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Author Topic: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?  (Read 24205 times)
Rudd-O
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November 26, 2012, 10:07:29 PM
 #121

It might be illegal but theres nothing you can do if someone takes your coins. If the only excuse to have a state is to enforce property law what point is the state if that is impossible ?

Illegality is a moot point without enforceability and if people know they can get away with something it will brinng out the worst in humanity.



Could you expand on the idea that "theres nothing you can do if someone takes your coins"? What if somebody takes your cash, wouldn't you expect the state to make them give it back? Or if somebody takes off with your car? How is bitcoin any different?

Anyone who has ever been burgled will tell you about waiting 6 hours for the cops to show. The only time I ever got my money back was having contents insurance, not from the state. Now think about how they are going to find some random hacker in russia who steals your coins.
Now if you can have your bitcoins insured then and only then do you stand a chance.

If you get mugged on the street there is a possibility a camera saw it happen and that the thief is a local. Tell me exactly how the state can do fucking anything at all about stolen bitcoins ?

If the only excuse for the state to exist is the protection of property what is the excuse in a world where that is impossible ?

Take the State to the backyard and shoot it in the back of the head.  That is what Bitcoin already did.
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SgtSpike
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November 26, 2012, 10:17:09 PM
 #122

I completely disagree.  I own the bitcoins in my wallet just as much as I own my plot of land according to county records or the dollars in my bank account according to my bank.  It doesn't matter that the blockchain is made public.  If someone stole my password to my bank account, they might have access to my funds, but that doesn't give them a right to my funds.  Neither would the theft of my private keys give them a right to my bitcoins.
You can disagree, of course, but in both your examples (land ownership and bank account) there is a third party keeping independent records about who is the rightful owner. There is no third party in bitcoin, If you have the private key you have the bitcoin. This is why in bitcoin the private key IS the right!
If the rightful owner can be proven, however, then there would be a case against the one who has stolen the funds.  Rightful ownership could potentially be proven by showing a transaction with another person.  For example, if I sold a laptop to someone, and they sent the funds to 18tkn, then I could prove that those funds sent to 18tkn do indeed belong to me.

I guess the argument you are attempting to make is that a court couldn't determine who stole from who, or who originally owned the private key.  I'd say that some sort of "first use" doctrine could become a standard for that sort of determination.  If I can prove that I used a particular address before someone else, then I am the proven owner of that address.


It might be illegal but theres nothing you can do if someone takes your coins. If the only excuse to have a state is to enforce property law what point is the state if that is impossible ?

Illegality is a moot point without enforceability and if people know they can get away with something it will brinng out the worst in humanity.
What are you talking about?  The court could order them to pay me, and that's that.  If he refuses, and his wallet is password protected or otherwise inaccessible to others, then he stays in jail until he changes his mind.

The argument might be true that you cannot force a person to send Bitcoins back to their rightful owner if they have a strong password on their wallet, but you can certainly "encourage" a person to do so, and that's a far cry from "there's nothing you can do".

It is easy to leave no trace when stealing bitcoins, there will be no one for court to prosecute. Of course you can sacrifice liberty and make every transaction traceable to a person, but the side effects of the cure will be worst then the disease.
Again, that is a far cry from "there's nothing you can do".  It's like saying there's nothing a store owner can do when someone steals cash from their store.  Well, sure, they have a lot they can do.  They can look at the evidence (fingerprints, security camera footage, etc), potentially find the perpetrator, and prosecute them.  Same thing if someone steals your Bitcoins - look at the evidence, find the perp, and prosecute.

If the perp is good at covering their tracks (which most are), THEN there's nothing you can really do, but saying there's nothing you can do as a catch-all to all Bitcoin thefts is plain wrong.
Lurk
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November 26, 2012, 11:43:08 PM
 #123

Do any of you actually think a government is going to make laws to protect bitcoin users?

Many people use it to launder money, sell drugs and support terrorists. Anonymously.

Bitcoin is the governments worst nightmare.

I had the understanding that bitcoin was an underground currency void of big bank and government regulations.

If you want rules and laws stick to paypal.

The only laws that will be put in place for bitcoin will be punishment laws not protection laws.

I'm sure the laws will fall under homeland security or anti-terrorist laws.

As far as theft, how would you value the bitcoins?  Tell the judge that mt.gox says they are worth $12 a piece? Who is mt.gox really?

The beauty of bitcoin is that it is unregulated and not bound by laws.

It may not be morally right to steal bitcoins but if you think laws will be made to favor bitcoin users you are sadly mistaken.

just my opinion...i have no facts.
reyals
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November 27, 2012, 02:53:21 AM
 #124

If the only excuse for the state to exist is the protection of property what is the excuse in a world where that is impossible ?
If you think the only reason the state exists is the protecting of property you're doing it wrong.

Do any of you actually think a government is going to make laws to protect bitcoin users?

Many people use it to launder money, sell drugs and support terrorists. Anonymously.

Bitcoin is the governments worst nightmare.

I had the understanding that bitcoin was an underground currency void of big bank and government regulations.

If you want rules and laws stick to paypal.

The only laws that will be put in place for bitcoin will be punishment laws not protection laws.

I'm sure the laws will fall under homeland security or anti-terrorist laws.

As far as theft, how would you value the bitcoins?  Tell the judge that mt.gox says they are worth $12 a piece? Who is mt.gox really?

The beauty of bitcoin is that it is unregulated and not bound by laws.

It may not be morally right to steal bitcoins but if you think laws will be made to favor bitcoin users you are sadly mistaken.

just my opinion...i have no facts.
Of course there are laws to protect bitcoins.  Just not theft laws. Wink
And determining value would be the least of the problems in establishing a case.
I steal baseball cards worth 12 dollars a piece?  Who says; sportscards.com?  Who is sportscards.com really.
The court system isn't dumb if you put your uncle buck on who says he would have paid a million dollars for your bitcoins they aren't going to accept that.
But mtgox.com moves like 500,000 dollars a day....  that's more then enough to establish a base value for stolen bitcoins.

And of course bitcoin is bound by laws....  Just ask the IRS if you think differently; I'm sure they'd be willing to give you an offical opinion if you really want one.
defxor
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November 27, 2012, 09:42:43 AM
 #125

Of course there are laws to protect bitcoins.  Just not theft laws. Wink

Repeating a falsehood does not make it true. Not even if you repeat it additional times. It just looks silly.


reyals
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November 27, 2012, 09:56:50 AM
 #126

Of course there are laws to protect bitcoins.  Just not theft laws. Wink

Repeating a falsehood does not make it true. Not even if you repeat it additional times. It just looks silly.
Why is it required of me to prove that something doesn't exist?
I have provided several examples of why such laws would be difficult to implement under existing statues.
But your camp has provided no laws that would protect digital items nor has it been able to point to a single case of prosecution of such a type of theft.
As far as I'm concerned the ball is squarely in your court.  'Show me the precedent'
Rudd-O
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November 27, 2012, 05:33:31 PM
 #127

In the matter of "what do the magical.papers say about theft and bitcoin", precedent is not necessary to prove that stealing bitcoin is forbidden by the magical papers -- showing a statute will do. Someone already showed a statute pertinent to the matter so I consider this case proven and closed.
reyals
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November 27, 2012, 06:25:35 PM
 #128

In the matter of "what do the magical.papers say about theft and bitcoin", precedent is not necessary to prove that stealing bitcoin is forbidden by the magical papers -- showing a statute will do. Someone already showed a statute pertinent to the matter so I consider this case proven and closed.

Really?  Who?  I've provide the only statue that might cover it; New Jersey's definition that includes information, data... but there have been no court rulings on what that means.
I mean if I look at your test in school technically I've stolen your answers... IE your information or data.  Do we really want that to be handled as theft?  So I'd want to see some rulings before one can really point to New Jersey and say 'AH HA!' and really that still leaves quite a few other states which don't have such specific protections in their laws.
SgtSpike
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November 27, 2012, 07:05:13 PM
 #129

In the matter of "what do the magical.papers say about theft and bitcoin", precedent is not necessary to prove that stealing bitcoin is forbidden by the magical papers -- showing a statute will do. Someone already showed a statute pertinent to the matter so I consider this case proven and closed.

Really?  Who?  I've provide the only statue that might cover it; New Jersey's definition that includes information, data... but there have been no court rulings on what that means.
I mean if I look at your test in school technically I've stolen your answers... IE your information or data.  Do we really want that to be handled as theft?  So I'd want to see some rulings before one can really point to New Jersey and say 'AH HA!' and really that still leaves quite a few other states which don't have such specific protections in their laws.
Test scores don't have value, and it doesn't cost the person anything if you look.  That's a bad example compared to Bitcoin, which does have value and does cost the person something if you steal.
Lurk
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November 27, 2012, 07:36:06 PM
 #130

Sure the test answers have value.

If there was a buyer for the answers it would give them value.

The only thing that gives bitcoin value is the fact that someone wants to buy them.
reyals
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November 27, 2012, 08:10:44 PM
 #131

In the matter of "what do the magical.papers say about theft and bitcoin", precedent is not necessary to prove that stealing bitcoin is forbidden by the magical papers -- showing a statute will do. Someone already showed a statute pertinent to the matter so I consider this case proven and closed.

Really?  Who?  I've provide the only statue that might cover it; New Jersey's definition that includes information, data... but there have been no court rulings on what that means.
I mean if I look at your test in school technically I've stolen your answers... IE your information or data.  Do we really want that to be handled as theft?  So I'd want to see some rulings before one can really point to New Jersey and say 'AH HA!' and really that still leaves quite a few other states which don't have such specific protections in their laws.
Test scores don't have value, and it doesn't cost the person anything if you look.  That's a bad example compared to Bitcoin, which does have value and does cost the person something if you steal.
A)Tests do have a value.  5 seconds of google finds a story of people paying 1500-2500 to cheat at the SAT.
B)It's not a perfect example but I was just trying to illustrate the dangerous of 'theft of information'
How about if you change the names on their test?  Now you've both deprived them of their test and taken something of value.  Happy?
(Not sure how that would be prosecuted though...  Probably fraud)
becoin
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November 27, 2012, 09:46:11 PM
 #132

You're absolutely correct, of course. That's why no one has ever been convicted of stealing cash.
Bitcoin is quite different from fiat cash. I hope nobody would argue this.

You might not be aware of but every time you use fiat cash either buying or selling stuff, you're actually entering into contractual obligation with the issuer of that currency (i.e., the central bank and government behind). The "serve and protect (rightful owner)" mantra is part of this contract.

If I'm using bitcoins, who is the issuer I'm entering into contractual obligation with?
J-Norm
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November 30, 2012, 09:04:52 PM
 #133

Quote
Breaking a contract may not be a crime, but you can still certainly be sued for it.

No you cannot. All contracts have to made in the legal tender of the land to be recognised by the court of the land. If you cannot pay your taxes in it, it's not legal tender.

There are plenty of contracts that do not involve money at all.
Rudd-O
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November 30, 2012, 09:16:29 PM
 #134

Quote
Breaking a contract may not be a crime, but you can still certainly be sued for it.

No you cannot. All contracts have to made in the legal tender of the land to be recognised by the court of the land. If you cannot pay your taxes in it, it's not legal tender.

There are plenty of contracts that do not involve money at all.

Agreed.  "Legal tender" is a red herring.  Contracts -- defensible in courts oflaw -- may be entered into by any two or more people regarding promises of performance that do not need legal tender.

I don't know where these armchair lawyers appear, but they sure as fuck have no idea what the contents of their holy pieces of paper actually say.
J-Norm
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November 30, 2012, 11:57:01 PM
 #135

Test scores don't have value, and it doesn't cost the person anything if you look.  That's a bad example compared to Bitcoin, which does have value and does cost the person something if you steal.

Test scores certainly have value if you are trying to get certified for something. And if the class is graded on a curve then you are costing the person you steal from.
chrisrico
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December 01, 2012, 12:56:06 AM
 #136

Theft deprives someone use of the thing. Copying test scores or an mp3 file doesn't deprive the rightful owner use of it, thus, it is not theft. Spending someone else's bitcoins does deprive them use of it, thus it is theft.
reyals
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December 01, 2012, 08:12:14 AM
 #137

Quote
Breaking a contract may not be a crime, but you can still certainly be sued for it.

No you cannot. All contracts have to made in the legal tender of the land to be recognised by the court of the land. If you cannot pay your taxes in it, it's not legal tender.

There are plenty of contracts that do not involve money at all.

Agreed.  "Legal tender" is a red herring.  Contracts -- defensible in courts oflaw -- may be entered into by any two or more people regarding promises of performance that do not need legal tender.

I don't know where these armchair lawyers appear, but they sure as fuck have no idea what the contents of their holy pieces of paper actually say.
Thank you two for bring up something posted over a month ago by someone that already admitted he's wrong.
I don't know where these armchair commenters appear, but they sure as fuck have no idea what the contents of this thread actually says.


Theft deprives someone use of the thing. Copying test scores or an mp3 file doesn't deprive the rightful owner use of it, thus, it is not theft. Spending someone else's bitcoins does deprive them use of it, thus it is theft.
You should try reading as well
....
A)Tests do have a value.  5 seconds of google finds a story of people paying 1500-2500 to cheat at the SAT.
B)It's not a perfect example but I was just trying to illustrate the dangerous of 'theft of information'
How about if you change the names on their test?  Now you've both deprived them of their test and taken something of value.  Happy?
(Not sure how that would be prosecuted though...  Probably fraud)
J-Norm
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December 02, 2012, 08:05:09 AM
 #138

Excuse me for having an opinion despite not passing the bar exam. Tell me, does being pompous come naturally to you or did you take lessons?


Probably as naturally as being a nutty does to you....

I agree. Being nutty comes very natural to me.
SgtSpike
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December 04, 2012, 12:20:48 AM
 #139

In the matter of "what do the magical.papers say about theft and bitcoin", precedent is not necessary to prove that stealing bitcoin is forbidden by the magical papers -- showing a statute will do. Someone already showed a statute pertinent to the matter so I consider this case proven and closed.

Really?  Who?  I've provide the only statue that might cover it; New Jersey's definition that includes information, data... but there have been no court rulings on what that means.
I mean if I look at your test in school technically I've stolen your answers... IE your information or data.  Do we really want that to be handled as theft?  So I'd want to see some rulings before one can really point to New Jersey and say 'AH HA!' and really that still leaves quite a few other states which don't have such specific protections in their laws.
Test scores don't have value, and it doesn't cost the person anything if you look.  That's a bad example compared to Bitcoin, which does have value and does cost the person something if you steal.
A)Tests do have a value.  5 seconds of google finds a story of people paying 1500-2500 to cheat at the SAT.
B)It's not a perfect example but I was just trying to illustrate the dangerous of 'theft of information'
How about if you change the names on their test?  Now you've both deprived them of their test and taken something of value.  Happy?
(Not sure how that would be prosecuted though...  Probably fraud)
A) Test answers have value, sure.  But that isn't their normal usage, whereas the normal usage for Bitcoin is as a vehicle of value.  When someone thinks of test answers, they don't think of a way to make monetary transactions with other people.
B) If someone changed the name at the top of my test, and I wasn't able to set the record straight with the professor, I'd sue whoever changed it for everything I could.  I'd sue someone who stole my Bitcoins too.  So, what's your point?
reyals
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December 04, 2012, 04:10:00 AM
 #140

Rudd-O is the nutty one.

Congratulations!  With that gratuitous insult, you've earned yourself a speedy trip to my ignore list.

I recommend everyone else ignore reyals too (ignore link below his nickname).  Men who initiate insults do so because they can't reason.  Men who can't reason aren't worth your time.

Oh no I won't get to hear responses about magic paper, men in blue costumes, and the Byzantine council
However will I go on.  And yet... I'm the one who can't reason???

A) Test answers have value, sure.  But that isn't their normal usage, whereas the normal usage for Bitcoin is as a vehicle of value.  When someone thinks of test answers, they don't think of a way to make monetary transactions with other people.
B) If someone changed the name at the top of my test, and I wasn't able to set the record straight with the professor, I'd sue whoever changed it for everything I could.  I'd sue someone who stole my Bitcoins too.  So, what's your point?
What does normal usage have to do with anything?
A)Paintings normal usage is to be looked at... does that some how negate their value?Huh Baseball cards... ETC
B)Because a lawsuit != being charged with theft.  Which is the point I've been making since the start.
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