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1  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Protecting bitcoin from government on: June 12, 2011, 02:52:12 AM
It is not a question of legality, really.  If the Federal government and the executive branch in particular wants to do something, they just do it and make up the rules as they go.  That's why the president can enter into war without congressional approval, bailout GM and cut out the bondholders, print money, and cheerfully violate every every amendment in the Bill of Rights whenever he wants or thinks he needs to.  Same goes for Congress, the judicial branch and the states, only to a more limited extent.

They ALL pretty much do what they like and call it law, but it is really a dangerous lawlessness that threatens the end of the Republic.  I know that sounds alarmist, and maybe it is, but you can't read the news every day and come to any other conclusion other than the Federal government seems to have no meaningful limits on its power. 

What I'm saying is there is probably nothing wrong with Bitcoin under current law, nor should there be.  However, if the government and the media decide they don't like Bitcoin, they can destroy it without even bothering to pass a new law by constantly investigating people, taking down websites, freezing bank accounts, and writing scare stories.  You've seen this process happen in other contexts, like with Paypal or raves or rap music, or anything else they disapprove of.

The trick is for Bitcoin to somehow survive and come into wide use internationally before tactics like these can ruin it.  If it gets big enough, Bitcoin will take on a life of its own and move beyond their reach.  Then the nannies and statists of the world will just have to grit their teeth and live with it.
2  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Here comes trouble... on: June 06, 2011, 08:13:28 AM
Oops, sorry for the extra post, then, and thanks for the link.
3  Other / Politics & Society / Here comes trouble... on: June 06, 2011, 07:46:54 AM
Our liberty loving Senate, the world's greatest deliberative body of the most free country on the Earth (notwithstanding the 2.4 million people rotting in jail), has taken note of Silk Road.  And they don't like it one little bit.  Brace yourselves.

http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-06-senators-internet-narcotics.html
4  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Bitcoin lobby group on: June 02, 2011, 06:25:13 AM
"First, the articles in the press where rather positive. Then there was one press release in which they warned the public from using bitcoins, demanded instant ban of bitcoin transactions, supported by obviously wrong claims. This warning was picked up by the press immediately, which is kinda sad, but expected."

That's the first twitch of a negative response from the press.  The press will be much more enemy than friend to bitcoin once bitcoin becomes famous.

Now, there ARE friends in politics who see the promise Bitcoin represents, and who will support it.  Problem is, they're usually in the minority.  I would imagine the Cato institute and Reason magazine are very sympathetic.  Expect the New York Times to hate it.
5  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Protecting bitcoin from government on: June 02, 2011, 06:18:40 AM
The attack would come from many directions and it would be aimed at anything in sight.  Attacks from the EU or the American government would be aimed at first at this website and the named developers working on the project.  It would be lawsuits, investigative harassment, cease and desist orders, and probably DNS seizure to kill the website.  There would probably be a spate of nasty news stories before this happened, so there would be some warning.

At the same time, all banking connections to anything bitcoin related would cease, or become forbidden in customer policy, like Paypal banning users from trading in bitcoins using Paypal. 

There is no doubt this sort of thing would be damaging to the currency, and it could well deal a mortal blow.  Even if the currency survived, it would become an underground currency that above board businesses would not be interested in trading in.  If the currency persisted and governments still found it to be threatening, they would make it illegal to prevent legitimate businesses from trading in it.

There is another possibility the currency could catch on in places with currency controls, like China.  The Chinese government absolutely fears and detests seeing money move around freely, or hidden from government eyes.  If the currency caught on quickly in China they may not be able to stop it, but if they recognized the threat in time, I would imagine China would take more of a hacker style attack against the system, since they are known to do that sort of thing.

The stage is set for us to see some very interesting times. On one side you have most of the governments of the world, their friends in banking, their media tools and pretty much the whole privileged Establishment.  On the other, you have billions of people looking for a safe store of wealth, one that will not be eroded by inflation, one that is private, and that cannot easily be confiscated or stolen. 

It is this period, from about now to some point in the future where the critical mass is reached that permanently protects the currency that presents the greatest danger. Anything that can be done to spread out resources and avoid negative publicity should be done.

6  Other / Politics & Society / Protecting bitcoin from government on: June 02, 2011, 02:16:37 AM
I have become fascinated with Bitcoin since first reading about it a few weeks ago.  It seems to me that a successful, thriving bitcoin currency is very threatening to governments, because it reduces their power to trace transactions, confiscate money, and pay their bills in inflated currency.  Bitcoin takes power from government and puts it firmly back into the hands of the people.  It has a small, but real, chance of becoming one of the most liberating inventions since the Internet itself, and will therefore be detested by governments around the world.  If it is to survive, every effort must be taken to protect it from their attacks.

At the moment Bitcoin is like a bird flying under the radar, too small to notice or want to do anything about.  But as Bitcoin grows more successful and people actually start to use it for routine transactions, it will come under attack from all the usual enemies of liberty, and that is a very long list indeed.  The established financial networks, like Visa and Mastercard, and Paypal to an extent, will all view Bitcoin at first as an irritant, then a dangerous competitor.  They will strike at Bitcoin by denying access to Bitcoin through their networks, and by way of the government.

Western governments will also view Bitcoin as an irritant at first, then eventually as something that needs to either be co-opted or crushed.  Expect the attack to start slowly, with some news stories about heinous crimes funded through Bitcoin, then more stories talking about money laundering, drug smuggling, human trafficking...you know how it will go.  As the stories catch on, the media cheerleaders will egg on their governments to take action against Bitcoin.  And they will.

Since Bitcoin has admirably protected itself from having a central server easily seized by some law enforcement agency, they will strike at anything in easy reach.  This website and forum are prime examples of vulnerability, and losing this site would be a big blow to the currency.  If there is some clever way to distribute the site and its functions, or to deliberately make this website a LOT less important, it should be done.

The developers working on this project are geniuses, and very brave.  I expect they will be assailed on all quarters.  Remember what happened to Paypal and how it started out with such high hopes, only to be attacked and sued to the point where they had to sell the company to Ebay just to get away from all the lawsuits and investigations.  It will happen here, too. 

I can't say I find it likely Bitcoin will survive the inevitable assault, but I can hope.  The developers should consider looking for friends in politics with libertarian sympathies who can help shelter them from the coming storm.  It's going to be a big one.
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