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Author Topic: Bitcoin Lawyer Introduction Thread  (Read 11337 times)
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June 15, 2011, 09:48:41 AM
 #61

What special experience, training, or education do you have that qualifies you to hold yourself out as a "Bitcoin Lawyer"? Traffic tickets and DUI pleas? Sorry your practice isn't doing well and you now have to resort to this.

Pray tell how are bitcoiners going to get any useful information if every bit of participation by a lawyer is "an ethics violation"?
Pray tell how are bitcoiners going to get any representation in court if the counsel is not part of the business so as to advise "how to dodge bullets" designed for meatspace issues?

Seriously, how would you implement such a service, ethically and professionally without a pseudonym?

The way legal advice works is you contact a lawyer with a specific problem you are facing, you then pay him dearly to solve it for you. By doing it like this you get:
1. client-attourney relation
2. actual proper advice
3. somewhere to complain if the advice was bogus
4. the attourney will have insurance

What about the community without all of us becoming sisters and having slumber party?

Proposal: http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=11541.msg162881#msg162881
Inception: https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/issues/296
Goal: http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=12536.0
Means: Code, donations, and brutal criticism. I've got a thick skin. 1Gc3xCHAzwvTDnyMW3evBBr5qNRDN3DRpq
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June 17, 2011, 12:30:33 PM
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This thread is just awesome and it's only getting better. I just wanted to stick this idea in the melting pot. Re: The Bitcoin vs PoxPal scandal. It has emerged on other threads and elsewhere, that PoxPal have been deliberately sabotaging the legitimate transactions of honest traders, who happen to be selling BTC with PoxPal.

PoxPal is just greedy corporate tyrants nest IMHO. They appear to be facilitating blatant criminals, with a white collar clearing house for digital fraud. Ironically bitcoin gets mendacious political spin, by association with crime and contraband, just because you can do the same kind of transactions with it, as you can also do with cash (though bitcoin doesn't launder as well, so paper money should be currency of choice for black market crime.).  Angry

Perhaps somebody should set PoxPal up with a test case: What if we planed a thoroughly legitimate, independently documented transaction, (with receipts and affidavits to nail the deal shut). We could even do a whole series of them. Heres what I'm thinking: We coordinate this transaction at both ends, with a lawyer to supervise (there's one lurking about here somewhere Wink ). We even document the data from the blockchain and declare legal identification, for proof of the bitcoin address ownership. Extra authentication security could be enlisted, by having the parties to the transaction use digital certificates for their invoice and receipt and all other document exchanged. Make it as easy in advance, to thoroughly and independently verify the legitimate provision of the bitcoin as requested and generally plan to make the transaction as legally watertight, traceable and transparent as possible. Then just do it. Use paypal, to sell/buy the bitcoin, boldly making it as obvious as possible, that the vendor is selling bitcoin. Have the buyer then do a totally bogus, unwarranted, pre-arranged (and pre-nullified) chargeback, declared in a sworn affidavit by the buyer, as null and void, by prior agreement between the transacting parties. Then you just let PoxPal, fail to honor the  seller, for his/her irrefutably legitimate part, in the completely reciprocated transaction. As far as the transacting parties are concerned, the transaction is satisfied and complete without any dispute or grievance whatsoever.

The affidavit would be written, to carefully ensure it indemnifies the seller, against any intervention by PoxPal or any other third party, while the buyer explicitly declares in it, that the sole intention for making such a claim to PoxPal (of not having received payment) and requesting a chargeback, would strictly be ONLY for the sole purpose, of auditing the diligence and fairness, of PoxPal's dispute resolution process. The buyer must agree to this without reservation, at the outset, and then once again, after payment in full for and receipt in kind of the bitcoin, as agreed, has been completed. It could even be reiterated again, on two post-transaction counter receipts, not only that, full payment has been received and the bitcoin delivered, but that both parties are completely satisfied, and also, words to the effect that, both parties now fully agree that the chargeback to be initiated, could not and should not be possible to uphold, therefore no consideration should be enlisted, that the buyer is culpable or actionable for attempting to defraud the seller. Stating explicitly their manifest intention is to audit PayPal protocols, and that both parties are privy (in foresight) to the planned chargeback, the post transaction affidavit and counter signed receipts, are then signed signed and witnessed by both parties in front of a notary and then handed to the lawyer for safe keeping. Documenting this whole experiment on camera for a youtube video might be helpful too.

All parties privy to this experiment, declare and agree, that the documentation thus produced, indemnifies the seller, in relation to the now successfully concluded transaction, but all this has been done, prior to the buyer making the claim of non-payment and initiating a chargeback. The only culpability that could eventuate at this stage, would be that of PoxPal defaulting on an iron clad legitimate transaction, for no other reason than the buyer asked them too. PooPal of course, are not privy to the experiment, but since there is not one iota of reasonable justification, in the fabricated claim which our buyer is about to make, then they could not possibly have any reasonable grounds to suspect the allegation was true. Why? because it simply ISN'T. This manifestly orchestrated fact, is now  proven beyond all reasonable doubt documented. The stage is set. The buyer, then proceeds to make the claim of non-payment and requests a chargeback. Cool Let's just see if PrickPal reverses the transaction and freezes the sellers account. In which case our lawyer (Hi bclaw! You busy? Wink ), steps in, both barrels loaded, demanding they handover the evidence demonstrating their supposedly responsible, dispute resolution protocols, pending serious legal action. (class action anybody?)

Perhaps we could at least find ourselves, in a good position to demand an out of court settlement. It should be demanded in bitcoin, along with a public apology by their CEO right here in our announcement section. Would demanding a public admission that Satoshi is God and Gavin is Jesus be going too far? Grin All that's left then, is to just send off the media release. I can see it now.  Grin STOP PRESS: BITCOIN LAWYER MAKES LEGAL DEMAND OF WEALTHY ONLINE COMPANY SAYING: "IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO PAY, PAL". Cool

That plan wouldn't constitute entrapment or anything like that would it? I'd assume you'd have to be a law enforcement authority, to be subject to entrapment laws wouldn't you? Is there any legal reason this wouldn't work? It would sure as hell be a good publicity stunt. It might also just make PoxPal, somewhat hesitant to jump to the unqualified defense, of any two bit huckster, who reverses transactions in payment for bitcoin. If you could really get them over the barrel somehow, it would be nice to make them agree (in an out of court settlement), to disclaim their right to reverse transactions, where payment for bitcoin (or even virtual goods) is concerned. Whether it is considered a virtual good or a currency, it has the trading properties of cash, so it should be deemed as a non-reversible transaction. Political bias, against the use of a particular form of currency, may be hard to counteract, but willfully restricting others from transacting with it, should rightly be seen as impeding free enterprise and legitimate trade.

I lost a tangible sum of bitcoin, trying to cash out of the market at BTC = $14 each, but then, discovering there would be no takers for my bid to sell Liberty Reserve $USD on Exchange Zone for payment to PoxPal, I reversed my tracks and put my money back, but it had gone up to $17 in that time. I bought bitcoin again, as the price was still rising, but it only served to cut my losses, which came out around to $1400 worth. If PoxPal could be trusted and relied upon, this never would have happened. Their deliberate intention and successful impact, is to undermine the potential liquidity of bitcoin. So it effects much more, than the transacting parties of particular reversed transactions and frozen accounts. Also, the serious nature of this interference, should not be underestimated. If you take possession of something you order and don't pay for it, it's called theft. If PoxPal takes your word that you didn't receive something you payed for, when you actually did, an so reverses your payment; isn't that committing fraud on your behalf? Don't they have a very strictly regulated obligation, to follow protocols of evidence based investigation and transparency?

Shouldn't they in fact be obliged to hand disputes over to legal authorities? If they take sides and determine outcomes, without recourse to any legitimate legal authority, aren't they simply taking the law into their own hands and committing serious crime? After all, if I walk up to a police officer and claim to have been robbed of $50, pointing to the little old lady over the road, I wouldn't expect him to simply walk over, snatch her purse and pull the $50 then hand it to me. Even for a serious crime, police can't just walk into a home and seize possessions. They have to have search warrants and seriously solid evidence, or else heads will roll. How can a private company, get away with just deciding who is in the wrong? If they are also in the wrong as a result, then how can it be passed off as a matter of trivial negligence? It seems to me, like a child selling contaminated lemonade on the front lawn, being allowed to dispense medical advice and prescription drugs to go with it. I don't see their TOS agreement, as being any justification for writing their own legislation either.

PoxPal should be given enough rope to hang itself, by creating their own PR disasters, whenever they try to foreclose on honest transactions, while facilitating criminal activity. Getting government and legal authorities, to acknowledge bitcoin and to demand a level playing field would IMHO, be a priceless objective. I'd prefer to see PayPal fall on their own sword, than to see them fall victim to ruthless competition, of our straw-man stereotype; that of a devious cabal, of vigilante, anarchist hackers, destroying 'honest *cough*, legitimate *cough*, sentinels of corporate respectability. Roll Eyes To our potential detractors, this could only martyr PoxPal and vilify bitcoin. 

This raises an interesting question, as to whether an overriding waiver, could be written up, to take legal precedent over PoxPal's TOS; in that one party might agree with the other, as a condition of any sale, not to invoke any privilege such as chargeback and to be subject to the terms of an externally binding agreement, such that the buyer, explicitly agrees, that the payment will be finalized, without recourse to any such provision of PoxPal (or other intermediary) to intervene, delay or reverse the payment. If possible, then a standardized agreement might be made available for this purpose. PoxPal should then be warned, that they are duty bound to desist from arbitrary intervention, in the presence of such an agreement, adding that failing to do so, will result in litigation. Would this be feasible? How much would that cost to have written up? I would happily pledge some bitcoin towards that goal.

It might even be worth setting up a slush fund, where people could contribute to various contractual type legal work and/or to help pay for any worthwhile legal action that needs to be taken, on behalf of bitcoiners, where the whole community would benefit. Also btclaw, have you considered offering a paid, out of court mediation service? That way any disputes within the bitcoin community, may be nipped in the bud and prevented from entering the jurisdiction of the courts. I don't advocate litigation in general, unless it's against the ruthless tyranny, of corporate greed, or in the interest of important human rights. Alternative provisions for resolution, would certainly help to foster a cooperative, symbiotic bitcoin community. Sorry for the long rant. I got a bit carried away. The court will now recess. Grin

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June 18, 2011, 04:58:29 AM
 #63

This thread is just awesome and it's only getting better. I just wanted to stick this idea in the melting pot. Re: The Bitcoin vs PoxPal scandal. It has emerged on other threads and elsewhere, that PoxPal have been deliberately sabotaging the legitimate transactions of honest traders, who happen to be selling BTC with PoxPal.

PoxPal is just greedy corporate tyrants nest IMHO. They appear to be facilitating blatant criminals, with a white collar clearing house for digital fraud. Ironically bitcoin gets mendacious political spin, by association with crime and contraband, just because you can do the same kind of transactions with it, as you can also do with cash (though bitcoin doesn't launder as well, so paper money should be currency of choice for black market crime.).  Angry

Perhaps somebody should set PoxPal up with a test case: What if we planed a thoroughly legitimate, independently documented transaction, (with receipts and affidavits to nail the deal shut). We could even do a whole series of them. Heres what I'm thinking: We coordinate this transaction at both ends, with a lawyer to supervise (there's one lurking about here somewhere Wink ). We even document the data from the blockchain and declare legal identification, for proof of the bitcoin address ownership. Extra authentication security could be enlisted, by having the parties to the transaction use digital certificates for their invoice and receipt and all other document exchanged. Make it as easy in advance, to thoroughly and independently verify the legitimate provision of the bitcoin as requested and generally plan to make the transaction as legally watertight, traceable and transparent as possible. Then just do it. Use paypal, to sell/buy the bitcoin, boldly making it as obvious as possible, that the vendor is selling bitcoin. Have the buyer then do a totally bogus, unwarranted, pre-arranged (and pre-nullified) chargeback, declared in a sworn affidavit by the buyer, as null and void, by prior agreement between the transacting parties. Then you just let PoxPal, fail to honor the  seller, for his/her irrefutably legitimate part, in the completely reciprocated transaction. As far as the transacting parties are concerned, the transaction is satisfied and complete without any dispute or grievance whatsoever.

The affidavit would be written, to carefully ensure it indemnifies the seller, against any intervention by PoxPal or any other third party, while the buyer explicitly declares in it, that the sole intention for making such a claim to PoxPal (of not having received payment) and requesting a chargeback, would strictly be ONLY for the sole purpose, of auditing the diligence and fairness, of PoxPal's dispute resolution process. The buyer must agree to this without reservation, at the outset, and then once again, after payment in full for and receipt in kind of the bitcoin, as agreed, has been completed. It could even be reiterated again, on two post-transaction counter receipts, not only that, full payment has been received and the bitcoin delivered, but that both parties are completely satisfied, and also, words to the effect that, both parties now fully agree that the chargeback to be initiated, could not and should not be possible to uphold, therefore no consideration should be enlisted, that the buyer is culpable or actionable for attempting to defraud the seller. Stating explicitly their manifest intention is to audit PayPal protocols, and that both parties are privy (in foresight) to the planned chargeback, the post transaction affidavit and counter signed receipts, are then signed signed and witnessed by both parties in front of a notary and then handed to the lawyer for safe keeping. Documenting this whole experiment on camera for a youtube video might be helpful too.

All parties privy to this experiment, declare and agree, that the documentation thus produced, indemnifies the seller, in relation to the now successfully concluded transaction, but all this has been done, prior to the buyer making the claim of non-payment and initiating a chargeback. The only culpability that could eventuate at this stage, would be that of PoxPal defaulting on an iron clad legitimate transaction, for no other reason than the buyer asked them too. PooPal of course, are not privy to the experiment, but since there is not one iota of reasonable justification, in the fabricated claim which our buyer is about to make, then they could not possibly have any reasonable grounds to suspect the allegation was true. Why? because it simply ISN'T. This manifestly orchestrated fact, is now  proven beyond all reasonable doubt documented. The stage is set. The buyer, then proceeds to make the claim of non-payment and requests a chargeback. Cool Let's just see if PrickPal reverses the transaction and freezes the sellers account. In which case our lawyer (Hi bclaw! You busy? Wink ), steps in, both barrels loaded, demanding they handover the evidence demonstrating their supposedly responsible, dispute resolution protocols, pending serious legal action. (class action anybody?)

Perhaps we could at least find ourselves, in a good position to demand an out of court settlement. It should be demanded in bitcoin, along with a public apology by their CEO right here in our announcement section. Would demanding a public admission that Satoshi is God and Gavin is Jesus be going too far? Grin All that's left then, is to just send off the media release. I can see it now.  Grin STOP PRESS: BITCOIN LAWYER MAKES LEGAL DEMAND OF WEALTHY ONLINE COMPANY SAYING: "IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO PAY, PAL". Cool

That plan wouldn't constitute entrapment or anything like that would it? I'd assume you'd have to be a law enforcement authority, to be subject to entrapment laws wouldn't you? Is there any legal reason this wouldn't work? It would sure as hell be a good publicity stunt. It might also just make PoxPal, somewhat hesitant to jump to the unqualified defense, of any two bit huckster, who reverses transactions in payment for bitcoin. If you could really get them over the barrel somehow, it would be nice to make them agree (in an out of court settlement), to disclaim their right to reverse transactions, where payment for bitcoin (or even virtual goods) is concerned. Whether it is considered a virtual good or a currency, it has the trading properties of cash, so it should be deemed as a non-reversible transaction. Political bias, against the use of a particular form of currency, may be hard to counteract, but willfully restricting others from transacting with it, should rightly be seen as impeding free enterprise and legitimate trade.

I lost a tangible sum of bitcoin, trying to cash out of the market at BTC = $14 each, but then, discovering there would be no takers for my bid to sell Liberty Reserve $USD on Exchange Zone for payment to PoxPal, I reversed my tracks and put my money back, but it had gone up to $17 in that time. I bought bitcoin again, as the price was still rising, but it only served to cut my losses, which came out around to $1400 worth. If PoxPal could be trusted and relied upon, this never would have happened. Their deliberate intention and successful impact, is to undermine the potential liquidity of bitcoin. So it effects much more, than the transacting parties of particular reversed transactions and frozen accounts. Also, the serious nature of this interference, should not be underestimated. If you take possession of something you order and don't pay for it, it's called theft. If PoxPal takes your word that you didn't receive something you payed for, when you actually did, an so reverses your payment; isn't that committing fraud on your behalf? Don't they have a very strictly regulated obligation, to follow protocols of evidence based investigation and transparency?

Shouldn't they in fact be obliged to hand disputes over to legal authorities? If they take sides and determine outcomes, without recourse to any legitimate legal authority, aren't they simply taking the law into their own hands and committing serious crime? After all, if I walk up to a police officer and claim to have been robbed of $50, pointing to the little old lady over the road, I wouldn't expect him to simply walk over, snatch her purse and pull the $50 then hand it to me. Even for a serious crime, police can't just walk into a home and seize possessions. They have to have search warrants and seriously solid evidence, or else heads will roll. How can a private company, get away with just deciding who is in the wrong? If they are also in the wrong as a result, then how can it be passed off as a matter of trivial negligence? It seems to me, like a child selling contaminated lemonade on the front lawn, being allowed to dispense medical advice and prescription drugs to go with it. I don't see their TOS agreement, as being any justification for writing their own legislation either.

PoxPal should be given enough rope to hang itself, by creating their own PR disasters, whenever they try to foreclose on honest transactions, while facilitating criminal activity. Getting government and legal authorities, to acknowledge bitcoin and to demand a level playing field would IMHO, be a priceless objective. I'd prefer to see PayPal fall on their own sword, than to see them fall victim to ruthless competition, of our straw-man stereotype; that of a devious cabal, of vigilante, anarchist hackers, destroying 'honest *cough*, legitimate *cough*, sentinels of corporate respectability. Roll Eyes To our potential detractors, this could only martyr PoxPal and vilify bitcoin. 

This raises an interesting question, as to whether an overriding waiver, could be written up, to take legal precedent over PoxPal's TOS; in that one party might agree with the other, as a condition of any sale, not to invoke any privilege such as chargeback and to be subject to the terms of an externally binding agreement, such that the buyer, explicitly agrees, that the payment will be finalized, without recourse to any such provision of PoxPal (or other intermediary) to intervene, delay or reverse the payment. If possible, then a standardized agreement might be made available for this purpose. PoxPal should then be warned, that they are duty bound to desist from arbitrary intervention, in the presence of such an agreement, adding that failing to do so, will result in litigation. Would this be feasible? How much would that cost to have written up? I would happily pledge some bitcoin towards that goal.

It might even be worth setting up a slush fund, where people could contribute to various contractual type legal work and/or to help pay for any worthwhile legal action that needs to be taken, on behalf of bitcoiners, where the whole community would benefit. Also btclaw, have you considered offering a paid, out of court mediation service? That way any disputes within the bitcoin community, may be nipped in the bud and prevented from entering the jurisdiction of the courts. I don't advocate litigation in general, unless it's against the ruthless tyranny, of corporate greed, or in the interest of important human rights. Alternative provisions for resolution, would certainly help to foster a cooperative, symbiotic bitcoin community. Sorry for the long rant. I got a bit carried away. The court will now recess. Grin
Sounds kinda convoluted and easily escapable.
Hitting them with a class action would likely be much more effective. (They just don't learn apparently, having paid out before and still screwing people).
If enough people have a legitimate legal claim and a decent class action lawyer, we could take down paypal and redistribute the damages to people who are involved in BTC.
Finding a decent class=action lawyer is the only hard part of this as the other elements are apparently met.

The only way to make sure people you agree with can speak is to support the rights of people you don't agree with.
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June 18, 2011, 09:04:25 AM
 #64

Just wanted to remind everyone, that the legal advice/discussions in this thread may be wildly different depending on your jurisdiction.

The advice/discussion may be 'wildly' different, but two factors do remain relatively constant:

  • The laws of most western world countries are reasonably consistent, in so much as they are based in constitutional democracy and a laissez laissez faire economic model. For the government of most jurisdictions then, there is a similar duty of care to be considered and so the motive to legislate, derive from similar problems in similar situations. The legislature process and solution will have much in common and usually, for these constitutional democracies, the legislation must take into account, the international nature of trade. After all, bitcoin did not establish the first instance of international trading. There are precedents and international agreements, about a myriad of legal issues across borders. We could use more standards, but I cant see how bitcoin itself and our having a lawyer in our community to flesh out these issues could be anything other than a total win.
  • The other constant, it the nature of bitcoin itself. No mater how people chose to define it, what they do with it or where they are in the world, the network and block chain, work exactly the same way and a bitcoin gota do, what a bitcoin gota do. Practical fact of physical (or digital) reality are held extremely constant for the sake of ubiquity and that limits extremely, how much implicit difference can be derived in the interpersonal, international and legal protocols, of arbitrary human/political/legal whim. Again it is an imperative to iron out these issues of poor international standardization but bitcoin itself introduces a standard with the power to usurp the power base which hold back unilateral adoption of standards. Because you can trade freely with a non-partisan unit, uncontrolled by any government, the politics and legislature enforced may only be imposed on human/corporate entities rather than the currency itself.

Quote
What is true for the UK may not be true for the US, what is true for the US may not be true for the Netherlands etc. etc.

I understand you are only pointing out the perils of taking legal advice from an online source and applying it universally, but btclaw did clearly point this out himself and that it should really be considered common sense. Anybody going to court without personally retained legal representation, in their own jurisdiction, had better have more than common sense, they'd need knowledge of law that would make that advice rather redundant.

There are mountains of common ground, that a lawyer in any jurisdiction can give good advice about. Next time you hear someone ask 'did you get a receipt?' or say anything about trading with a legal implication, consider for yourself, just where in the world that this question or statement would not be relevant. OK, so if you happen to be a sub-Amazonian native, living in a tribe where the seed pods of a rare tree are used as currency, then you'd better not take the legal opinions/advice here as being endorsed by your witchdoctor. Caveat Emptor, indeed. In any case, I suspect that lawyers in most of the democratic world, are broadly trained in recognizing the regional nature of their business. In the event that there was a particular question of jurisdiction to be taken into account, perhaps a lawyer would be aware of this and preempt the assumption that it applies universally.

Quote
This not only applies to the answers of specific legal questions, but also to the very definitions from which the answers are derived: For example if bitcoins are legally considered a currency or intangible good or something other.

Therein lies the crux of my earlier point about practical facts about the nature of bitcoin and existing international trade. A specific legal question is going to be FAR more likely to be mitigated by regional law, than a general one is, precisely because the utility of international trade depends upon international protocols that deal with such things, as having common definitions or methods of translating. It's FAR more important to consider the specific implications of bitcoin, against the economic morass into which it enters. There's much more difference between bitcoin and it's universal legal implications in existing markets, than there is between the existing currencies, commodities and laws that underpin them.

To use your own example. No mater how ANY legal authority or government decided to define bitcoin, it will have no effect on how the network works or the utility of bitcoin as a market instrument. If it is decided that it will be called a 'virtual good' then the powers that be are only agreeing upon what words to use for semantic convenience. The definition of 'virtual good' or 'currency', already has international standardization conventions, that are by necessity adopted as international protocol, so that global trade and regulation can be made possible. If USA decides to call bitcoin a currency, then it is hardly likely that Australia for example, will call it a 'virtual good'. Why? Because those words already have definitions and those definitions themselves are like commodities of exchange. The lingu franca of international economics. If the world didn't agree about what the word 'currency' means then global economics would be in serious strife. Bitcoin either does or doesn't fit the accepted definition. The question of whether bitcoin has currency is very different. That is decided by the utility of the instrument itself, as a market commodity. The practical outcome is not effected one iota, by government legislation ruling over semantic nomenclature, to be adopted in their own jurisdiction.

Quote
I know I am not contributing heavily to this discussion, but I feel that it is neccesary to point out, that the only real way of even having a chance to find out anything solid about a specific bitcoin legal question, is to consult a lawyer in your own jurisdiction, and actually pay them.

Sorry Dansker, I can't say I agree. In fact I think you're dead wrong. You rule out a lawyer who comes here as a willing participant, without requiring you to have wads of money in your fist, before even saying hello to you, as a source for 'even having a chance to find out anything solid about a specific bitcoin legal question'. Are you kidding? Not even a chance? It sounds rather dramatic and uncharitable to say the least. You will hear any number of opinions here and on the Internet at large, about bitcoin, which have legal implications. Anybody with a modicum of common sense, knows well enough not to take unsolicited, anonymous advice, as solid council to base important legal decisions upon. It goes without saying. But given that btclaw is at least a lawyer, cares about the success of bitcoin and isn't asking you for wads of cash to even speak to you, I think you are selling him a bit short, as a source of general legal guidance. However much I pay to a self interested lawyer in my own jurisdiction, it wont be enough to make that lawyer an advocate of bitcoin.

You may need to seek legal council, in particular if you actually have legal battle to fight. The facts about law in any jurisdiction, are not really the commodity you are paying for access to, as much as the skill and wit of a professional advocate, to give your case the best chance of success you can. The payment for advice is no assurance the lawyer will perform well, and the recourse to compensation for bad advice, would be even less reliable. As for legal advice on general information (ie where you don't absolutely have to hire a lawyer), such as matters that do not pertain to a specific pending case, or the need to draw up a contract etc, then who do you know, that will happily fork out the wads of cash that it takes, to get this general information from a paid, fully qualified, contractually bound lawyer? Nobody I know ever does this, as the cost is prohibitive.

Decisions I make in day to day life, may have legal implications, down the track. But I am not going to pick up the phone and book a session with a lawyer, for every minor legal detail I may be curious about. What people usually do (or at least did in years gone by) if there are question, is go without. They use their own common sense and knowledge of law, to manage their own risks. Otherwise they may chat informally with a lawyer they have hired in the past, or one they know in their circle of family, friends or work colleges. That is far better than nothing, if you are fortunate enough have the access. Now with the benefit of the Internet, we can do more research for ourselves and of course we have places like this, where knowledgeable people may offer to lend a word of advice. That is orders of magnitude better again. Our gratitude is hardly enough to pay for this, but it's the least we should offer.

I see that btclaw has come around to the use of the word 'currency' to define bitcoin. I haven't looked into it myself, but I would be willing to wager a fair bit, that his rationale would make no difference in the context of Australian law. Now if you were to go and hire a lawyer to find out for sure if this was sound legal information, what's the bet that you would just be wasting your money? And even if that lawyer insists that bitcoin is not a currency, and my government declares it is not, will that change the fact that it has currency, acts like currency and actually is currency for those who use it as such? I think not.
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June 18, 2011, 02:18:52 PM
 #65

Sounds kinda convoluted and easily escapable.

Hmm... Might have just been my explanation of how it works then. It's actually intended to be a watertight method, to present a solid case of misconduct (perhaps fraud even).

The general idea of it, is to offer a bait to PoxPal that, if they should take it, is simply a fabricated (hoax) fraud, in which the parties doing the transaction are 100% consistent that no real fraud took place, or was ever even intended. Both seller and buyer are conspiring to 'play the ends off against the middle' as they say. If PoxPal take the law into their own hands and grant the reversal of payment for the bitcoins (which are meticulously proven to have been sent and received), then I would suspect that it is they (PoxPal), who are defrauding the seller of the bitcoins. While the illegitimate complaint of the buyer (claiming no bitcoin were supplied) upon requesting a chargeback, is in fact a baseless claim and a manifestly fabricated pretense and one that can be proven after the fact; it is therefore, an illegitimate reason (by any metric of fairness or justice), to reverse the payment and break a genuine, mutually satisfied deal. The transaction itself however, actually is a completely legitimate, above board legal transaction. By intervening and withholding payment, I would think, PoxPal are acting above the law and committing fraud (or some other serious transgression) themselves.

I can't see how this is 'escapable', because the buyer, seller and coordinating lawyer are cooperating as a team, to make absolutely certain that the transaction is irrefutably documented and proven to have been conducted successfully, to the mutual satisfaction of both buyer and seller. At all times the parties will agree, that no genuine discrepancy exists between them. Even after the transaction, the successful sale and purchase of the bitcoin will again be confirmed and once again, the corresponding exchange of documents (receipt of bitcoin and receipt of payment) are meticulously dated, signed (before a notary), digitally encoded and encrypted then exchanged, while a copy of each is given to the lawyer. This may all seem a little convoluted, but that's only to ensure that all possible lengths are taken, to ensure that proof of the transaction, mutual satisfaction of the parties and the willfully fabricated nature of the chargeback complaint, are manifest as irrefutably as possible, even before the chargeback is attempted. When the chargeback is initiated by the buyer (who claims  to have received no bitcoin), it will only be after having signed those meticulously watertight documents, which declare the transaction was successful and that the bitcoins were received as ordered and paid for in full.

This is all just to set up a trail of evidence and ensure there is no excuse for PoxPal, to claim that the subsequent chargeback may have been justified by any real facts, external to their greedy whims. Note that all this is confirmed after the transaction is final and mutually satisfied, but before the claim of non-payment is submitted and a chargeback requested. Only then, is the chargeback initiated by the buyer who has manifest fully in those documents, ahead of time, that the claim of non-payment will be a deliberate fabrication and that the payment was indeed received.

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Hitting them with a class action would likely be much more effective. (They just don't learn apparently, having paid out before and still screwing people). If enough people have a legitimate legal claim and a decent class action lawyer, we could take down paypal and redistribute the damages to people who are involved in BTC.

Well, that would be a nice result if it had to go so far, but my understanding is that there are usually numerous options considered, as far as settlement is concerned. Mediation for minor disputes and (particularly in USA) out of court settlements are granted consideration. But before the nature of any court preceding or settlement is considered, a case has to be made that holds water. That is the purpose of my little scheme. It's not an alternative to any particular type of action or suit, but a means by which to make a case that PoxPal is culpable. If that can be made evident beyond reasonable doubt, then council for the plaintiffs, may take it to whatever court and file whatever kind of suit they deem appropriate. The challenge is to build a good case. Catching them 'red handed' I would think, is the best way to do so.

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Finding a decent class=action lawyer is the only hard part of this as the other elements are apparently met.

The other elements, would be demonstrating there is a case to answer and making sure PoxPal can't excuse themselves from liability. There needs to be evidence (to build a case) that the bitcoin were supplied in exchange for the conventional currency payments that they declined via chargeback. As it stands (with respect to previous cases of chargeback fraud), I suspect PoxPal would argue no proof (documentation ie: receipt) was forthcoming, to establish the bitcoins were supplied. Their record will show that the payment was initiated (albeit reversed), so they have their own records of the buyers payment, and since they know this much, they can only vouch for buyer, with the option to reverse the payment.

Usually, a receipt is only given for 'money' that changes hands. The goods (in this case the bitcoins are being treated as goods) ordinarily, have their own paper trail, due to their physical nature and delivery may be accompanied by a cart note, or an invoice generated to make the order accountable in the suppliers ledger. Note that this is no help to the buyer. I don't know the details of the existing cases, but if these transactions were only done as private sales there would be no papers confirming the bitcoins were supplied. In any case, the person who allegedly received the bitcoin and defaulted on the payment, is not going to furnish evidence that they received the bitcoins but nevertheless requested a chargeback.

PoxPal only have records for who has paid money to whom and not who has sent good to whom. As I understand it, nobody has manifest evidence for the supply of bitcoin, in the existing cases. What evidence for the supply of bitcoins in these cases of alleged fraud do you know of, beyond the bitcoins signature and the blockchain records of IP addresses (sending/receiving), that existing claims of undelivered bitcoin and subsequent chargeback are false? I don't dispute them of course. I have little doubt that A)There are those who would do this if they can get away with it and B) PoxPal would wash their hands of the bitcoin seller and uphold the chargeback for the buyer to damage bitcoin, but I don't see how you can conclude that there is already an established case that could be tried in court.

The fraudsters have very likely gotten away with their crime (so far). Thats why I'm proposing this little plan. Even then, if PoxPal are proven to have reversed payments, for genuine purchases of honestly supplied bitcoins, there is a good chance that they would then argue to usurp their liability, on the grounds of it being the buyers obligation to pay or pejorative to decline. They would probably try to indemnify themselves against being anything other than an actor for the buyer and simply 'pass the buck'.

As for finding a good a class action lawyer, I wonder if Julia Roberts is busy these days? Cheesy Seriously though. Is there actually a special qualification needed to handle a class action? I thought Erin Brockavich was based on a true story. Wasn't she just a part time para-legal or secretary who 'took em on', despite her lack of qualifications (and fairly average boobs)? I thought that part of the movie at least, was likely to be fairly unembellished. Julia's boobs may be another matter. Grin ORDER! ORDER!
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June 19, 2011, 08:58:50 PM
 #66

No proof that goods were sent? That's crazy, the block chain is about the best receipt I've ever seen.
People who were scammed only need to have the contract (email, pm, im, etc. where buyer tells seller to send X BTC to Y address). Often this is in the actual paypal cart or whatever, which paypal uses as reason to attack the seller/buyer.
The block chain clearly shows X BTC were sent to Y address = receipt for delivery of digital property as promised.
There's already plenty of evidence and victims of paypal to push forward against them for illegally taking money out of their account.

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June 20, 2011, 10:26:37 PM
 #67

No proof that goods were sent? That's crazy, the block chain is about the best receipt I've ever seen.

That's true. The block chain is great for us to be sure. The problem (At least I assume, otherwise these disputes would be fixed by PP) is if PoxPal is unwilling to look at the block chain or even recognize it as evidence, even if you wave it under their nose. The don't exactly idolize bitcoin and the will hold out on giving any recognition to the bitcoin network as legitimate if they can. 

There's already plenty of evidence and victims of paypal to push forward against them for illegally taking money out of their account.

Thats fine but my understanding is, that PoxPal probably dont/wont investigate IP address info either (unless it was for their own benefit of course) as they identify their clients by email and as a central repository the probably wont consider the client side data. I havn't checked, but I imagine the decision to reverse payment, being made by office people, rather than a tech person in a data center. If that's the case, then telling the clerical/office you have IP records and block chain data, wont help much. And yes, of course the same info can be taken to court, but then you are presenting technical data (conclusive as it is) but that has to be analyzed and demonstrated that those actual people, own those actual IP addresses and then you may have to subpoena the the person who initiated the chargeback and the evidence that connects the bitcoin transfer to the PoxPal payment. But then, If you were going to yank a payment like that would you run bitcoin from your home IP?

My idea, is to bypass all the chasing the evidence via hostile witneses and tech data. If you control both ends and you can replicate the failure you have a straight forward demonstration of PoxPal in action. You can then present legal ID and highly secured confidential paper documentation proving on paper, exactly who was on each end, when payment is made they both agree in front of a notary on paper and the documents can also be scanned time stamped and encrypted to make the chronological order of events and authenticity rock solid. Once the buyer then pulls the payment, they can sign of against their collusion. and both sets of document establish that the were both on board  and  every detail, presents a watertight case court ready on paper. It's not all that complicated and if you've got both parties conspiring you have no struggle to collect every detail of the evidence.
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June 20, 2011, 11:11:40 PM
 #68

My idea, is to bypass all the chasing the evidence via hostile witneses and tech data. If you control both ends and you can replicate the failure you have a straight forward demonstration of PoxPal in action. You can then present legal ID and highly secured confidential paper documentation proving on paper, exactly who was on each end, when payment is made they both agree in front of a notary on paper and the documents can also be scanned time stamped and encrypted to make the chronological order of events and authenticity rock solid. Once the buyer then pulls the payment, they can sign of against their collusion. and both sets of document establish that the were both on board  and  every detail, presents a watertight case court ready on paper. It's not all that complicated and if you've got both parties conspiring you have no struggle to collect every detail of the evidence.

I just realized it, but what would your cause of action be?
I.E. if both buyer and seller expect the result of not being able to use paypal, it seems almost negligible damage, explainable as "the service is not guaranteed for all customers." Sure, if it held a large amount of funds of one parties account, but even there, the remedy seems to simply release the funds. . .

Quite different if there are actual victims with actual damages. From what I can tell there's plenty of them.

Personally, I haven't used a personal PP account since they paid me in a class settlement years ago.

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June 22, 2011, 02:58:07 AM
 #69

Subscribing.
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June 22, 2011, 02:40:11 PM
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Very nice domain sir, will be talking to you in the future.

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June 24, 2011, 07:12:40 PM
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I just realized it, but what would your cause of action be?
I.E. if both buyer and seller expect the result of not being able to use paypal, it seems almost negligible damage, explainable as "the service is not guaranteed for all customers." Sure, if it held a large amount of funds of one parties account, but even there, the remedy seems to simply release the funds. . .

It's a fair question, but I am only assuming that there must be something unlawful in this practice. Particularly if it's a standard PP policy. The point of the exercise was intended to demonstrate the unjust policy and provide sound evidence that this is how PP handles chargebacks. It's then implicit that they would do this in any event and that would involve real victims. I would hope btclaw might shed some light on the particular violations of law that might be relevant. There may be no damage to consider in the transaction staged, but that is the exception which proves the rule. PoxPal are not privy to the arrangement, so if it were any other legitimate transaction (legit. from the sellers pov) that they had intervened in, there would have to be a victim. Saying the seller has not been defrauded because both parties 'expect the result' is little disingenuous isn't it? The result is not conditional upon their expectations.

If "the service is not guaranteed for all customers.", there must be some accountability to how they justify their exceptions. I read briefly somewhere, that they won't support trading of any other currency. Needles to say this is a condition placed on the customer not themselves, as they do support alternative currencies on their website. What they mean is, you can't buy or sell anything which might threaten to weaken our service. Other online currencies or payment systems cut into their market. Aren't there some antitrust implications here?

I'm no legal beagle, but isn't it possible to take a company to court for violations of law, without having victims, if their operating practices are unlawful? In any case they are are supporting fraud if they allow the payment to be reversed, while they have no power or desire to reverse the other half of the transaction, by returning the goods. I would expect that if they can reverse the payment, but not the goods, then they have an obligation to stay out of it. It's no business of theirs, what payment is for unless they make sure they can refuse payment in the first place and mediate both payment and goods. Since they only have the power to control payments, they should not be privy to the goods or what the payment is for. If they cant make the buyer return the goods, they should have no right to reverse the payment. Reserving this right, is something beguiling to me. I cant disclaim my obligation to be accountable to law, can I? OK then, I reserve the right to punch PP executives in the face. I'd have to get them to agree to TOS, but does that make it legal?

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Quite different if there are actual victims with actual damages. From what I can tell there's plenty of them.

Well as you said before, a class action may well be in order. The exercise I suggested was just to clinch the evidence for their misconduct. It could be used to serve any case, in which this policy was instrumental and needed to be established.

I rest my case.

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Personally, I haven't used a personal PP account since they paid me in a class settlement years ago.

You'd have some experience to pull from in that case. Glad to hear you had the better of them.  Cool
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June 24, 2011, 07:25:14 PM
 #72

If you want to set up Paypal to fall for an illegitimate chargeback, why do you need to use bitcoins? Why not just set up a sale of some worthless trinket, have the seller hand the trinket to the buyer, and then have the buyer initiate a chargeback. If Paypal is so horrible like you say they are, then they will give the money back to the buyer and you can sue them.

The issue is that PP (as I understand it) is honoring chargebacks because the payments were for bitcoin. If it isn't bitcoin that are the goods being paid for, then why would they bite? The goods could be anything if they honor chargebacks indiscriminately, but I don't think that's the case. The complaints I have heard, are about bitcoin buyers defrauding sellers.

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Why drag bitcoins into it?

You'll have to ask PoxPal that one.

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July 14, 2011, 11:45:03 PM
 #73

Something like this http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=28896.0 seems like it would be one of those things a Lawyer does for free because it will get them business for quite a while type of thing.

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July 24, 2011, 05:07:12 AM
 #74

Something like this http://forum.bitcoin.org/index.php?topic=28896.0 seems like it would be one of those things a Lawyer does for free because it will get them business for quite a while type of thing.

Yea how do we get that douchebag disbarred ?

Apparently he sent a dmca takedown notice to techdirt

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110719/00513815159/lawyer-trying-to-trademark-bitcoin-threatens-techdirt-with-bogus-dmca-takedown.shtml

I took this from the comments
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18 USC §512:

    (f) Misrepresentations.— Any person who knowingly materially misrepresents under this section—

        (1) that material or activity is infringing, or
        (2) that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification,

Could bitcoiners file a friend of the court brief if techdirt took him for damages for misrepresentation ?
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September 16, 2011, 11:28:55 PM
 #75

Just noticed the http://btclawyer.com domain is now just simply parked, and the OP hasn't logged into the forum since a couple days after first posting.

There is a reddit thread asking about a Tor-based service:
 - http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/kgmph/would_anybody_be_interested_in_a_tor_bitcoin/

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September 17, 2011, 04:22:21 PM
 #76

Perhaps he was enamored by bitcoins and has since become bored of them?

As someone who comes and goes with Bitcoin depending on availability, maybe the person has a real life to deal with first lol

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September 19, 2011, 03:01:53 AM
 #77

i didn't read every post in the thread, however i want to put some statements out.

bitcoins are a commodity created to be used as a medium of exchange. many politicians have said using anything the FR did not print or come to existence out of the creation of debt as your medium of exchange, as a direct terrorist attack on the US economy or whatever.

wow gold or isk or whatever else is NOT currency, it is the sole property of company that allows you to use it. therefore you simply can not even put it in the description or use it as an argument or comparison for almost anything bitcoin related. courts have ruled in this way i believe.

the US constitution is also void because it specifically says that all "money" is to be coined by congress, don't get me started on the FR. so as far as im concerned it simply does not apply because the government thinks they are above what the framers SPECIFICALLY STATED. until such time that the currency the US uses is coined by congress i don't see that as any valid argument for anything.

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No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

it also states that our money should not be fiat, but be made of gold/silver, i wonder why they abolished the gold standard?


in a nutshell, i think pretty much all the worlds governments are unable to properly define the use of math as a commodity. this is proven because even inside this forum, where almost everybody supports bitcoin, are unable to decide its legal status as whatever it is they are trying to define it as. this is because bitcoins are fundamentally a product of mathematical laws, and a network of people that agree on a rule set were they can be used as a medium of exchange.

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