Let's say we go back in time and we're in the prime of Soulseek, the file sharing program and community. In any chat room there exists hundreds, maybe thousands, of users who may or may not be sharing hundreds, if not thousands, of files (maybe music, movies, a mix of media, etc). These chat rooms usually have a very strong "share or be banned" ethos, so if you are caught not sharing then you usually have your access limited. I recall browsing through other people's libraries as they were downloading from me and I would acquire media for myself - like we entered a trading agreement. Unless the media shared was tagged by the RIAA as copyrighted, the transaction is practically traceless. You forget who you downloaded the media from just about instantly. I can't name a single username from Soulseek other than my own.

This is essentially how Bitcoin operates. Instead of files, you have Bitcoin. Instead of chat rooms, you have vendors that accept Bitcoin. Instead of "share or be banned" and folders of media, you have Bitcoin wallets where if you input a private key you can verify whether someone has enough Bitcoin for a purchase. And yes, it's traceless, paperless and currently under attack by Thailand.

Wait, what? Thailand?

Bitcoin has been deemed illegal by the Thailand government - absolutely no trading of Bitcoin is permitted within the borders of Thailand. This Bitcoin freeze sounds mostly in part to the lack of existing laws to regulate this new currency.

Unlike file sharing, where acquiring media you personally don't own is considered illegal, Bitcoin has no illegality. Then again, it has no legality. It's practically lawless. And because of this, Thailand decided to put a ban on Bitcoin until the government reasons their way to legalizing it as a valid form of currency in the country. However, there may be more complications for Thailand before there are solutions for Bitcoin. Thailand have their own problems to deal with. Including the officials themselves.

With Bitcoin being practically-impossible to trace back to a point-of-sale, Thailand's illegal industries of human trafficking and sexual exploitation become harder to track. Without the assistance of some other monitoring systems in place prior to a transaction (e.g. keylogging), Bitcoin seemingly becomes more of a harm than a help for the Thailand government if the black market adopts a Bitcoin-only system. At the moment, Bitcoin is 100% compliant with the ban.

Like the RIAA lawsuits of the past, this Bitcoin ban may be an overreaction that will subsequently lead to a lot of precedent-setting over actual action. How long will this embargo exist? How long before Thailand drops the ban - or worse, how long before another country bans Bitcoin? The RIAA had delivered a handful of lawsuits, and settled on some of them, but they inevitably dropped all remaining lawsuits after research suggested the decline of album sales was not due to music piracy. There currently is no correlation between Bitcoin and the increase of criminal activity in the world (and most likely there won't be) but there is no scapegoat for the company either.

The invisible Satoshi Nakamoto may be a pseudonym for the group of people who founded the Bitcoin enterprise and fighting a ghost CEO is not a route any government would try to pursue (at least not successfully). Dropping the Bitcoin ban is a possible future for Thailand - but like what the RIAA did with file-sharing, more hurdles will be put in front of Bitcoin before they are taken down.