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Author Topic: Should we be trying harder to stop the BTC black market?  (Read 14440 times)
BlackHeartFund
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October 12, 2012, 07:04:53 PM
 #1

Okay, so we all know about the silk road selling illegal drugs... most know that they used to sell illegal firearms as well. One would assume other sites have taken over that trade. I don't know a ton about the tor network, but I'm sure we have all heard rumours about everything from child pornography to human slavery to hired assassins.

I think most of us probably agree that if possible, we would turn in anyone doing any of the last four things I mentioned (2nd amendment absolutists perhaps only the final three). Since BTC is a decentralized currency, there is no big brother watching over it... so it seems to me we need some sort of community self-governance to prevent the worst criminals from taking advantage of the system. I don't have any solutions at the moment, I'm wondering if this has been discussed in great detail or attempted? Do we have a system to at least attempt to trace where the profits of the most egregious offenders are going, and attempt to catch them when they try to spend it or exchange it for fiat?

Is it the responsibility of bitcoin business owners and investors to help governments catch those doing real crimes? I think so. Or is the BTC community so wary of governments that they would avoid helping them even to catch bad people?

The case of the Silk Road is quite unique. Now that they are not selling firearms, most libertarian minded people probably don't think that the Silk Road is that bad of a thing. I think drugs should be legal and regulated. I just don't think that having BTC used as the default currency of the international illegal drug trade will help legal bitcoin businesses in the long run. Or will it? The same designation doesn't seem to have hurt the USD over the years, but obviously apples and oranges.

People are also worried that losing the black markets will cause such a drop in usage it will kill the BTC/USD exchange rate... so be it. Certainly a market correction will occur if bitcoin stops being using in the gutter, but the rate will skyrocket as our little cryptocurreny becomes widely accepted. Let litecoin have the silk road... I want the Apple store, local fishermen, and the Taj Mahal

What do you think? Should bitcoin financial institutions make a more concerted effort to restrict the funds from crime, and report to authorities? Or would that just cause one huge clusterfuck with all the, let's say, not perfectly organized BTC operators that seem to come and go?

I've spoken with three major Canadian law firms recently about creating a regulated BTC based securities exchange and financial services company, and the main concern, far above the SEC, has been that governments will act in the near future to damage bitcoin due specifically to the publicity of the silk road. Specifically the center-right, strongly anti-drug administrations currently in the US and Canada. They will say they are going after human trafficking but will spend all their resources on potheads.

My real question is, can we do anything as a community to crack down on the real criminals using bitcoins, or are we going to wait and see how and when governments do it for us?
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AngryCatfish
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October 12, 2012, 07:14:36 PM
 #2

I don't think the "community" should do anything, if individuals want to take action to help or hinder, that's on them, not "everyone". If someone want's to start a group that accepts donations to help the government in various ways, that's ok too, just so long as it's understood it's not the community as a whole approving or disapproving anything.
hazek
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October 12, 2012, 07:36:57 PM
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I don't presume that I own other people, their body and the fruits of their labor in order for me to have the ability to tell them what they can or cannot die, as long as they aren't doing harm to me or my property.

My personality type: INTJ - please forgive my weaknesses (Not naturally in tune with others feelings; may be insensitive at times, tend to respond to conflict with logic and reason, tend to believe I'm always right)

If however you enjoyed my post: 15j781DjuJeVsZgYbDVt2NZsGrWKRWFHpp
acoindr
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October 12, 2012, 08:14:51 PM
 #4

The real crime is when governments make it illegal for two people to engage in voluntary trade. As long as they aren't hurting anyone else with their business, there is nothing wrong with what they are doing.

+1000
BlackHeartFund
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October 12, 2012, 08:16:16 PM
 #5

The real crime is when governments make it illegal for two people to engage in voluntary trade. As long as they aren't hurting anyone else with their business, there is nothing wrong with what they are doing.  

Neither do I, but those are certainly the scare monger tactics we are already hearing. I wouldn't call the cops if I saw someone buying drugs on the street... the question is, when large drug dealers are running huge amounts of illegal money through my exchange, do I turn a blind eye?

Would finding out that an exchange you use does a ton of business with silk road dealers make you less likely to use them? Should we be asking these questions of the exchanges, online wallets, etc that we use? If the US government considers a big exchange to be laundering money to drug dealers, or some cartel... they'd better be hosted in outer space.

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Obviously some of the examples you gave involve people hurting others, but I've not seen any evidence that those things are being done with Bitcoin.

Have you looked? The tor network is known to have child pornography, illegal gun sales, and (alleged) hitmen at least. Of course they are using bitcoin too, it's self evident.
BlackHeartFund
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October 12, 2012, 08:23:46 PM
 #6

I don't think the "community" should do anything, if individuals want to take action to help or hinder, that's on them, not "everyone". If someone want's to start a group that accepts donations to help the government in various ways, that's ok too, just so long as it's understood it's not the community as a whole approving or disapproving anything.


Good call. I didn't mean to say everyone in bitcoin, but primarily the financial services companies, some of whom certainly exchange fiat currencies with people who received the BTC as the proceeds as crime. Some government somewhere may have a case that the exchange was the one actually paying the criminals.

A non profit that track down addresses from extremely serious crimes and reports them to the exchanges is an interesting idea... but it would have to be a big group, four people can't have the power to decided who is a criminal.

I know I could go read the terms and conditions of every BTC financial service company, but if every online company lived up to their TOS... well... something.
evoorhees
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October 12, 2012, 08:33:41 PM
 #7

Most of what comprises the "Black Market" is actually activity that is not immoral - purchases of drugs, guns, money laundering, etc. These are not immoral acts, and thus nobody here should try use force to prevent them from happening.

Now, for those acts also part of the Black Market which ARE immoral (human trafficking being the obvious one), it'd be great if anyone in this community can help to stifle them.
DeathAndTaxes
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October 12, 2012, 08:39:48 PM
 #8

If governments can't stop/impede blackmarkets what do you think a bunch of forum nerds will do? Smiley  It is counterproductive and a waste of time.

Now if I run a cross some evidence of child pornography I am going to report it to the authorities.  I will report it if it involves Bitcoins, or USD, or Yap Stones.  It isn't my job to actively try and find it though.  If I wanted to do that I would have joined law enforcement.
BlackHeartFund
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October 12, 2012, 08:47:35 PM
 #9

I'm not trying to discuss the morality of anything. I think all drugs should be legal. I certainly DON'T think automatic weapons should be sold in an totally anonymous, unregulated market. That's just me. I respect other opinions, there are certainly grey areas in everything. Those issues can only be changed at the moment via our governments, I completely agree that they are not for us to judge.

Keep in mind that I'm not advocating anything, I am simply attempting to start a conversation, primarily to inform myself. I am not trying to, and don't want to shut down the silk road. I'm saying that it is going to happen eventually, the only question at this point is which BTC business go down with it.

If we don't have any kind of mechanism for preventing serious criminals (human traffickers etc) from using BTC to launder money, we are giving the banker controlled politicians an excuse to go after bitcoin.
BlackHeartFund
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October 12, 2012, 08:56:15 PM
 #10

If governments can't stop/impede blackmarkets what do you think a bunch of forum nerds will do? Smiley  It is counterproductive and a waste of time.

Now if I run a cross some evidence of child pornography I am going to report it to the authorities.  I will report it if it involves Bitcoins, or USD, or Yap Stones.  It isn't my job to actively try and find it though.  If I wanted to do that I would have joined law enforcement.

lol well you got me there, that's totally true.

I'm not trying to suggest we band together to rid the internets of crime. Just something to show governments and potential regulators that we are not encouraging outright crime, and have some system for reporting blatant illegality. Not to mention, the T word. Once those FBI agents and/or politicians find a jihad site with a bitcoin address... let's just say I wouldn't want to own the exchange that sent them a wire transfer.

Quote
Now, for those acts also part of the Black Market which ARE immoral (human trafficking being the obvious one), it'd be great if anyone in this community can help to stifle them.

That's the key. I apologize if this has been discussed to death already and we have all just given up!
BlackHeartFund
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October 12, 2012, 09:02:34 PM
 #11

A non profit that track down addresses from extremely serious crimes and reports them to the exchanges is an interesting idea... but it would have to be a big group, four people can't have the power to decided who is a criminal.

No, it's not interesting at all. In fact it's a terrible idea. There are several threads explaining why taint / blacklists are a terrible idea.


You're right, and I do agree with those arguments. I don't know what the answer is... I'm asking if anyone else has any ideas or plans.
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October 12, 2012, 09:11:24 PM
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I certainly DON'T think automatic weapons should be sold in an totally anonymous, unregulated market. That's just me. I respect other opinions, there are certainly grey areas in everything.
I don't understand how this statement can avoid being a contradiction.

If you think other people (that do not share your opinion) should be prohibited from buying and selling automatic weapons in an unregulated market how can this be construed as "respecting other opinions"?

Restricting the actions of other people is by definition not respecting their opinion, because you want to take action based on your opinion while simultaneously preventing them from doing the same.
MysteryMiner
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October 12, 2012, 09:16:44 PM
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Black market abandoning Bitcoin will be the end of Bitcoin. OP is a moralfag. Bitcoin is disruptive and it must be such, for your legal needs use paypal and wire transfer that comes with 24/7 noob support.

1LEaxxAh1LKFUvDKYVhiMEVAHRM7K5o7cF
bitarrow
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October 12, 2012, 09:26:29 PM
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the only thing exchanges should do is comply with the laws(to keep them from getting shut down.) If law enforcement wants info from address KNOWN to be SR then they should cooperate like any other business. Also assuming there are legal warrants to do so. But trying to take charge on their own and stop it is just absurd to be honest.
BlackHeartFund
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October 12, 2012, 09:39:29 PM
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I certainly DON'T think automatic weapons should be sold in an totally anonymous, unregulated market. That's just me. I respect other opinions, there are certainly grey areas in everything.
I don't understand how this statement can avoid being a contradiction.

If you think other people (that do not share your opinion) should be prohibited from buying and selling automatic weapons in an unregulated market how can this be construed as "respecting other opinions"?

Restricting the actions of other people is by definition not respecting their opinion, because you want to take action based on your opinion while simultaneously preventing them from doing the same.


lol buying an automatic weapon is not an opinion, it's an action that is illegal in every country outside the middle east and Africa.

I respect your opinion that you think you should be able to have an AK47, but I think that's crazy and support laws regulating guns. That's why we have society. It has nothing to do with bitcoins or monetary policy.

BlackHeartFund
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October 12, 2012, 09:40:51 PM
 #16

A non profit that track down addresses from extremely serious crimes and reports them to the exchanges is an interesting idea... but it would have to be a big group, four people can't have the power to decided who is a criminal.

No, it's not interesting at all. In fact it's a terrible idea. There are several threads explaining why taint / blacklists are a terrible idea.


You're right, and I do agree with those arguments. I don't know what the answer is... I'm asking if anyone else has any ideas or plans.

I think most decent folks will simply act according to their morality. If I see or know of anyone hurting someone and trying to profit from it, I will certainly do what I can to stop it and prevent it from happening again in the future, regardless of the tools they employ in the process.


That's you in a personal situation. I'm talking about us a group of business owners who are invested in the success of BTC.
SätöshiTable
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October 12, 2012, 09:42:02 PM
 #17

its the wild west like internet was in the beginning... it will all settle...

blackmarket will be there, if not in BTC it will be in LR or other digital money

play a game of  SATOSHI TABLE (http://satoshitable.com)   - gain SEO and Bitcoin!
commonancestor
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October 12, 2012, 09:46:00 PM
 #18

This is a question about anonymity and anonymity is a two-bladed weapon. If you do bad things, it makes hard for good people to punish you. If you do good things, it makes hard for bad people to punish you. Considering the nature of bitcoins, the bitcoin community chose to support anonymity.

But yes, of course, if you are a financial service provider, and are lucky to identify some bad guys laundering money through you, then it would be good to stop them.

I'm not sure if the community itself is now prepared to act like a police, or even a state. Maybe I would suggest people to take a vote about how they feel about various misbehaviours: I don't mind / I will report / I will fight. Maybe there would emerge something.
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October 12, 2012, 09:46:37 PM
 #19

I respect your opinion that you think you should be able to have an AK47, but I think that's crazy and support laws regulating guns.
My post had nothing at all to do with whether anyone should or should not be able to have an AK47 but rather whether or not you can recognize a logical contradiction when it's been pointed out.
BlackHeartFund
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October 12, 2012, 09:48:13 PM
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Imho the morality is the whole issue. I share the opinion of the other posters on the things which are simply a question of criminality and not causing direct harm to anyone but when it comes to issues like child porn my blood starts to boil.

That kind of thing has been actively targeted by some hacking groups and if they published addresses I'd be keeping a lookout for anyone in my area to.... discuss the issue with them and that sounds like a good system on the surface. The trouble is its wide open to abuse such as setting false targets (to smear an innocent individuals name for instance) and because of the security methods used its extremely difficult for anyone at any level to prove 100% accurately that the correct person has been identified. The way around this is to set up honeypot sites within these networks for entrapment and I suspect that is what most of the front-page immoral content sites on tor are.


While I applaud some (most?) of what anonymous has attempted, I don't think individual hackers from an anarchist collective should be publishing people's personal information and accusing them of crimes based on ip addresses. My basic wish is being able to find people who are profiting from these things and using BTC... and then attempting to identify the exchange accounts they are using... and then forwarding that information to appropriate authorities.

I realize this is difficult and presents numerous privacy and other problems... so have the BTC financial services companies essentially decided to turn a blind eye? What do they do if and when they get complaints?
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