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Author Topic: Can the possession or movement of bitcoins be declared illegal?  (Read 1168 times)
flug
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June 15, 2011, 10:43:05 AM
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If I've got the Bitcoin client installed with some bitcoin in my wallet.dat, and I send some bitcoin to someone else, and there's no proof of any exchange so it's effectively a gift, is it possible for there to be a law that declares that as unlawful?
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NetTecture
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June 15, 2011, 10:48:55 AM
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If I've got the Bitcoin client installed with some bitcoin in my wallet.dat, and I send some bitcoin to someone else, and there's no proof of any exchange so it's effectively a gift, is it possible for there to be a law that declares that as unlawful?

Dude, seriously, this is like asking "can i be taken to court".

Yes, there can be a law. Whether this is lawfull / constitutional is another thing, but never underestimate the power and stupidity of the political establishment.

For example germany Wink

The current government has more laws revoked by constitutional court... than all governments since the end of the hitler era TOGETHER Wink

You think that would be impossible - doing your homework etc. Obviously not. They are jsut sloppy and incompetent enough that enough slips through the craps. Make a popular law, then have it revoked as not constitutional.

So, yes, anything can be declared illegal.

Plus, child molesters and terrorists can justify anything.Wink Get the idea Wink
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June 15, 2011, 10:53:32 AM
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this makes me sad ...  Undecided

hazek
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June 15, 2011, 11:15:42 AM
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Who cares?

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
Basiley
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June 15, 2011, 11:26:48 AM
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clearly as long as "child molesters and terrorists" occupy the senates of countries, could thats justify NP strike of senates buildings ? unlikely, IMO.
flug
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June 15, 2011, 11:29:58 AM
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Who cares?

I do, and I think a lot of other people will care too. They'll be less inclined to hold bitcoins if they can be prosecuted. They'll be less likely to develop apps if they can be prosecuted.

It's valid to explore the legal differences between possession of something and using it as a currency.

The answer to this question might shape the future trajectory of Bitcoin.
Jessy Kang
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June 15, 2011, 11:58:50 AM
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At one point it was illegal to own gold.

It's illegal to export some types of encryption. They can argue, as usual- if you are doing nothing illegal, there is nothing for you to hide.

It's illegal to posses some forms of data. Encryption can hide that data, so could be made illegal.

There is highly effective forensic software used during police and customs checks in the US to search for illegal data. Your electronic media does not necessarily require a warrant in order to be searched.

So yes, all of the individual elements and precedents are there for them to be not only illegal, but for enforcement effective enough to dissuade average users and reduce Bitcoins adoption to the point where it is not particularly viable as currency.

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June 15, 2011, 12:01:40 PM
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Posession???  Bwahahahahaha!  I possess a cunning wit as well; perhaps they will pass a law making my humor illegal.  Maybe we could save the authorities some time and call encryption illegal on personal computers.  Because if you have an encrypted folder you could well have bitcoins in it.  

Unlikely that the courts will reach this far into our privacy without massive repercussions.
flug
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June 15, 2011, 01:16:00 PM
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So yes, all of the individual elements and precedents are there for them to be not only illegal, but for enforcement effective enough to dissuade average users and reduce Bitcoins adoption to the point where it is not particularly viable as currency.

What if your bitcoins were stored on a Bitcoin wallet site in Poland, and you initiated the transfer from there. Your internet traffic wouldn't give much away. Is legislating against that feasible?
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June 15, 2011, 02:59:12 PM
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What if your bitcoins were stored on a Bitcoin wallet site in Poland, and you initiated the transfer from there. Your internet traffic wouldn't give much away. Is legislating against that feasible?

I'm not a tech type, but made illegal there will of course be ways around it- but it order for Bitcoin to be viable a LOT of people have to have those ways around it and have to be willing to commit a crime that may be made synonymous with child pornography, terrorism etc.

Personally if it were me running things I'd treat Bitcoin for what it is- new, and very good anti-counterfeiting tech. Make Bitcoins illegal, then make them obsolete by issuing dollar backed AmericaBits you could spend online or redeem at any bank. But getting way ahead of ourselves with that speculation...
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