Special Event

Cato Institute Panel at South by Southwest Interactive: Operation Choke Point and Alternative Currencies

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Date and Time
March 16, 2015 11 AM - 2 PM EDT
Austin Convention Center, Room 10AB, SXSW-I, Austin, Texas
Featuring Mark Calabria, Director of Financial Regulation Studies, Cato Institute (@MarkCalabria); Ashe Schow, Commentary Staff Writer, Washington Examiner (@AsheSchow); and Perianne Boring, President, Chamber of Digital Commerce (@PerianneDC); Moderated by Cathy Reisenwitz, Editor, Sex and the State (@CathyReisenwitz).

Can you imagine being denied a bank account just because some bureaucrat disapproves of your job? It could happen to you!

Launched in early 2013, “Operation Choke Point” is a joint effort by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the bank regulators to limit access to the bank payments system by various businesses. Initially targeted at small‐​dollar nonbank lenders, Choke Point has grown to cover a variety of legitimate businesses that just happen to be unpopular with DOJ.

Since, in today’s economy, almost any economic activity depends on access to the payments system, allowing the DOJ to arbitrarily limit access represents an almost unprecedented abuse of power. Many targeted businesses and individuals are turning to cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and dogecoin in order to survive without access to the traditional banking system.

What can be done about Operation Choke Point, who is being targeted, and what implications does this hold for the future of cryptocurrencies?

This panel will be occurring at the annual South by Southwest — Interactive conference in Austin, Texas. You will need to be a registered participant of the conference to attend. However, all Cato supporters are invited to follow along on Twitter using #CatoCrypto. We will also be posting a video on the Cato website after the conference is over.