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Paid for by Bitcoin? Allegations Swirl Around Catalonia Referendum

The Catalonia secession referendum has caused debates all across the world.

And now, Spain’s Guardia Civil law enforcement agency has added another wrinkle to the episode, alleging that Catalonian leaders have been fueling their movement — at least in part — thanks to bitcoins.

Spanish investigators began looking into the regional Catalonian government’s spending after finding it unusual that the regional government was still able to buy promotional and logistical services even after more traditional avenues of funding had been frozen.

These investigators determined that bitcoins were being used to circumvent federal financial sanctions against Catalonia.

Spanish newspaper El Mundo is reporting that both Amazon and Google have received subpoenas from the 13th Court of Barcelona for providing some of the services in question.

Accordingly, investigators believe that Amazon provided the voting software used during the recent “O-1” referendum and that Google provided cyber-security services for referendum-related websites.

If true, that means Amazon and Google were accepting bitcoins as a form of payment from Catalonian administrators — a notable development in and of itself.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this story, though, is Bitcoin’s purported use as a revolutionary tool.

Whether right or wrong, Catalonian authorities have allegedly used bitcoins to engage in political activities that the Spanish government considers to be illegal. That revolutionary dynamic points toward Bitcoin’s unique ability to be a check on centralized governmental power.

Indeed, Bitcoin is permission-less.

While the Catalonian government may need to ask for Spanish authorities’ permission to use various traditional financial channels, they don’t need anyone’s permission to use Bitcoin.

Which, if this story is true, is precisely why the Catalonian government turned to bitcoins in the first place: to move beyond political and financial constraints.

TLDR: Spain’s Guardia Civil law enforcement agency is alleging that the Catalonian secession movement has been using bitcoins to pay for political help. 

William M. Peaster is a cryptocurrency journalist and copy-editor based out of El Paso, Texas. He's an avid fan of Ethereum, ERC-20 tokens, and smart contracts in general.

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