Bitcoin Laws Imminent - comment page 1

This week the US courts service (UScourts.gov) has shown increasing interest in Bitcoins.  Their research is ongoing but hastily scaling-up from where it was last week. Seems we have new orders from the top. The question then becomes, who’s first … Continue reading

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72 Responses to Bitcoin Laws Imminent - comment page 1

  1. Solid arguments but if one cannot enforce law it is useless. They can’t stop Bitcoin and we are always be anonymous to them.

    • A search of news items at the site mentioned in the story yields nothing.

      As prior posters have already noted, the cat is out of the bag, and there is no way on this earth it is going to be put back in.

      Unless of course, the entire internet is destroyed, but then we’ll have bigger problems to deal with.

      • TraderTimm, that is not what this article relates to. This article highlights US laws are imminent based upon an increase in research activity into Bitcoin by the US courts service.

        I think most people don’t have an issue with the Bitcoin network as such, more so with it’s use by criminals to circumvent law enforcement. For this reason, I think the best option open to politicians is option 5 as stated above: Namely, keep it running and harvest information “selectively”.

  2. tomatoo australis

    Bitcoin is an international currency so your countries laws do not apply. (from Australia).

    • The world is not governed by borders as you have hinted at. It is governed by influence. The standard three types of influence being: Diplomatic, Economic and Military (DEM model of political strategy). Under the current world model, the US has significant influence over other first world countries, and that includes yours. Because of this, our laws are likely to eventually become your laws.

      I’ll add, since you’re from Australia, you’re well aware how quickly oppressive laws can become accepted and commonplace.

  3. BitCoins are here to stay. What is the difference between bartering for goods and services and creating your own currency? The answer is nothing. Whether you create websites and “trade” that service for a bag of grapes or compute hashes all day long and then trade the solution to others for goods and services; it is all the same. This is a 10th Amendment issue. The Government just does not have the right to interfere.

    • Does the solution generated have any inherent value? Is the solution to the problem to generate Bitcoins actually useful for anything?

      The government does have a right to issue and control currency within the US. I would guess that trumps constitutional issues as the very existence of the United States depends upon, in part, currency control within its borders.

      I would be interested to hear the details of how you think Bitcoin is a 10th Amendment issue.

  4. You forgot to add Bitcoin Bloggers to your above list for who’s in the firing line. The whole thing is really silly though, because if it were possible to legislate enforcement against bitcoin, then hawala would not be surviving as it is today.

    • I’m not sure which part you’re specifically referring to here Jon. Huwala is a non-US currency currency/trading “system”, predominantly in the middle-east and Africa. I’ve never heard of it being accepted in exchange of goods or services rendered within US borders or jurisdiction. Further, there are additional religious reasons Huwala exists that of course will not apply to Bitcoins. Interesting point out though.

    • Dave Harrison

      Double key encryption and PGP aside, hawala doesn’t employ IP infrastructure as bitcoin does. The suggestion that a human trust network can be emulated by an algorithm is a stretch.

      Dave Harrison.

  5. WIll they close down Bitcoins the way they have successfully closed down the file sharing networks?

    Oh yeah, that’s right, that plan didn’t quite pan out did it?.

    • Movie rights affect a small minority. Currency and crime affect everyone. This one is going to be quick and ugly.

  6. Electronic money has no difference to fiat and in fact does not work in most part of the world. If the creation of bitcoin is cheaper than fiat and relies on network which need power and eventually a subset of energy sector and shutdown easier than before. Bitcoin inyention is good and it can turn bad to people easier than FIAT.

  7. Why would anyone want to shut down bitcoin? Claiming it can be used in crime is a silly argument. You can just use cash as criminals have done for ever and will continue to do so.

    If people speculate by buying bitcoins with cash then they are just gambling. If they are playing with money they can afford to lose who cares?

    Unless you a shill for banksters, who care about bitcoins? You can take them or leave them. I have not bought any because I need to see stuff I want to buy offered in them. Currency laws apply to national currencies. They don’t apply to casino chips, barter scrips like the LETS system or other arrangements.

    I can create a local currency with a ballpoint pen and a few school exercise books. You just think of a name for a trading unit and then keep accounts of who has bought whatever and settle up at the end of the month in goods or cash.

    • You can’t use cash online. Online crime was always lacking in the easy anonymity cash offered until Bitcoin was created. Now that it’s here the criminals are having a field day with Bitcoins.

      Pretty much everyone involved in Bitcoins is carrying out non-legal activities or speculating (although I would call it greed rather than speculation, since speculation requires an inherent underlying base to the unit being speculated upon). I think many enjoy watching the potential collapse…is it Scheudenfreud? Possibly.

      If we can’t easily tax it, why should we allow it as a method in which to carry out a transaction here in the US? Taxes pay for useful public services like education, defense and law enforcement. Services we all gain value from and enjoy in this great nation. Participate or leave I say.

      I’m sure you would have a different tone should a criminal take your children and sell their organs on the black market to (for example) China. Say they use Bitcoins to carry out the transaction online, a deal that would not be possible without the existence of Bitcoin. We will never find them again, since Bitcoins are anonymous. Would you still support Bitcoins under those circumstances? Should we sit idly by while such manouvers are being made? I suggest not.

      I should add, I am all for a dedicated private banking system done right, I think it’s a great idea, but we need to be careful as to the use technology we create, such as Bitcoin, will be put to. Now thanks to the Bitcoin anonymous currency we will begin seeing increased anti-privacy measures. Measures I support now as necessary, but would not support if Bitcoin did not exist.

      • ” Taxes pay for useful public services like education, defense and law enforcement.”

        Taxes pay for crappy monopolies on services. If you don’t like them, you have no choice to leave or suck up to the crap the government hands back to you.

        • What would it take for people to get together and try to make change? What do you think is standing in their way? As Julian Assange said, it’s not a machine, it’s just humans. Real people like you and me. And as Wikileaks says, “Courage is contagious”, right?.

  8. “This week the US courts service (UScourts.Gov) has shown increasing interest in Bitcoins. Their research is ongoing but hastily scaling-up from where it was last week.

    Seems we have new orders from the top.”

    Source?.

  9. Nerdr, What is your link? How can I check the court service “hit” record for bitcoin? Thanks.

    • I think you mean source of information, yes? No journalist reveals sources.

      I can say two sources, data and humint, concurred before publications of this article.

      • I think you need to back up your “humint” with some cite-able facts…. Simply stating “I can say two sources, data and humint, concurred before publications of this article” really does not help. In fact, it is a red flag to me that this is conjecture and possible disinfo. In the morning!!.

        • Bob@cia, there’s not much more I can say on it. The data is private and the department is fairly small, so although difficult, it would not be impossible. I know you want hard cold facts, I would too. But sometimes those can’t be made public as I’m sure you understand. Consider this a heads-up.

  10. “reply to Jon” has no info about the source for this story. Plus the US Courts don’t make laws.

    I suspect this article is an attempt to drive the price of BTC down.

    • Zeno, for the record, I do not own any Bitcoins and have no intention to join the current Bitcoin speculation. Further, I have no financial interest in seeing the price of Bitcoin move up or down in any significant fashion. I do have an interest in Bitcoins potential uses, current and projected. I am passing along what I have regarding the US courts increased interest in Bitcoin activity. Consider what you have.

      • Well, then, in that case I’m interested to know exactly what information you have regarding this subject. “Increased interest” is terribly vague and without some more information I just don’t know what to make of this.

        Not knowing what to make of it, I’m inclined to dismiss it as unlikely. Furthermore, I’m not familiar with you or your blog, and I can’t find anything about you here. I’m sure you can see how your unsourced and functionally anonymous article appears to Bitcoiners, yes?

        Not that you are required to care. It’s your blog, do what you want. But I’m still curious as hell about what else you know, if anything, about this US Courts “increasing interest.”

        As to your Law and Order argument, yes yes, we go through this constantly in the American discussion. Safety or freedom? I agree with you in your belief that safety and law enforcement are crucial to our society, but I also consider the fact of mission creep, as they call it. Safety from overreaching government is no less important than safety from terrorists and organized crime.

        • I’m sorry. As I said elsewhere, merely consider it a heads up if it makes it more palatable.

          As for mission creep. Yes, I agree. Give an inch, they take a yard is an absolute in politics. That is why so many fear government being given even small leeway in regards privacy and restrictions on freedom. We’ve seen that with the PA and we’ll see it as the law system increases in complexity over time. I just hate to see them encouraged, as they are with Bitcoin at the moment.

    • > the US Courts don’t make laws

      Heh, heh,

      US legal theory is very different from US legal reality. Just google “judicial activism united states” and see just how much law ends up being created by the courts.

  11. Why are you so afraid?.

    • You mean of Bitcoin? I guess I see it’s future use. You would be surprised how much hard work goes into keeping you safe. Much of it requires targeting individuals and following trails. Bitcoin, intentionally or not, attempts to circumvent these methods, making law enforcement (those laws you agree with and of course, those you don’t) much more difficult. As part of this, to reduce the difficulty law enforcement will face, new laws will be needed, reducing our scant freedoms further.

      I guess that is why.

      • Keeping me safe?

        Like mob payments to prevent crime against my shop.

        You are the criminal with that line if you ask me.

        • You would be surprised what goes on behind closed doors to keep you safe. Really, it is not easy, and should the gates be opened, you will indeed see what is truly out there. Until then, relax and enjoy your comfortable life, safe from those who would seek harm to your property and person as we watch over you.

          • IAMSLATTERY

            Clearly you do not see your Daddy syndrome as THE MAIN problem? I.

            YOU ARE THE ONE TO BE AFRAID OF!!! LOVE.

            I would sooner trust a starving monkey with an AK pointed at my face who was a little agitated that a US crumb just tickled his first born – than anyone even remotly connected to the brainwashing you have gone through. COPS.

            Thank you for being so clear who the real enemy is. I agree with the Patriot Act. We all agree with the Patriot Act. 0327837357.

          • I’m sorry. Look, I need to remove profanity and agitation to keep the site suitable for children. Think of the children.

  12. Nerdr – you are a slave in every way shape and form of the word.

    The ‘N’ word (nerd) was invented for folks just like you who have fallen in love with the pain of indentured servitude.

    It is clear hope, victory and justice are not words you have had real delicious experience with and are somewhat afraid of.

    Thank you for expressing clearly how hard of a fight freedom has been and will be as humanity is not logical as you seem to only have faith in logic.

    Logic is an ant in the universe of reality and will be squashed by real humans or when it implodes.

  13. Bottom line is not Bitcoin but crypto-currency model bitcoin is founded on. Forget stopping bitcoin (which I don’t think is possible anyway) wait till you have a multitude of crypto-currencies like bitcoin but more improved all over the world popping up. I think the peer to peer concept is here to stay and so are crypto-currencies. Pretty soon you will have bitcoin like currency systems in most countries modeled in their own local fashion.

    • I agree Bob. Cryptocurrency is here to stay. Laws will attempt to enforce restrictions, but can they work? Unlikely. The system usually finds a way to route around damage and censorship.

  14. YOU I LOVE YOU MAN!!!

    How clear is it I am right and how gutless are you not loving my comments.

    You truly are THE NERD STOVE that has no soul in regards to the gift of life I gave you!

    What was YOUR price? A flag pole in your exhaust pipe with a mammal bear drinking tea from a Bitcoin faucet?.

  15. Not moderating…

    Doing research on me Nerd boy?

    Looking forward to Bitcoin price increasing!.

    • Should I be doing?.

      • Manipulating my communication speaks volumes to what you “should” do.

        Your life is a SHOULD as motivation to you is actually desperation.

        I would rather BitCoin be shut down by the whole internet being shut down. Then the likes of you and your voice would be disempowered.

        This is my goal – not making BitCoins increase in price or being made not-legal. To give power back to the individual – as you have no experience in or ability to understand or desire.

        • Why would you want to shut Bitcoin down when it has so many uses? I think it’s useful, but unfortunately empowers the wrong type of people. A shame really. I hope you have a nice day. Be careful or earthquakes.

  16. Oh – I see the dollar is not empowering any of the wrong type of people. There is no shame in the power of the dollar – huh?

    Shucks wonder how it will be when Gold goes over $3,100 and is easier to transport than $100 bills of the same value.

    My hope for you is a prayer in the name of Justin Bieber.

    My desire for you is the reality of your mentality manifests itself in a mirror where you see how spineless your pancreas is.

    • $3,100? So you think gold will go up? Why and under what conditions? Also, why will it stop at $3,100? What’s special about that value?.

      • $3100 is just as arbitrary as you calling Bitcoin users ‘predominantly driven by greed or criminal intent’.

        Just as arbitrary as the EFF no longer accepting Bitcoin donations ‘citing US laws for their removal’. They did no such thing. The EFF stated they no longer accept payment in Bitcoin due to the unclear legal status and potential conflict of interest (i.E. In case they need to defend Bitcoin users).

        Just as arbitrary as saying ‘this will be quick and ugly’.

        FYI, journalism is about neutral investigation and reporting. You seem to have a clear and strong agenda.

        Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt.

  17. “Bitcoin Wallet Owners… Predominantly driven by greed or criminal intent.”

    Wow. This article isn’t biased at all. As a Bitcoin wallet owner, I have to say that a lot of interest in Bitcoin isn’t criminal, but rather due to its novelty or else due to its inherent qualities. You don’t have to be a criminal to prefer a stronger currency over a weaker one. Bitcoin has awesome properties as a means of international exchange. It’s a timely technology for our ever-flattening world.

  18. Slattery,

    That is the most incomprehensible babble I’ve ever heard. Read a book, it’ll help you learn to write more clearly. Number one rule of arguing, attack the premise, not the person. You should look up the youtube videos of Jared Loughner, the guy who shot Giffords. You both seems to have a lot in common.

    That being said, the arguments for why bitcoin shouldn’t be illegal have a bunch of problems. If it’s like a casino chip, then like gambling, it has to be regulated by the Federal Gambling Laws. If it’s a currency, Article I section 8 of the constitution gives Congress the power to print our own currency and regulate foreign currency. If it’s foreign, we can regulate it within our borders. If it’s not, then you can’t print it. While it technically has no sovereignty, neither does Al Qaeda, and we treat them like war criminals (or we just go in and shoot them in the face, akin to how the US is going after bitcoin)

    I don’t agree that it should be shut down, I just think the US will try to shut it down, and going after the miners is the easiest way. Stiff penalties to anyone that mines bitcoins, this makes it so less people mine, which in turn makes the network more susceptible to having fake “blocks” created. That undermines the bitcoins validity as a whole and, voila, no more bitcoin.

    I bet another cryptocurrency will pop up, with a better infrastructure, this has too many weak points.

  19. I am a Bitcoin user, and I run a shop where others may purchase physical goods in exchange for BTC.

    I’m finding your site quite interesting – I’ve been alternating between considering your ideas and being complete aghast at your concept of the how governmental and economic systems work. I’ll definitely stuck around.

    Within the next couple of weeks, I intend to run some promotions for my eCommerce site, catering to the Bitcoin market. I anticipate that I’ll see a significant increase in sales in the currency, and intend to use a portion of the proceeds from this – after converting them to USD – to sponsor direct acceptance of Bitcoin through my SaaS shopping cart provider.

    I just wanted to let you know that there are legitimate users and merchants out there, and that we are doing our best to establish a goods-based economy not reliant on speculation. If you’d like insight on an actual person using Bitcoin for licit exchange, feel free to contact me.

    • Very interesting. What Would it take for you to no longer accept bitcoins as payment? What laws? What obstacles?

      As one of the few legitimate merchants, how do you feel about the volatility in pricing?.

      • I would stop overtly accepting it as payment only under realistic threat of jail time or severe economic loss – but if those things were to happen, I’d honestly have to reevaluate quite a few things in my life, because I would no longer consider myself even moderately free.

        As far as technical obstacles, at this point, I don’t see any. If the hash algo is compromised, we’ve got a *lot* of issues to deal with – and the network can move to a different one very quickly, with majority support of the userbase. Honestly, I foresee another cryptocurrency being the most likely reason that I would stop accepting Bitcoin.

        Volatility isn’t a huge concern for me. There was a bubble, yes, but that’s an inherent part of the system. It corrected, and now we’re back at a relatively stable place. I expect Bitcoin to lose gradually value relative to USD for a few weeks to a few months, and settle at $12-$14 USD before starting up the hill once again. I could be wrong, though – the price is greatly influenced by the amount of attention the concept is getting in the media and the adoption rate.

        I understand that right now, it costs between $3 and $7 USD per BTC to mine in electricity costs alone. For miners with equipment that is already paid off, this is the price floor – and it is the only real floor to prices right now. As a physical-goods economy grows, mining will become less and less attractive.

        Finally, there are more than a few legitimate merchants. There aren’t any large retailers that I know of, but lots of mom-and-pop places have begun taking them for at least partial payment.

        • Thanks for the insight Lyndsy.

          You mentioned an expectation that bitcoins price will settle at $12 to $14 per btc. What is the price estimate based on? My biggest issue right now is identifying the true value of a btc once speculation is removed from the equation. Do bitcoin users expect $12 because of price anchoring or do you think their is something of $12 value per bitcoin that i’m missing?

          Does bitcoins anonymity have value to mass market consumers purchasing everyday Legal goods? What would you like to see in bitcoin v2 from a merchant perspective?.

  20. Nerdr,

    Regarding “identifying the true value of a btc once speculation is removed from the equation”: Any “true value” has to include expected future demand, and it’s speculators that ensure this is incorporated as best as possible into the current market price. If you think you can do a better job of this, then put your money where your mouth is, like they do.

    I find it offensive that you state without any evidence that most bitcoin owners are driven “predominantly driven by greed or criminal intent”. Nearly all the ones that I know are driven predominantly by a desire for financial privacy and freedom, and to end destruction caused by the monopolization of money by the political and banking establishment. Do you have any evidence for this claim?

    How do you feel about the cash economy? Would you like to see it outlawed, too?.

    • John,

      Why does one need financial privacy? Hiding money from a spouse? Possibly. Although in that case I’d suggest tackling the matter head on rather than through Bitcoin. How about financial privacy from the government? Well that is usually not legal, so long as you trust your government to act in a fair manner.

      Your second point – Using Bitcoins for freedom…Freedom from what? Tyranny? Society? Your neighbours prying eyes? Laws you disagree with? Freedom from what exactly?

      Regarding the cash economy – It is used in large part to circumvent tax laws (ask your local small/medium business owner over a couple of beers), and so, as a member of society which depends on tax revenues, yes I would like it removed and replaced with trackable, taxable electronic currency. However, their is of course danger in the tracking and tracing if not managed correctly and securely. At any moment, an individual with less concern for security of such a system may leave it open or use it for other purposes than those for which it was intended. That is the danger.

      For now, having seen our elected leaders not being the brightest of individuals, I say the cash economy should remain until a guaranteed for purpose electronic system can be developed to replace it. Potentially a multi-key multi-law system protected by a constitutional amendment. It’s security must be guaranteed. The potential increase in tax revenue from implementing a trackable, traceable replacement to cash is immense and in my opinion worth the cost to society, if done right.

      • Regarding privacy in general: I don’t expect you to share, especially if you have nothing to hide. I’d feel like a creep, otherwise.

        Regarding financial freedom: This means freedom from middlemen of any kind – financial institutions and repressive governments – who might tell you what you can’t spend your money on, who you can send your money to, or who want to exercise their ability to take a cut, or all of it. See Wikileaks for a recent example of financial censorship, or your bank fees for a cut that doesn’t have to be taken anymore. (I’ll preempt you: sales taxes are collected today on cash transactions, and illegal drugs are always paid for with cash anyway, so chill out.)

        It also means freedom from the “insecurity tax” that’s built into the fee structures of today’s financial networks due to the high level of fraud that they tolerate.

        Of course with this freedom comes the responsibility for your own security, but I think it’s pretty clear that a more decentralized financial system will prove to be much more resilient than today’s centralized one, and especially that horrible cashless one that you hope to see implemented. Have you been paying any attention to LulzSec and Anonymous’ Operation Anti-Security?

        Even if you don’t recognize any the myriad problems with your particular police state, there are much worse ones in the world for which I’m sure you can see the utility of freedom-enabling technologies, no? Have you become at all alarmed by your consistent loss of civil liberties over the past decade, and do you fear that this might continue, and go to what even you perceive as too far?.

        • Thanks for clearing up your financial freedom point. I’m all for removal of unnecessary middlemen and censorship to freedom of speech and I’m a firm supporter of Wikileaks intent (although I’d question their methodology).

          Sales tax – It’s not that sales tax and similar cannot be collected, it’s that cash transactions are most often partially declared or not declared at all. Many small and medium sized business that deal in cash do not pay the full tax they should because the cash goes “under the table” irrespective of the laws of the land. Knowing many small business owners, I can safely say it is more widespread than anyone dares admit. An electronic payment system would be an attempt to remove the possibility of undeclared cash transactions being untracable and hence, untaxable. Of course, transactions may still be made in alternative “tokens of value”, and so any purely electronic replacement would need new laws banning the use of “tokens of value”.

          I disagree with a decentralized financial system being more resilient than a centralized one. Yes, we’ve had troubles, but our current centralized system has also proven robust and free from massive volatility as on the scale of Bitcoin. Now, one could easily argue this is due to volume, and I would agree in part. From what I’ve seen, I would not say one system is more or less resilient than the other.

          I expect, with enough planning and forethought a good, robust, well implemented system could theoretically be created to replace cash. Of course, I or anyone else for that matter, would not trust a government department to cover those points but I would be interested in the theoretical aspects of making such a system workable, particularly from a security standpoint. Making we can get the mysterious Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto on the case.

          The nature of power is to want more of it. Of course, given the ease with which power gains were made over the last decade or so, we will continue seeing freedoms taken. But the argument for their necessity is also worth considering. We do face threats from dark actors. People who wish to do us and our families harm. They are using new technologies for their nefarious purposes. Our old laws, technologies and methods do not stand a chance against them. To counteract that force, our only choice was to add laws making life difficult for them. And we did. So yes, we have lost civil freedoms, but we have maintained security at a level we previously enjoyed. As technology moves forward, we will see new laws implemented further reducing our freedom in exchange for security. Do we fight those? Possibly, but we should not be handing out new “weapons” with scant consideration as to their potential use, as has been done with Bitcoins creation.

          Weapons can be used to attack or defend. Bitcoins has it’s pros and it’s cons. I see the cons as being a heavier weight, it appears you see the pros outweighing the cons. Both positions are relatively valid, but no true answer exists, if it ever will, due to the future uncertainty surrounding Bitcoins eventual use.

          • Governments are already much bigger than I and many people like. If Bitcoin does act to give them somewhat of a haircut, and provide a natural ceiling to their growth, I won’t lose sleep. I doubt this would be the case, as they can simply move to other forms of taxation that Bitcoin wouldn’t affect the collection of, e.G. Excises, duties, VAT, and property taxes, and use Bitcoin as the justification for introducing or raising them.

            On resilience: my comment was regarding security, not stability. In a centralized system, single security breaches (internal and external) can and have yielded the account information and money of many, whereas in a system decentralized to the level of the individual, the efforts of breaching security yield information or money of only a single person. (Similar amount of work, much less reward. It’s just less economical.)

            On the issue of stability: it is as you suspect, like any market, the more deeply traded it is, the less volatile it is (it takes bigger movers and more correlated individual movements to significantly move the market). And we can’t forget about the moral hazard build into the existing system, and its disastrous consequences (e.G. Externalization of risk and massive losses onto taxpayers) that we have been experiencing for the past three years which I and many others expect will continue to get much worse. It also enables governments to borrow at unsustainable levels, and I suspect we’re only beginning to feel the consequences of this.

            “I expect, with enough planning and forethought a good, robust, well implemented system could theoretically be created to replace cash.” Of course this requires a centralized system of surveillance. Says Deborah Plunkett, head of the NSA’s Information Assurance Directorate, “The most sophisticated adversaries are going to go unnoticed on our networks. We have to build our systems on the assumption that adversaries will get in.”

            On the bad guys that you fear so much: They already launder all the money they want (e.G. Wachovia and the Mexican drug cartels lol), they already buy all the drugs and weapons they want, and they already supply enough drugs and weapons to satisfy society’s demand. And apparently no matter how many laws you pass, people you cage, and civil liberties you abolish. At worst Bitcoin will make this slightly cheaper. More importantly, Bitcoin brings the level of financial freedom and privacy that criminals enjoy today to everyday law abiding citizens. Just like concealed carry permits have brought the security that criminals enjoy to everyday law abiding citizens.

          • Bitcoin is not a decentralized system, since the software and system technology fundamentals are centralized and hence subject to “one hack hacks all” rules, whereas I would argue our current USD currency system is better able to slow down those with nefarious intent due to the sheer number of different systems that need to be penetrated to shut the whole thing down. Compare this with Bitcoin, where a single vulnrability in the crypto or wallet system could compromise the entire Bitcoin network. Bitcoin is not robust except on a transaction basis as many believe.

            If you are unable to build a network that can detect intruders, sophisticated or not, then you have no place being head of the NSA anything. Their are many non-software checks that can be made to identify intruders accessing networks, including processor load and electrical load signals at hardware level. If done well, I believe an electronic cash system could theoretically be created that would be a viable replacement to cash for the average, law-abiding citizen.

            I disagree with your thinking that drug lords have total carte blanche to act as they please. We do have laws, we do catch criminals. Removing those laws would not maintain the situation as is. It would make it MUCH worse and the laws do hold back much criminal activity that would otherwise cause issues for regular citizens.

            On your last point, the US has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. I’d suggest concealed carry permits and gun laws here are the cause rather than the solution to that. Take a look at European countries, low homicide rates and strict gun ownership laws. From this I’d suggest laws and regulation do work contrary to what we may wish here in the US.

            Freedom is not as great as it’s made out to be when the cost is security of person or property.

  21. Anyone can develop their own Bitcoin client software, and there are already a few alternative clients being developed, and the code is all open source, so the software is very much decentralized by any reasonable standard. Furthermore, if the underlying cryptographic standards are thwarted, the current system is toast, too, AFAIK. But only time will tell how secure the Bitcoin network is, and will become.

    On the NSA head’ statement: I’m sorry, I’m going to have to defer to her expertise over the anonymous blogger here. I get the impression that a lot of security experts share her opinion about information security.

    A good test of how effective the drug laws, etc. Are could be how easy it is for kids to get drugs. The answer is: easier than it is for them to get alcohol. Or how about the fact that drugs can’t even be kept out of prisons.

    Not to derail the thread, but gun laws only started getting relaxed in the US in the mid nineties, and there has not been a concomitant increase in gun violence. Also, there’s plenty of gun ownership in Europe. The majority of people just don’t register them.

    Fears are unjustified, and attempts to control the world that may be misunderstood have very real and destructive unintended consequences.

    • I disagree with nearly every point you’ve made. Only time will tell – Yes, but when it does it’s over for Bitcoin once the crypto is broken. If past events can be extrapolated, it will be broken within a reasonable timescale to affect Bitcoin. As the reward for breaking it goes up, it will only become more glittering for those with the knowledge to do so. And when it is broken, it will be an instant game over for Bitcoin if the hack is released, if not, every wallet in the entire Bitcoin network will be cleaned out. NSA – She’s a talking head, her workers are some of the best in the business and they agree with me on this one. Drugs – The point isn’t that they’re everywhere, it’s that it will be worse without laws stemming their flow somewhat, even if it is just a little.

      Gun laws – Disagree totally. No, the majority of Europeans don’t own unregistered guns. I lived there for a few years and got a pretty good read. They just don’t need them and don’t want them. If you’ve never visited Europe, I do suggest a trip for a perspective of trust in ones democratically elected government.

      Lastly, I would argue that last statement applies equally well to those in favor of Bitcoin as for those against.

      • We’re not trying to control anything, we’re trying to free people from control. It’s sort of like how cold is not anti-heat, it’s just the absence of heat.

        Guiding the world might be a more appropriate statement, since unlike national currencies which use legal tender laws and taxes to force you to use them, Bitcoin is purely voluntary.

        And since the whole thing relies on network effects, Bitcoin can only ever be as useful as it is popular. Seems pretty democratic to me. Far more than today’s democratic politics.

      • What those “drug law effectiveness tests” should be telling you is that demand is completely satisfied today. An increase in supply will only lower price. And if you think this lower price would result in newly created demand, then consider that it’s cheaper to get high than it is to get drunk, and that high liquor taxes/little money to drink with do almost nothing to deter drinking. Go to almost any University if you don’t believe me.

        I said a majority of gun owners don’t register their guns in Europe, not a majority of people have unregistered guns.

        Back to Bitcoin: if you’re so sure it’s security will fail, or fail to adapt, then why bother cheering on laws to attempt to squash it? Why “give an inch” to the government on this when it’s clearly unnecessary?.

  22. Nerd,

    what you write about the treats I find very possible. I say that even though I use Bitcoin rather a lot. You seem to be one of the few people prepared to admit some problems. A unashamably sensationlist way but we fall for it so we’re the fools.

    Which is why I think we have to have alternatives of a similar ilk to trade between, some stealth, others running on mesh wifi or bluetooth networks and others running on SMS and working with a assisted hawala system. Hmm… or is that another threat?
    These threats can be fixed. I’d prefer to fix them now while it’s easier.

  23. The reason why every country in the world is going to declare bitcoin illegal is hundreds of years old.

    Aristocrats, seeing their power diminish implemented the “Coin of the realm” to prevent city-states becoming more wealthy than the central monarchies.

    I believe in the end – people with stashes of coke and heroine will feel less heat than folks with bitcoins.

    Governments want their cut with every deal, and if they don’t get it ….

    • Since governments essentially exist to support society, shouldn’t we be encouraging such behaviour? That cut would pay for a few new schools or hospitals.

  24. @Nerdr
    Wow, this article displays some serious misunderstandings. Haha .. First of all, it’s called Schadenfreude. That means having joy out of someone elses damage. So just to avoid being gradual about it having written a masters thesis in German represents maybe 1/10 of my background. I am a genuine systems theorist with multidisciplinary background in math, physics, computational law/computing, electrical engineering, and another decade of study into various complex systems. Nerdr, you haven’t earned the name Nerd. Your assertions about needing to maintain proper support for government are absolutely brimming with ignorance. I mean brimming and overflowing. Gosh, there are about 40 things you aren’t getting here, and I’m sad to see it. Let’s start off with just a few.

    *The U.S. Government is actually not a government at all. Rather it is a corporation posing as a government. See the home page of http://utahrepublic.Us for a complete set of irrefutable details. Hopefully this will be the beginning of you growing up. Furthermore, their law is basically based on their money. Please note the word “Uniform Commercial Code” And it is arguable that if they aren’t governing their junk money or some other item of their creation or contracted ownership, that they have no right to govern at all.
    *Monopolies are a threat to healthy economics. That includes monopolies on currency, and monopolies on force. Ireland survived happily for 1000 years in a highly organised fashion without the need of either. Try this for raising your awareness level. http://www.Youtube.Com/watch?V=ZZi45Mf6jYY . Oh, how about considering the things complexity theorists have to say about single connection systems. See chapter 8 of Mark Buchanans “small worlds and the groundbreaking theory of networks” for an at length description of the robustness of networks in order to see clearly that the currency monopoly is in and of itself a gargantuan threat to the nations security.
    *Notice very carefully that the brain in your head does not use a pyramid processing architecture. It is a nonlocal processing system that is very effective. No president neuron necessary. Imagine that. You are a traitor to the billion year tried and tested philosophy of your own biology. Nonlocal processing that solves error by means of balance, not centralised control. And please do examine the robustness of networks issue once again to see how they self-correct. Your currency monopoly doesn’t self correct. It simply strangles as much as it possibly can without killing the host. It’s a vampire sucking the blood of all of society and excusing itself by doing a few good deeds in a very inexpensive, irresponsible manner.
    *You obviously trust the “government” because you think that they are great cause they got voted in. What a pathetic excuse for having a clue. Obviously you don’t comprehend how the lack of the negative vote option creates the two party system which robs the public of its voting power by means of monopoly. Obviously you don’t understand the problematics of single stage feedback loops with million to one gain. (like governments) You don’t understand why this U.N. Thing can’t work properly because the power gain factors are already too high. You don’t get how votes and laws are being purchased and how government is oppressing and damaging peoples lives everywhere. Money buys laws which get people more money so they can buy more laws to get them more money to buy more laws. It’s a runaway feedback loop. That’s what happens when you raise the amplification factor of a system up to the sky. 1 president:300 million people. Duuuhhhhhhh obvious flow circuit design error. Ever put a microphone in front of a loudspeaker? Get a freaking clue, turn your brain on. You don’t understand anything of meaning at all, just the pig slop that was forced down your throat since you were 5.

    • You misunderstand.

      “The U.S. Government is actually not a government at all. Rather it is a corporation posing as a government.”
      The original status of the government is irrelevant. The fact is it is now accepted by the people as their governance system. It fulfils that role, irrespective of the conditions under which it was started.

      You argue that monopolies on money and monopolies on force are a bad thing. Do you have any idea of the alternative? Do you understand the downsides of the alternative? Africa would like a chat.

      Ireland survived without those monopolies because of organised religion. Something which still divides them today.

      Throughout your work you are assuming networks are the ideal form of architecture for all things. This is an incorrect notion as any complex network specialist will tell you. A network has a common goal, human beings do not. Monopoly architectures have advantages, one of which is control. This control is key for securing financial stability for the nation.

      You say government and democratic systems are a problem, what’s your alternative? Do you see the downsides of your alternative? See how it can be used against you? What we have is the best we can ever hope to have given the technology and people available to us today.

      Separated systems for money and force are not an improvement, we had that, it doesn’t work very well. That’s why we now have our current systems. They are better, safer and more stable. And that’s the key to everything, stability. Bitcoin is not financially stable, it’s speculative, and all small, non controlled currencies lead to speculative spikes eventually.

      You have clearly read a lot of books and absorbed a lot of information on money supply. I’d suggest spending some time processing it and focusing on correlations between ideas rather than taking the information you’ve read as absolute fact.

  25. First rule of governments everywhere is that they maintain a monopoly on currency issue. This is why you can call gold a “currency” all day long but you can’t pay your taxes in it in the U.S. (to cite one of many examples).

    So it doesn’t surprise me that nerdr sees U.S. Courts/feds ramping up to reign in bitcoin. I’ve been expecting it. Frankly I am wondering why it’s taking so long. The various arguments for it mostly center on “freedom” which is jargon for freedom from taxation aka cheating the IRS and getting away with it. Good luck.

  26. I don’t think it really matters. This is like YARR except instead of cds and movies it is now currency. I don’t think this can be shutdown. It can be attacked just as Napster, Limewire, and YARR was attacked too. But it won’t stand down for long. Bitcoin is open-source. There are no patents on the software, it’s use and distribution. If you are mining bitcoins you are acting as a bitcoin server. It is almost impossible to shutdown an ISP because of what it’s users decide to host on their services. As long as you aren’t turning bitcoins into government moneies, there isn’t much to be said legally about it. Yes, those who engauge in turning bitcoin into real money and vica versa can be effect by local laws, not all local laws are the same. It would take something like SOPA to shut down Bitcoin forever. There is Litecoin, and another will take its place if they shut any of them down, just like what happened when they shutdown napster a long time ago. It didn’t stop people from torrenting cds and movies. They will need to embrace Bitcoin as much as the recording industry has successfully embraced online sharing of music and movies.

  27. Thanks for the good reading Sir, theres many valid points from both you, and your readers.

    Just a thanks for keeping the site slag free…. Mature reading for a change. :).