future.