Bitcoin permits users to engage in direct expressive activity with one another without the need for centralized intermediaries. It does so by utilizing an open and community-managed global database called a blockchain. While much of the literature about Bitcoin has focused on its use as a form of digital payment, this Article suggests an expanded understanding by demonstrating its use as a protocol network, not unlike the internet, that can be used to extend the possible range of human expression. After developing an appreciation of the technology, this Article recommends a framework for applying the First Amendment to Bitcoin and similar technologies and explores how the Amendment’s guarantees of associational and expressional freedoms may impact restrictions on access to the Bitcoin network.
Justin S. Wales and Richard J. Ovelmen,
Bitcoin is Speech: Notes Toward Developing the Conceptual Contours of Its Protection Under the First Amendment,
74 U. MIA L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.miami.edu/umlr/vol74/iss1/6