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Author Topic: Proactive engagement (anti-government types: ignore this thread)  (Read 4288 times)
Gavin Andresen
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June 29, 2011, 06:45:18 PM
 #1

One of Bitcoin's major challenges is the legal uncertainty surrounding it.

It is really no different from other new Internet technologies (should Skype be regulated like a phone company? Does google's deep-linking violate copyright? ... to give two examples from a few years ago...), but because it is money there are a lot more laws and regulations that may or may not apply.

It'd be easy to ignore that and just damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead with the technology. And given the nature of geeks on the Internet, that is what is going to happen anyway... but I decided it wouldn't hurt to try to be proactive and start a conversation with my representatives in Washington, DC about the Bitcoin Project.

So I met briefly with staffers from Rep. Olver and Sen. Brown's offices yesterday. I gave a very brief overview of bitcoin, mentioned Senator Schumer's "eradicate Silk Road" press conference, and stressed that Bitcoin is meant to be a stable, secure, international currency for the Internet, NOT a currency for criminals.

I also mentioned that the legal uncertainty is a barrier to innovation, and asked for advice on what, if anything, could be done about that. There is no good answer-- government moves really slowly, and they're wedging newfangled Internet ideas into legal structures that were created when telephone were the latest and greatest technology.

However, the house of representatives staffer I talked with did suggest that encouraging you-all to introduce yourselves to your congressperson's staff is a good idea.  If they know that interesting, job-creating bitcoin businesses are happening in their districts and they've met the person making it happen, then they're much more likely to support bitcoin-friendly legislation.

So, if you're an upstanding, law-abiding, clear-thinking citizen doing interesting things with Bitcoin, I encourage you to take a little time and introduce yourself to your representative's staff. I wouldn't bother talking to the representative-- they're probably too old to really understand bitcoin ("Tubes!  Money through the tubes I say!"). Talk to a 20-something staffer who grew up with the Internet and is likely to be a lot more sympathetic to the idea of a peer-to-peer Internet money.

How often do you get the chance to work on a potentially world-changing project?
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BitcoinPorn
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June 29, 2011, 06:54:19 PM
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..the house of representatives staffer I talked with did suggest that encouraging you-all to introduce yourselves to your congressperson's staff is a good idea.  If they know that interesting, job-creating bitcoin businesses are happening in their districts and they've met the person making it happen, then they're much more likely to support bitcoin-friendly legislation.

So, if you're an upstanding, law-abiding, clear-thinking citizen doing interesting things with Bitcoin, I encourage you to take a little time and introduce yourself to your representative's staff. I wouldn't bother talking to the representative-- they're probably too old to really understand bitcoin ("Tubes!  Money through the tubes I say!"). Talk to a 20-something staffer who grew up with the Internet and is likely to be a lot more sympathetic to the idea of a peer-to-peer Internet money.

Such excellent advice.  I mean, really those people with the larger amounts of Bitcoin, start throwing it back into your city locally and do it loud.   Spending Bitcoin legally means only so much if everyone thinks we are getting only heroin and weed out of this digital currency.

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June 29, 2011, 08:16:12 PM
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We need to keep pushing ! We need to explain to people how the government can actually benefit in a Bitcoin world.

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elk-tamer
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June 29, 2011, 08:36:30 PM
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So, if you're an upstanding, law-abiding, clear-thinking citizen doing interesting things with Bitcoin, I encourage you to take a little time and introduce yourself to your representative's staff.

Hilarious. Maybe you could use a bitcoin transaction to conditionally surrender yourself to the authorities if they decide it's illegal.
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June 29, 2011, 09:04:29 PM
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So, if you're an upstanding, law-abiding, clear-thinking citizen doing interesting things with Bitcoin, I encourage you to take a little time and introduce yourself to your representative's staff.

Hilarious. Maybe you could use a bitcoin transaction to conditionally surrender yourself to the authorities if they decide it's illegal.

If they make it illegal I think most people will immediately back away, then the real "fun" begins.

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June 29, 2011, 09:16:58 PM
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So, if you're an upstanding, law-abiding, clear-thinking citizen doing interesting things with Bitcoin, I encourage you to take a little time and introduce yourself to your representative's staff.

Hilarious. Maybe you could use a bitcoin transaction to conditionally surrender yourself to the authorities if they decide it's illegal.

If they make it illegal I think most people will immediately back away, then the real "fun" begins.

I'm in Canada. We thrive off of supplying things to the USA that are illegal for political reasons.
Jonathan Ryan Owens
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June 29, 2011, 09:55:48 PM
 #7

We need to keep pushing ! We need to explain to people how the government can actually benefit in a Bitcoin world.

The current crop of politicians can not benefit from a Bitcoin world. Ron Paul would thrive, but that he could end up as president is a running joke, and even if he did win, he'd be dead in a week.

Andrew Vorobyov
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June 29, 2011, 10:06:36 PM
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Hmm... I never understood such approach - being friendly and making friends with everybody.

You have an idea, you say it loud - there will be people who join there will be people who not...

All this being nice and shit - road to nowhere - they will dump you when good time will come for them...

Stand what you are and see who joins you - they are friends - talk to them

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June 29, 2011, 10:51:19 PM
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Quote
anti-government types: ignore this thread

Well Gavin, it was worth a try, but I'm just going to throw this back up in bold type just in case we can avoid having this derailed by even more ill-formed opinions.

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June 29, 2011, 10:53:33 PM
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Gavin, I think this proactive approach is smart.  Yes, we should stand up for what be believe, and take care not to be co-opted, but if we don't explain all the positive, legitimate aspects of Bitcoin to our members of Congress, then they're sure to just believe whatever misinformation the media and banking industry throw out.  They may believe it anyway, but it's worth a try.  And many of the pro-business members of congress who are not too closely allied to the banking industry might be natural allies.

As soon as I get my current Bitcoin venture off the ground over the next few weeks (business license, LLC organization, first contractor hired, etc.), then I'll be sure to make an appointment with technology-aware staffers of both my state senators and representatives and members of Congress.


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June 30, 2011, 04:15:37 AM
 #11

All this being nice and shit - road to nowhere - they will dump you when good time will come for them...

Stand what you are and see who joins you - they are friends - talk to them
Do you really think that is a successful strategy? The more we make this into a war between opposing forces (bitcoiners and bithaters), the more at risk Bitcoin will become. Instead the best course of action clearly is to befriend the enemy and avoid unneeded friction. If you act nervous or defensive then stronger forces might naturally give chase. If we teach them why Bitcoin is viable as an online currency instead of trying to force them to accept, the chances for Bitcoins success are much greater.


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June 30, 2011, 04:45:01 AM
 #12

Interesting strategy, quite machiavellian too. Introduce bitcoin as a friendly, cuddly alternative to government scrip, the new-fangled "money through the inter-tubes for the future" thingy .... quite harmless really.

... net result a trojan, I like it. Phone those congress critters up and tell them all about it. Smile sweetly as you dream of the day their pay will be denominated in BTC.

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June 30, 2011, 04:46:05 AM
 #13

Gavin is correct. People with power will always be there - even in an anarchy. Make friends with them by offering them a good deal and they can help you achieve your goals.

Proving experience: I have a client who has been devoted in promoting an alternative medicine field for the last 50 years. His strategy was always to look for the most important people he could find to offer a cure that they or some member of their family would badly need. Because his alternative medicine worked time after time again, he has gained the trust and support of several high-position people worldwide, and his field is now hugely more recognised even by the established medical society who would oppose him like hell in the beginning. I don't want to disclose the details, but if anyone seriously needs them for a good cause, I can provide it.

Possible Bitcoin application of the strategy: Find a deputy/MP in your country that you can approach and try to convince them to accept donations for their campaign in Bitcoins. Tell them that there are so many people that don't know what to do with their Bitcoins, and that he can simply try having nothing to lose. Tell him how he can offer complete transparency with this method. Tell him that he can actually spend the donated Bitcoins to buy services of other people that he needs (thus circulating them and enhancing the effect). Tell him that he might be written in history as a visionary and a hero (Good risk/reward). Ask him to support the Bitcoin idea publicly.

I will try this. In Greece it's not difficult at the moment to convince someone about the futility of fiat currency  Smiley. And MPs are in such shit (there's one or two quitting per day) that I tend to think they would try anything.

I'll get back with results, hopefully soon.

Thanks for the idea Gavin.

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Andrew Vorobyov
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June 30, 2011, 12:35:50 PM
 #14

instead of trying to force them to accept

That's my position - you don't force anyone... more of it - you don't even try to explain why it's good... just explain what is it and what it can do.

The people who has eyes will see benefits - who don't - it's their problem.

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June 30, 2011, 03:34:12 PM
 #15

I'm for one glad that Dev's on here are leveled cool headed people, instead of some radical extremist punks whose main initiative to destroy everything on their path without regard to people surrounding them.
And it's +1 reason why I believe in this project.


Don't need to force anyone, don't need to focus on how bad the competition. Just work on your thing and spread the word about features and benefits of Bitcoin.
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June 30, 2011, 03:43:28 PM
 #16

I don't condemn your attitude, I'm just not confident it will be effective, particularly considering big governments as USSA. It might be more effective in places where financial privacy is less attacked and the government doesn't depend that much on inflation, like Switzerland.

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July 01, 2011, 12:01:11 AM
 #17

That's a wonderful idea!

Synereo: a completely decentralized and distributed application ecosystem.

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July 04, 2011, 01:49:00 PM
 #18

I am one of those "anti-government types"  but I would like to respectfully comment that I think an "out of sight, out of mind"  approach may be worthwhile.
I can't think of a time that any new government law or regulation was helpful to me or my business.

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July 04, 2011, 06:18:48 PM
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Idealism, not based in reality at all.

Why on earth would a government that requires tax dollars to function ever support anything that isn't under its total control?
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July 04, 2011, 06:41:45 PM
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Idealism, not based in reality at all.

Why on earth would a government that requires tax dollars to function ever support anything that isn't under its total control?

Agreed.  Plus, governments also like to control the supply of money, a concept that bitcoin was clearly designed to avoid.  I doubt there will be a lot of sympathetic governments.  It's important to understand that people in government (like all other people) are there to help themselves, first and foremost, not those they govern.  Examine the incentives and it'll become clear that there will be very few BTC allies that are in position of power.

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