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121  Economy / Trading Discussion / Re: selling drugs and money laundering: the potential downfall of bitcoin on: April 06, 2011, 02:46:07 PM
Food for thought:
How do we know this is not the exact intent of Bitcoin.  The questions are: Who is the target and who is the creator?

Satoshi was the creator. The world was the target.

I think food for thought is better served by the question, "when will the government co-opt bitcoin and start running the majority of the servers to keep better track of it?"

Markets like Silk Road cannot exist without law abiding Bitcoin users. Without them, there's no cover and exchangers would be accessories. Just an observation.

Not necessarily. If it's good enough for the world at large to use, it's definitely good enough for the underground black economy to use. The black market is outrageously complex, extremely concerned with security and trust issues, ever-changing, highly competitive and regulated by simple supply and demand market conditions bankers can only fervently dream of. Silk road is just the tiniest exposed sliver of the worldwide drug market and there are still plenty of btc/btc opportunities to be found.

I think it's quite likely if for some reason it doesn't take off with the majority of the public it will still be used by the black market.

Money exchangers will be happy to play along - right hand on the table doodling in the ledger book, left hand under the table making trades. As it once was so shall it always be.

122  Bitcoin / Project Development / Re: Idea for the killer bitcoin app on: April 05, 2011, 04:13:10 PM
But won't the possibility of anything going viral still be stunted by the sheer difficulty of the average person obtaining bitcoins at this point in time?

Not if the default tip was some truly significant amount, like 1btc. Then someone who gets six tips on a tweet could still tip .5btc to a dozen people and not feel like a cheap bastard. Eventually they'll run into someone who is oldschool with bitcoin and that person will be more likely to stick with the 1btc default, process begins anew.

I feel if this takes off 1mBTC will be the threshold of sarcasm. It's the equivalent of tossing a busker a handful of pennies, might as well not do it at all unless you mean to be insulting.

Good idea jed. Really good idea.

Edit: also 1btc is maybe the lower limit of meaning for new users. And if it's not worth US$0.65 is it worth the spam factor? You don't want to be seen as spammers, that's for sure.
123  Economy / Trading Discussion / Re: selling drugs and money laundering: the potential downfall of bitcoin on: April 05, 2011, 03:42:30 PM
Hi everyone, first post, just one of the many recent interested folks that have been lurking these forums. Really interesting community,  please don't dismiss this as a troll post because I totally believe in what you're doing and appreciate all the work you've put in. I'm not normally this aggro but someone's got to stand up for reason:)

This silk road thing is quite the debate around here.

Y'all need to get over it. From the discussions I've seen on the chans, slashdot, reddit and other public forums you're basically considered to be a collection of ultra-libertarian weirdos so ensconced in your own software-driven utopian scenarios that you're about as far removed from the prevailing public narrative as transhumanists and furries are. As in, nobody gives a toss about what you're doing even if they understand it, which the few who have heard of it probably don't. I'm not saying people are stupid (also apparently a forum paradigm that should be the subject of another rant) but bitcoin is obscure, requires more than a little bit of reading to understand and isn't the place to learn about what's going on. Silk Road and other drug vendors in onionland are the place.

Drug markets give people an incentive to learn about this stuff. Legit e-merchants buy drugs too, more than a few will be swayed by the experience into adopting bitcoin.
The TOTAL bitcoin market is so small nobody in the government with the authority to do so is going to buy up all your coins - Silk Road has fewer than 1,000 members and a couple dozen vendors. At this point the DEA agent who proposes this at opsec is going to be laughed out of the room.

"We're not spending $5,000,000 to buy bunch of imaginary internet money to prevent people from buying cannabis, adderall and unscheduled chemical compounds. We're transferring you to the Mexico office instead."

Also, they may well be sinister operators but the government isn't stupid. If they did this buyout today (or another more sophisticated attack on the network) they'd have to go all black-ops and that's complicated. They can't even keep their black-hood torture centers secret. If they start publicly attacking bitcoin in any serious way you're going to see the entire internet jump up for your defense, and if the government wants it speculators of all kinds will want it too.

Take heart. I realize Tor is a different animal because it's had the strong support of the US government from it's inception, but look at the strength of the network now. The entire domain of hidden services is pretty much devoted to the most reviled forms of pornography and yet they're still there and stronger than ever. They're fighting a much more intense battle with public opinion than you ever will - if this thing survives it'll be because people can actually use it for their legit online dealings, not because parts of the early-adopter community were shunned. If anything the government will eventually find a use for bitcoin that, like Tor, undermines foreign governments that threaten their economic strength. What form this will take may never be known (I mean, what are all those Tor exit nodes in Virginia for? We'll probably never know) but it's assured that when Bitcoin markets start popping up in China and Pakistan a good chunk of their trade will be funneling money to low-level people who aren't worth the time for the secure parallel banking channels spooks use.

Someone bought this, after all:

Ok, /rant.

All that said, I think it's really good that there's a discussion of what should tolerated and what the banhammer should come down on in here. If anything a few folks who are curious about this sketchy bitcoin thing are going to come here, see these discussions and make up their own minds about consequences of being associated with this community, and I think it's easy for the average user to react favorably to soul-searching like this.

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