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Author Topic: Bitcoin Foundation receives cease and desist order from California  (Read 25929 times)
jgarzik
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June 23, 2013, 06:47:28 PM
 #61

The first comment on Hacker News clears a lot of this up:
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5927892

Quote
Most of the comments here are not particularly well-informed and should be ignored.

Not as much as you think.  Google around for Aaron Greenspan (ThinkComp), the author.

(and PS, this duplicates an earlier post in this thread ;p)


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June 23, 2013, 06:56:38 PM
 #62

Lol oops, totally missed that other post.
I always thought Chuck Schumer would be the guy to lead the destruction of bitcoin via government fascism. What's up with California they are either broke and desperate for even the tiny bit of change leaking out of the economy via bitcoin or they are run by Paypal lobbyists.
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June 23, 2013, 06:57:32 PM
 #63

Lol oops, totally missed that other post.
I always thought Chuck Schumer would be the guy to lead the destruction of bitcoin via government fascism. What's up with California they are either broke and desperate for even the tiny bit of change leaking out of the economy via bitcoin or they are run by Paypal lobbyists.


Or this has nothing to do with software or bitcoins, but probably that they promote bitinstant and mt gox as on the board.

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June 23, 2013, 06:58:21 PM
 #64

I'll sign up to help pay Gavin's salary directly if he ever asks for it. All he needs to do is set up a ReDonate account or equivalent.

ಠ_ಠ

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June 23, 2013, 07:00:21 PM
 #65

Do we have any actual lawyer amidst us who can shed some light?

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June 23, 2013, 07:02:14 PM
 #66

Marco Santori posts here regularly:

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=206305.msg2158027#msg2158027

If he is online maybe he can offer an opinion (if he has not already been retained).

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June 23, 2013, 07:02:51 PM
 #67

Do we have any actual lawyer amidst us who can shed some light?

That's where this needs to be. Why doesn't some mod move it to the legal sub?

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June 23, 2013, 07:03:18 PM
 #68

Bitcoin exposes how important control of the monetary system is.
I would suggest that whoever is actively involved in the Bitcoin Foundation move out of the US.

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June 23, 2013, 07:05:24 PM
 #69

You people there are so naive...sorry for my tone, I really like most of you but it has begun and you still negotiate!

Naiveté doesn't even begin to account for the level of delusion in some sectors of this community.

Most of you will never realize, until it is too late, that "law enforcement" almost universally have below-average IQ, zero compunction, and usually some type of un-diagnosed mental illness.  And it doesn't matter whether you're talking about the ones that sit in cars all day eating donuts, or the ones that sit in offices with air conditioning.

Two weeks ago, I had a Federal agent lie straight to my face, then turn around five minutes later and do the exact same thing he claimed he would not do.  When I pointed this out to him, he actually looked surprised, like physically shocked, as though some other personality had been the one to do it.

These people peddle bullshit as a profession.  Their only measure of success is whether you cooperate with them.  Every step you take towards that end is just moving you closer to their end goal of complete control.

You gave them a "foundation" to target and attempt to gain control over.  Don't act surprised now that they actually do so.

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June 23, 2013, 07:14:00 PM
 #70


Most of you will never realize, until it is too late, that "law enforcement" almost universally have below-average IQ, zero compunction, and usually some type of un-diagnosed mental illness.  And it doesn't matter whether you're talking about the ones that sit in cars all day eating donuts, or the ones that sit in offices with air conditioning.


+1 Agree!

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June 23, 2013, 07:14:40 PM
 #71

You people there are so naive...sorry for my tone, I really like most of you but it has begun and you still negotiate!
You gave them a "foundation" to target and attempt to gain control over.  Don't act surprised now that they actually do so.
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June 23, 2013, 07:19:55 PM
 #72

ReDonate is a better effort than most.  Typically, donations are so unpredictable that no sane developer would rely on them for income, especially if they are supporting a family.  ReDonate solves some of those problems, but not necessarily all.  Getting recurring donations working at all was a big step.  However more ideal -- and what Bitcoin Foundation can provide -- is
  • stable salary with benefits
  • handles the burst-y ebb and flow of donations
  • mostly* frees the engineer from drudgery of constantly campaigning for funds

Donations and bounties are rarely effective in getting and giving long term commitments to open source engineers.
Sounds like an opportunity for someone to code a better solution.

In the meantime, one developer is able to use the existing tools to successfully predict (a portion of) future donation income.

To make the model more successful, he could set a pledge goal and have a web site that automatically displays how close he is to reaching that goal. That shouldn't be difficult to solve via coding.

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June 23, 2013, 07:23:59 PM
 #73

Is Peter Vessenes still the head of TBF?

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June 23, 2013, 07:40:50 PM
 #74

They shouldn't have set up the foundation in the first place - it just put a big target on their back. All these orgs are weak points.

OK i accept the need for some gateways - but they all need to be located outside the United States.

To deal with this all they need to do is formally dissolve the foundation and then they arn't breaking any law California has invented. After all Bitcoin doesn't need the foundation - it survived 5 years without it.

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June 23, 2013, 07:52:50 PM
 #75

Hi everyone. I have not been retained for this matter.  I believe the Foundation has its own competent legal counsel, so I'm happy to weigh in on this independently.  

One of three things just happened:

1) California's DFI just derped. Hard.  Someone over there (whether it's Crayton, Venchiarutti, both or someone senior to them) believes that the Foundation actively issues, exchanges or transmits BTC or fiat.  They might have even confused the Bitcoin Foundation with the Bitcoin Project.  ...Let's get serious for a minute: These men are so ignorant as to believe this.  To the contrary, they strike me as fairly intelligent people who would have done their diligence before sending a C&D. I think (1) is out.

2) DFI did not derp at all.  DFI believes that the Foundation's passive role in the industry means it "conducts, controls, manages, supervises, directs, or owns" a money transmission business.  The Foundation is about to face a very real legal battle with DFI fighting this theory.  I don't believe this is the case either.  To use a popular example: the RIAA does not conduct, control, manage or supervise any recording business.  It's the other way around. EMI, Sony, UMG and its other constituent businesses control the RIAA.  I don't think DFI has any evidence to the contrary. I think (2) is out as well.

3) DFI is being political.  It doesn't know for sure what the Foundation does, doesn't know for sure whether it has its hands in any money transmission business, doesn't know the extent of its relationship with the Bitcoin Project and doesn't know the extent of its relationship with its constituent businesses.  I would wager that only Foundation insiders (that's a very short list) know this.  DFI isn't going to sit on the sidelines while this information stays in the Foundation's black box.  Instead, it has begun a dialogue with the Foundation via a very special political method: a nasty letter.  The Foundation is now compelled to respond and show their cards to a certain degree.  Not legally compelled, of course, but practically compelled to explain their role in detail, and perhaps even provide evidence for their characterizations.  By opening this dialogue, DFI will not be caught with its pants down when "this whole Bitcoin thing" gets big.  To be sure, it is discharging its regulatory and investigative duties.  Practically, though, it's doing a little CYA to put itself in a good position to say "We got out in front of this early." You've all probably gathered that this (3) is precisely what I think is going on.  (1) and (2) above don't strike me as likely at all.

Some of you seem to believe that a battle line has been drawn, that the regulators are now on the offensive against BTC, and will conduct your businesses accordingly.  I would caution against that approach.  I don't think yours is a "conspiracy theory", but like conspiracy theories, this approach presumes that there is some powerful group, or at least a loose association of people at the helm of the regulation, who are steering the course of BTC in a way that favors their stakeholders - banks, paypal, Western Union, etc.  I think that the truth is actually more terrifying: the regulation is rudderless.  There is nobody and no particular group of people at the helm.  There are only competing interests, like banks, bitcoiners, money transmitters and legislators who are all pulling at their own oars, trying to propel the ship in their own preferred direction.  There is no course plotted.  The ship will move forward, that's for sure.  But the strongest, loudest and most dominant rowers will determine its path.

It will be interesting to see if this is part of a larger, blanket effort.  The coming days will tell.

Marco Santori is a lawyer, but not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.  If you do have specific questions, though, please don't hesitate to PM me.  We've learned this forum isn't 100% secure, so you might prefer to email me.  Maybe I can help!  Depending upon your jurisdiction, this post might be construed as attorney advertising, so: attorney advertising Smiley
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June 23, 2013, 08:00:06 PM
 #76

Hi everyone. I have not been retained for this matter.  I believe the Foundation has its own competent legal counsel, so I'm happy to weigh in on this independently.  

One of three things just happened:

1) California's DFI just derped. Hard.  Someone over there (whether it's Crayton, Venchiarutti, both or someone senior to them) believes that the Foundation actively issues, exchanges or transmits BTC or fiat.  They might have even confused the Bitcoin Foundation with the Bitcoin Project.  ...Let's get serious for a minute: These men are so ignorant as to believe this.  To the contrary, they strike me as fairly intelligent people who would have done their diligence before sending a C&D. I think (1) is out.

2) DFI did not derp at all.  DFI believes that the Foundation's passive role in the industry means it "conducts, controls, manages, supervises, directs, or owns" a money transmission business.  The Foundation is about to face a very real legal battle with DFI fighting this theory.  I don't believe this is the case either.  To use a popular example: the RIAA does not conduct, control, manage or supervise any recording business.  It's the other way around. EMI, Sony, UMG and its other constituent businesses control the RIAA.  I don't think DFI has any evidence to the contrary. I think (2) is out as well.

3) DFI is being political.  It doesn't know for sure what the Foundation does, doesn't know for sure whether it has its hands in any money transmission business, doesn't know the extent of its relationship with the Bitcoin Project and doesn't know the extent of its relationship with its constituent businesses.  I would wager that only Foundation insiders (that's a very short list) know this.  DFI isn't going to sit on the sidelines while this information stays in the Foundation's black box.  Instead, it has begun a dialogue with the Foundation via a very special political method: a nasty letter.  The Foundation is now compelled to respond and show their cards to a certain degree.  Not legally compelled, of course, but practically compelled to explain their role in detail, and perhaps even provide evidence for their characterizations.  By opening this dialogue, DFI will not be caught with its pants down when "this whole Bitcoin thing" gets big.  To be sure, it is discharging its regulatory and investigative duties.  Practically, though, it's doing a little CYA to put itself in a good position to say "We got out in front of this early." You've all probably gathered that this (3) is precisely what I think is going on.  (1) and (2) above don't strike me as likely at all.

Some of you seem to believe that a battle line has been drawn, that the regulators are now on the offensive against BTC, and will conduct your businesses accordingly.  I would caution against that approach.  I don't think yours is a "conspiracy theory", but like conspiracy theories, this approach presumes that there is some powerful group, or at least a loose association of people at the helm of the regulation, who are steering the course of BTC in a way that favors their stakeholders - banks, paypal, Western Union, etc.  I think that the truth is actually more terrifying: the regulation is rudderless.  There is nobody and no particular group of people at the helm.  There are only competing interests, like banks, bitcoiners, money transmitters and legislators who are all pulling at their own oars, trying to propel the ship in their own preferred direction.  There is no course plotted.  The ship will move forward, that's for sure.  But the strongest, loudest and most dominant rowers will determine its path.

It will be interesting to see if this is part of a larger, blanket effort.  The coming days will tell.

Reading the letter, it seems they are in direct violation of CA Code 2030. Could you shed some light on this?

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June 23, 2013, 08:01:15 PM
 #77

 I think that the truth is actually more terrifying: the regulation is rudderless.  


This... It's perversely comforting to imagine there's a cabal of power players running the world from the shadows with uncanny ingenuity. In that scenario, you may not agree with the direction, but at least someone competent is at the helm. The scarier, more realistic option is what MSantori proposes, that no-one qualified is running the show.
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June 23, 2013, 08:03:29 PM
 #78

I don't think yours is a "conspiracy theory", but like conspiracy theories, this approach presumes that there is some powerful group, or at least a loose association of people at the helm of the regulation, who are steering the course of BTC in a way that favors their stakeholders - banks, paypal, Western Union, etc.  I think that the truth is actually more terrifying: the regulation is rudderless.  There is nobody and no particular group of people at the helm.

Centralized money-printing sets the course of the economy, and of the government that depends upon it.  The direction is towards centralization and control.  It isn't a "conspiracy theory".  Ben Bernanke gives regular press conferences.  It's the entire reason Bitcoin even exists.

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June 23, 2013, 08:03:46 PM
 #79

The letter is dated 30th May ... why so much fuss today ?
Surely discussions have been going on for more than 3 weeks already

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June 23, 2013, 08:11:30 PM
 #80

There must be hundres of these departments.
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