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Author Topic: Is stealing Bitcoins illegal?  (Read 24205 times)
Rob E
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December 04, 2012, 01:18:47 PM
 #141

of course stealing is illegal charlie content is just a nutcase thief casing the situation on how to do this the guy is a criminal - simple . . Hey CHarlie You Can get a Very siMple fucking Answer. . On Your stinking rertarted question Answer yourself this: Would you want to have it happen to you. . I suggest anyone to take note of Charlie " contents" IP address . .
It might come in handy later. . hm m?
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SgtSpike
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December 04, 2012, 04:45:50 PM
 #142

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.

I like your new examples.
A) If someone steals paintings or baseball cards, they most certainly will be charged with theft!  Same with Bitcoins... it is something of value stolen, so they will be charged with theft!  I just think test answers is a bad example.
B) Fair enough, I did not realize this.
J-Norm
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December 04, 2012, 06:56:52 PM
 #143

...If someone steals paintings or baseball cards, they most certainly will be charged with theft!  Same with Bitcoins... it is something of value stolen, so they will be charged with theft...

I think the key word there is something. Painting and baseball cards are things. Is a bitcoin a thing?

I am sure it is illegal to steal them but it would probably fall under unauthorized access of a computer than theft laws.

There is no simple answer I think. To be frank it depends on where you live and even then some precedent setting case is likely to decide this rather than existing case law.

Bitcoin is really new. The only thing like it is online game money and stealing has always been part of the game rules. I know other countries have found differently but I think Canada/US lacks any real precedence.
torac
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December 04, 2012, 07:11:09 PM
 #144

It is illegal.
But it is very hard to trace bitcoins or almost impossible.
Also if you go to the police and tell them someone stole your bitcoins they don't even know what bitcoins are.

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kaerf
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December 05, 2012, 08:22:25 AM
 #145

what is stealing?

if, on the tiny chance that I generate a private that collides with someone else's key and discover there is money in "my" wallet, do i have the right to transfer that money?

i've always been curious about this...

what if my generated private key is a small number that is easily brute force-able (e.g. 1 -> 1EHNa6Q4Jz2uvNExL497mE43ikXhwF6kZm or 10000 -> 1Ahg5CRMjBNmdgF5kaEeux4ATY4qWq6Qpy)? is storing BTC in one of these addresses analogous to leaving cash on a public park bench?
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December 05, 2012, 09:15:58 AM
 #146

what is stealing?

if, on the tiny chance that I generate a private that collides with someone else's key and discover there is money in "my" wallet, do i have the right to transfer that money?

i've always been curious about this...

what if my generated private key is a small number that is easily brute force-able (e.g. 1 -> 1EHNa6Q4Jz2uvNExL497mE43ikXhwF6kZm or 10000 -> 1Ahg5CRMjBNmdgF5kaEeux4ATY4qWq6Qpy)? is storing BTC in one of these addresses analogous to leaving cash on a public park bench?


To me this is like leaving money on the street. If you find it, it has been unhomesteaded, and thus yours.
grondilu
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December 05, 2012, 09:19:01 AM
 #147

what is stealing?

if, on the tiny chance that I generate a private that collides with someone else's key and discover there is money in "my" wallet, do i have the right to transfer that money?

i've always been curious about this...

what if my generated private key is a small number that is easily brute force-able (e.g. 1 -> 1EHNa6Q4Jz2uvNExL497mE43ikXhwF6kZm or 10000 -> 1Ahg5CRMjBNmdgF5kaEeux4ATY4qWq6Qpy)? is storing BTC in one of these addresses analogous to leaving cash on a public park bench?


Assuming we can neglect RIPEMD-160 collisions, there are 2^160 ~ 10^48 possible bitcoin addresses.

As a comparaison, there are about 10^47 molecules of water on earth.

You can forget about bitcoin address collisions.
kaerf
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December 05, 2012, 06:25:28 PM
 #148


Assuming we can neglect RIPEMD-160 collisions, there are 2^160 ~ 10^48 possible bitcoin addresses.

As a comparaison, there are about 10^47 molecules of water on earth.

You can forget about bitcoin address collisions.

that was not the question/statement. however unlikely, it is still possible. i'm more interested in the philosophical side. discounting how unprobable the scenario is...is it stealing to use the BTC in a wallet if you created a new wallet and it magically had BTC in it already? i think most people would agree that if you received an unknown random transaction into your wallet, then you're free to use that BTC.
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December 05, 2012, 06:39:36 PM
 #149


To me this is like leaving money on the street. If you find it, it has been unhomesteaded, and thus yours.

Around here if you find money on the street and it is more than a certain amount you have to hold it for 90 days and advertise that you found it. Of course most people don't, but my point is in some areas finding money does not make it yours.
Rudd-O
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December 05, 2012, 07:42:24 PM
 #150


To me this is like leaving money on the street. If you find it, it has been unhomesteaded, and thus yours.

Around here if you find money on the street and it is more than a certain amount you have to hold it for 90 days and advertise that you found it. Of course most people don't, but my point is in some areas finding money does not make it yours.

I empathize with your conclusion, though it is not correct.  Yes, there exist some papers that say "You must hold found money for 90 days and yadda yadda" where you live.  That doesn't mean that money you found which was clearly lost isn't yours.  What papers say, and what is, are two different things.  If a paper said "rape is not rape when perpetrated by a certain type of costumed person" ("Arizona penal code" up until a few years ago), a rape perpetrated by that person would still be rape.

Now don't get me wrong, I do think that the decent thing to do when finding a lost object is to attempt to return it to its original owner.
J-Norm
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December 05, 2012, 07:51:24 PM
 #151

I empathize with your conclusion, though it is not correct.  Yes, there exist some papers that say "You must hold found money for 90 days and yadda yadda" where you live.  That doesn't mean that money you found which was clearly lost isn't yours.  What papers say, and what is, are two different things.  If a paper said "rape is not rape when perpetrated by a certain type of costumed person" ("Arizona penal code" up until a few years ago), a rape perpetrated by that person would still be rape.

Now don't get me wrong, I do think that the decent thing to do when finding a lost object is to attempt to return it to its original owner.

I think you lost me at some point there. Not sure what you mean by "papers".

In Canada I beleive the order of operations is: Written law, precedent, British common law.

While I don't think we have a written law that says what to do with found money the very old common law practice of advertising the find and only returning upon accurate description of the lost valuable exists and has been upheld by precedence.

I think if stolen bitcoins went before a Canadian court and existing law could not be found related to it that a common law arguement could be made that depriving anyone of any type of value is stealing and a precendent could be set. This would be enforcable in the future and even retroactively even if a written law was never created.

But I am not a lawyer and that is just my novice understanding.
SgtSpike
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December 05, 2012, 08:05:24 PM
 #152

How would a court know that you didn't just steal the private key, that you actually accidentally happened upon it?

IMO, the money is not yours, you did not work to acquire it and it was not purposefully given to you, you should not use it.  It belongs to someone else.
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December 06, 2012, 12:00:09 AM
 #153

Papers are what you call "laws".

Finding something unowned is an acceptable and ethical way to obtain property. The question is only how to determine whether something is unowned. That is not a question to be resolved by looking up opinions written on holy papers, but rather by reasoning from principle and material fact.
reyals
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December 06, 2012, 04:11:45 AM
 #154

I like your new examples.
A) If someone steals paintings or baseball cards, they most certainly will be charged with theft!  Same with Bitcoins... it is something of value stolen, so they will be charged with theft!  I just think test answers is a bad example.
B) Fair enough, I did not realize this.
paintings and baseball cards were examples were used to illustrate something that has value but is not specifically a value carrying object... like a test.
If you want better examples of bitcoin 'theft' I can make up plenty.
How about I logged into your computer and download your music collection. Not theft?  I think most can agree with that.
What if I delete them after downloading them?  Hmmm....?

B)That's always been my point.
'Stealing' bitcoins is a crime, but it's not theft.  It just seems most people don't seem to want to have a resonable discussion about the law and instead just want to keep shouting (in my best southpark imitation) 'THEY TOOK OUR JOBS BITCOINS'


Papers are what you call "laws".

Finding something unowned is an acceptable and ethical way to obtain property. The question is only how to determine whether something is unowned. That is not a question to be resolved by looking up opinions written on holy papers, but rather by reasoning from principle and material fact.
Which is why we in fact have courts and 'holy papers' as your views of reasoning and principle is likely to be quite removed from that of most peoples.
Jutarul
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December 06, 2012, 04:44:58 AM
 #155

This thread was concluded a while ago:
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=117551.msg1344538#msg1344538

Because bitcoins are not physical objects, they cannot really be stolen. However, there can be unauthorized access. Also by destroying access to the bitcoins of the original person, you are committing a form vandalism.

However, people should be excused for this misunderstanding. "Stealing" is the misleading term with which the media talks about these crimes:
http://www.dfi.wa.gov/consumers/alerts/creditcard.htm

There's no way somebody can actually steal my credit card number. Is there?
The more correct terminology would be "compromised".

How about I logged into your computer and download your music collection. Not theft?  I think most can agree with that.
What if I delete them after downloading them?  Hmmm....?
vandalism...

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J-Norm
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December 06, 2012, 05:24:29 PM
 #156

Papers are what you call "laws".

Finding something unowned is an acceptable and ethical way to obtain property. The question is only how to determine whether something is unowned. That is not a question to be resolved by looking up opinions written on holy papers, but rather by reasoning from principle and material fact.

That is sort of how our common law/precedence system works. Even if a law is not written a judge can refer to common law or precedence and in the lack of either can set precedence based on "common sense". This is of course made moot if an actual law is drafted to cover the issue.

So even if stealing bitcoin is not against the law as it stands, it can still be found to be illegal in court.
jl2035
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December 06, 2012, 10:58:59 PM
 #157

The problem is that "common sense" is different for different people.. I think there are not many judges that give a s**** about bitcoins.. Smiley

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December 06, 2012, 11:12:29 PM
 #158

The problem is that "common sense" is different for different people.. I think there are not many judges that give a s**** about bitcoins.. Smiley
They may not give a s*** about your baseball card collection either, but that doesn't mean it's valueless if someone steals it.
Monster Tent
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December 06, 2012, 11:13:59 PM
 #159

It's illegal. Scamming and stealing and hacking are all illegal. And if courts are stupid we explain the bitcoin.
They realise it has a large real world value. No law references the virtual currencies. But under the general 4 laws of society.
No stealing
No murder.
No terrorism.
No scamming.

How come the government can do all of those ?

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December 07, 2012, 06:36:11 PM
 #160

It's illegal. Scamming and stealing and hacking are all illegal. And if courts are stupid we explain the bitcoin.
They realise it has a large real world value. No law references the virtual currencies. But under the general 4 laws of society.
No stealing
No murder.
No terrorism.
No scamming.

How come the government can do all of those ?

Because, you see, when they do it, they call these actions by different names, and write themselves permission to do these things in Holy Papers.  That totally makes it "okay" when they murder, pillage, extort, terrorize, kidnap and brutalize people.
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