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Author Topic: PSA: If gold were illegal... (Gold WAS illegal!)  (Read 336 times)
nullius
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December 09, 2017, 08:48:57 AM
Merited by ETFbitcoin (3), avikz (2), mk4 (2), JollyGood (1), rosezionjohn (1)
 #1

The following is a real-life allegory pertaining to gold’s new competitor, Bitcoin.

What would you do, if gold were made illegal?

Think it can’t happen?  Well—how many of you are American?  Private individual ownership of gold coins and bars was illegal in the United States for four decades.  “Hoarding” individual wealth in gold was banned from 1 May 1933 until 31 December 1974.  Vast amounts of gold bullion were confiscated from people, who were forced to accept instead the Monopoly Money known as “United States Dollars”.  Numerous individuals were criminally prosecuted for attempting to keep their gold—a crime according to Executive Orders 6102, 6111, 6260, and 6261, and the Gold Reserve Act passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.


U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs law criminalizing gold
30 January 1934

This is fact, not fancy.  Not some weird theory.  This is history:  It actually happened.  And if it happened before, it could happen again.

Well, you might say:  What if nobody knows I have any gold?  That would require that you buy it anonymously.  Store it in secret.  Never brag about it.  Never use it in any way which can be traced.  And take precautions, just in case somebody may be making a list of people who own gold.

Please take care of your Bitcoin privacy—and your privacy with gold, too.

It happened: “CRIMINAL PENALTIES... 10 years imprisonment...” for keeping gold!

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December 09, 2017, 09:16:44 AM
 #2

I was just reading your posts, phenomenal..
It is hard finding good reads like that around here..
Been into crypto since digicash and privacy long before..

On this topic I do not doubt it could happen at all, and I read that some senate bill just made it illegal to hide the fact that you own bitcoin in the USA..
Scary stuff.. I just got done reading your post on bitcoin privacy and this all really is a lot to think about..

For myself I have never hid my involvement with bitcoin, my friends and family know about Bitcoin because of me, and I can be doxed 100 ways from Sunday..

I think it is to late for me to go private, my case is a lost cause..

But I would be fascinated to read more intelligent conversation about the risks we are subjected to such as the subject of this thread and what a person can do to start implementing privacy in their lives, and how to really learn the practice, to mitigate it to a reasonable extent..

What you said about google being the best mind reading technology yet invented, it is so true, and just feels like the problem is so far above my head I may as well submit..

I use TOR for experimenting on it and maybe reading some interesting things, but I wouldn't really have the first idea if I was actually anonymous because of all the gotchas I read can get you.. I don't trust running it to keep me safe from anything because I just don't know..

I just trade crypto, I'm good on an exchange, love the numbers and thrill.. I'm not much of a computers and code, understanding how everything really works kind of guy..
I look into it and know much more than your average joe, but it gets over my head fast..
I feel I've used my abilities of that sort up on actual machines.. I can wrap my head around very complex systems of the physical nature, but when it comes to software, it's a lot harder for me.. I haven't been doing this complex computer stuff all my life like I have other things..
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February 04, 2020, 02:28:29 PM
 #3

The following is a real-life allegory pertaining to gold’s new competitor, Bitcoin.

What would you do, if gold were made illegal?

Think it can’t happen?  Well—how many of you are American?  Private individual ownership of gold coins and bars was illegal in the United States for four decades.  “Hoarding” individual wealth in gold was banned from 1 May 1933 until 31 December 1974.  Vast amounts of gold bullion were confiscated from people, who were forced to accept instead the Monopoly Money known as “United States Dollars”.  Numerous individuals were criminally prosecuted for attempting to keep their gold—a crime according to Executive Orders 6102, 6111, 6260, and 6261, and the Gold Reserve Act passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

~snip~


I just found this link from another thread: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=5214200.msg53594883#msg53594883

What a fantastic post, lots of historical facts which were frankly not known to me. Using the gold analogy it seems Bitcoin and other crypto holders are at a massive disadvantage because all of their activity at exchanges has been logged and that alongside their bank transactions would be available to governmental agencies in a second or so of requesting/demanding them. How would crypto owners be able to tackle that when their personal information is already out there?

When it comes to people in power and the executive orders that can be signed off whenever they are in the mood, they can be introduced and implemented with minimal ease after they release various forms of legitimate information (or fearmongering or propaganda) to the masses.

When it comes to Bitcoin, people should be ready for all eventualities I guess.

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February 04, 2020, 03:41:13 PM
 #4


I just found this link from another thread: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=5214200.msg53594883#msg53594883

What a fantastic post, lots of historical facts which were frankly not known to me. Using the gold analogy it seems Bitcoin and other crypto holders are at a massive disadvantage because all of their activity at exchanges has been logged and that alongside their bank transactions would be available to governmental agencies in a second or so of requesting/demanding them. How would crypto owners be able to tackle that when their personal information is already out there?

When it comes to Bitcoin, people should be ready for all eventualities I guess.

Technically, if you transfer crypto to the cold wallet, you can always "forget" access details to such a wallet. And good luck to anyone trying to brute force hack BTC cold wallet!

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February 04, 2020, 04:15:50 PM
 #5


I just found this link from another thread: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=5214200.msg53594883#msg53594883

What a fantastic post, lots of historical facts which were frankly not known to me. Using the gold analogy it seems Bitcoin and other crypto holders are at a massive disadvantage because all of their activity at exchanges has been logged and that alongside their bank transactions would be available to governmental agencies in a second or so of requesting/demanding them. How would crypto owners be able to tackle that when their personal information is already out there?

When it comes to Bitcoin, people should be ready for all eventualities I guess.

Technically, if you transfer crypto to the cold wallet, you can always "forget" access details to such a wallet. And good luck to anyone trying to brute force hack BTC cold wallet!

Simply Cold storage is the best wallet for Bitcoin to keep them safe from hackers but it is not safe in mishandling it and thieves, It is still prone to get lost, but cold storage is a great wallet to start if your hoarding lots on Bitcoin, and just keep a minimum amount on your online wallet for fast transaction,

Well as the OP's topic it is indeed a good read about the history of Gold and I am not aware that it is made illegal by lawmakers I thought that it is OK to get gold or just pick up a piece of it on a cave or some river and sell it for a ton of cash but I am wrong about it, You would surely need documents that you really own a ton of Gold before selling it to a bank, I guess collectors is the best option to make you sell when you get your hand with one.

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February 04, 2020, 04:25:36 PM
 #6


Simply Cold storage is the best wallet for Bitcoin to keep them safe from hackers but it is not safe in mishandling it and thieves, It is still prone to get lost, but cold storage is a great wallet to start if your hoarding lots on Bitcoin, and just keep a minimum amount on your online wallet for fast transaction,

Unless you keep separately private keys/seed phrases hidden.

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February 04, 2020, 04:28:52 PM
 #7

Banned for more or less 41 years.. While it's really not unlikely for something similar to happen to bitcoin, imagine when it happens. I'm not entirely sure what happened in the past, but is it probably safe to assume that a decent number of people(but definitely not that much) would be on the streets and sort of protest? Things like this are far easier to organize right now due to the internet and social media existing. What do you think?

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February 04, 2020, 04:29:06 PM
 #8

The following is a real-life allegory pertaining to gold’s new competitor, Bitcoin.

What would you do, if gold were made illegal?

Think it can’t happen?  Well—how many of you are American?  Private individual ownership of gold coins and bars was illegal in the United States for four decades.  “Hoarding” individual wealth in gold was banned from 1 May 1933 until 31 December 1974.  Vast amounts of gold bullion were confiscated from people, who were forced to accept instead the Monopoly Money known as “United States Dollars”.  Numerous individuals were criminally prosecuted for attempting to keep their gold—a crime according to Executive Orders 6102, 6111, 6260, and 6261, and the Gold Reserve Act passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

~snip~


I just found this link from another thread: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=5214200.msg53594883#msg53594883

What a fantastic post, lots of historical facts which were frankly not known to me. Using the gold analogy it seems Bitcoin and other crypto holders are at a massive disadvantage because all of their activity at exchanges has been logged and that alongside their bank transactions would be available to governmental agencies in a second or so of requesting/demanding them. How would crypto owners be able to tackle that when their personal information is already out there?

When it comes to people in power and the executive orders that can be signed off whenever they are in the mood, they can be introduced and implemented with minimal ease after they release various forms of legitimate information (or fearmongering or propaganda) to the masses.

When it comes to Bitcoin, people should be ready for all eventualities I guess.

A ban will only work in a one world government setting.
 I believe while it was illegal to hold gold back then in USA, it was not illegal in many countries? Crypto/decentralization exist on the internet. Internet is global network. You will need to convince every government that crypto is a danger to humanity and the world. Fortunately, a well decentralized crypto can make any society much safer & help root out most evil and corruptions... Shouldn't we be allowed to prove this with crypto?



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February 04, 2020, 04:29:41 PM
 #9

The prime difference between now and then it that people and capital are infinitely more mobile.

If the same were to be attempted today they would be able to go straight to my door. They would also find it empty as I'd be in the nearest country that wasn't pulling crap like that.

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February 04, 2020, 04:30:36 PM
Merited by JollyGood (1)
 #10

How would crypto owners be able to tackle that when their personal information is already out there?
Those of us who have ever touched an exchange are the easiest to track. What happened with gold can easily happen with Bitcoin. So what one should ensure is to have a part of your BTC earnings going regularly into an untraceable, unknown wallet.
Although someone with better experience can explain this, the steps towards doing this would be:
1.) Transfer all your exchange amounts to a common address.
2.) Go to Chipmixer or some other mixer's TOR network. (Although, the blinded mixers that Nullius mentioned here would be preferable for complete delinking)
3.) Get your chips onto an air-gapped laptop and transfer to a paper wallet

It is true that we all leave all sort of identifying information over our official and personal use of internet. So much so that it is nearly impossible to completely delink your online identity with your real one. Here is how Jameson Lopp pulled it off. I also had a link where Lopp actually described on his twitter feed about how to do this but can't find it now.

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February 04, 2020, 05:17:19 PM
 #11

The prime difference between now and then it that people and capital are infinitely more mobile.

If the same were to be attempted today they would be able to go straight to my door. They would also find it empty as I'd be in the nearest country that wasn't pulling crap like that.
The money would be flying out of the nation at an unprecedented rate. People would be smuggling gold so quickly as well it would be wild, boats would be leaving everywhere lined with the stuff heading to more economically friendly nations.

I hope.

Honestly if a nation pulls this shit again it would be intriguing to see what happens and how much they suffer Economically for their arrogance.

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=5236972.0 DONATE TO BRUNO AND WIN SOMETHING!
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February 04, 2020, 05:51:37 PM
 #12

Yes, I agree with you, what goes around - comes around. That's the reason why I personally don't want us to move on cashless society. If they do this, then they'll be able to freeze our accounts, they also don't care about our privacy and they let visa to along with their partner banks to implement face recognition (play with smile) payments in CEMEA countries. (That's why I hate amazon's alexa, Fitbit's tracking system and etc but this last one is beneficial especially during workout Cheesy).
So who knows, that era may return again.
You remember when alcohol was illegal in USA? That was very stupid decision like making gold illegal too. They don't know what to do, from what to make money and where to gain monopoly.
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February 04, 2020, 05:53:02 PM
 #13

Yes, I agree with you, what goes around - comes around. That's the reason why I personally don't want us to move on cashless society. If they do this, then they'll be able to freeze our accounts, they also don't care about our privacy and they let visa to along with their partner banks to implement face recognition (play with smile) payments in CEMEA countries. (That's why I hate amazon's alexa, Fitbit's tracking system and etc but this last one is beneficial especially during workout Cheesy).
So who knows, that era may return again.
You remember when alcohol was illegal in USA? That was very stupid decision like making gold illegal too. They don't know what to do, from what to make money and where to gain monopoly.
That's the whole point of crypto, they can't freeze your accounts, they can try and track down who's who and what they could have from information from exchanges but they can't get into your account. Not their keys not their coins.

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February 04, 2020, 06:03:06 PM
 #14

That link for Jameson Lopp makes interesting reading. The man went to extraordinary lengths in order effectively trying to take himself out of public and traceable view but with the DMV he left his real name? Strange.

~snip ~

It is true that we all leave all sort of identifying information over our official and personal use of internet. So much so that it is nearly impossible to completely delink your online identity with your real one. Here is how Jameson Lopp pulled it off. I also had a link where Lopp actually described on his twitter feed about how to do this but can't find it now.

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February 04, 2020, 06:07:28 PM
 #15

But most of the bans are not retrospective. If government bans bitcoin today, it doesn't mean I will be prosecuted because government can track the trade I made yesterday. So unlike gold, I have a clear working plan if bitcoin gets banned. I can immediately send all my bitcoins into hiding using mixers. I can even sell them in disguise. All these features weren't present in case of gold so government could easily locate the person if he tried to sell gold in market. With bitcoins there isn't such problem.
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February 05, 2020, 03:36:07 AM
 #16

But most of the bans are not retrospective. If government bans bitcoin today, it doesn't mean I will be prosecuted because government can track the trade I made yesterday. So unlike gold, I have a clear working plan if bitcoin gets banned. I can immediately send all my bitcoins into hiding using mixers. I can even sell them in disguise. All these features weren't present in case of gold so government could easily locate the person if he tried to sell gold in market. With bitcoins there isn't such problem.

I don't think it won't be that easy for someone who doesn't take his/her privacy seriously, but it completely depends on how far the government would like to track your funds. For instance, if you bought bitcoin and sent it to a mixing/coinjoin service, they might prosecute you for that. Yea sure you could tell the authorities that you already don't have access to the funds, but you get what I mean. It's definitely doable, but can be difficult for some.

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February 05, 2020, 04:44:31 AM
 #17

But most of the bans are not retrospective. If government bans bitcoin today, it doesn't mean I will be prosecuted because government can track the trade I made yesterday. So unlike gold, I have a clear working plan if bitcoin gets banned. I can immediately send all my bitcoins into hiding using mixers. I can even sell them in disguise. All these features weren't present in case of gold so government could easily locate the person if he tried to sell gold in market. With bitcoins there isn't such problem.

Partially true! Even if a government bans bitcoin today, they will give you a certain period of time to get out of it. Nowadays a government doesn't really likes to take arbitrary decisions. So you will definitely get an exit period during which you can sell off your bitcoins to the open market.

But yes, gold didn't have the technical advantages like bitcoin has today. You can definitely use mixers to hide the trail of the bitcoin and store in anonymously. Gold was physical and it has its own associated risks of handling! Similarly bitcoin has it own technical advantages!

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February 05, 2020, 05:04:42 AM
 #18

The prime difference between now and then it that people and capital are infinitely more mobile.

If the same were to be attempted today they would be able to go straight to my door. They would also find it empty as I'd be in the nearest country that wasn't pulling crap like that.
The money would be flying out of the nation at an unprecedented rate. People would be smuggling gold so quickly as well it would be wild, boats would be leaving everywhere lined with the stuff heading to more economically friendly nations.

I hope.

Honestly if a nation pulls this shit again it would be intriguing to see what happens and how much they suffer Economically for their arrogance.
Umm. I don't think it is so simple pulling off a "gold smuggle on the boats" if a country decides to implement such a rule again. With a bit of advanced planning and utilizing the full force of the state, a nation can easily stop any such outward flows. The kind of people who would be willing to take such a risk will be a miniuscle percentage comprised of the biggest fish. (Pre-emptively, a govt would go after them first)

Saying that the govt cannot pull off such a stunt again with a physical asset like gold is grave underestimation of the reach of state.

Physical confiscation of bitcoin would be harder for the state to pull off. Yet, the threat that nullius keeps repeating is that bitcoin is in fact, the easiest to follow.
Why do I really care about Bitcoin privacy?

Bitcoin can instead be exploited to become a weapon for tyranny.  The blockchain is a nearly-ideal system for financial mass-surveillance. Really, I do not understand why people don’t grasp the obvious:  The blockchain is a global public ledger, the worst possible concept for financial privacy!

For those who wish to convert Bitcoin into a tool for enforcing the iron grip of bankers, spies, and corrupt governments, the only spoiler is that Bitcoin is permissionless.  We can thus build upon it technologies that prevent surveillance:  Blinded mixers, Joinmarket, Lightning Network, etc.

If Chipmixer successfully reinvents itself as a Chaumian blind mixer, then I will heartily endorse it as one of the best things to ever happen to Bitcoin, and moreover thus, a tool for any remaining humans to resist reduction to meat-robots.  For contra “No HATE’s” values-inverting accusation that Chipmixer advertisers “sell their souls”, people who mix their coins on principle are the ones who still have souls.
Careless KYC's on exchanges and all sort of places will result in linking every one of ones transaction back to us. Maybe not so for the true cypherpunks but the late-comer wannabes like me would be caught dead to rights. All the more important that every bitcoiner learns to delink those ubiquitous transactions from their privately held stashes. And listen closely to what the true cypherpunks have to say.

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February 05, 2020, 05:11:35 AM
Last edit: February 06, 2020, 12:45:14 AM by Artemis3
 #19

Banned for more or less 41 years.. While it's really not unlikely for something similar to happen to bitcoin, imagine when it happens. I'm not entirely sure what happened in the past, but is it probably safe to assume that a decent number of people(but definitely not that much) would be on the streets and sort of protest? Things like this are far easier to organize right now due to the internet and social media existing. What do you think?

Yet another reason why bitcoin is better than gold, it cannot be seized (when handled properly). This tragic example once again demonstrates how the State becomes oppressor of their own people. I bet more than one American buried their gold and had to wait all these years before ever seeing it again. And there was probably a black market too...

This was simply a case of a gov seizing people's wealth. Never underestimate politicians stupidity, just one more reason why fiat is so dangerous, it is in control of them. Gold is a type wealth not in control of the State, and knows no borders.



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February 05, 2020, 07:47:42 AM
Merited by The Pharmacist (3), mk4 (2), johhnyUA (1)
 #20

Preface

Whilst previewing this post, I realized that it came off as too negative.  The Roosevelt gold seizure is a relatively recent historical precedent of a worst-case scenario.  A discussion thereof perforce will invoke our worst fears of what could actually happen, because it has happened in an allegedly civilized country that claims to be “free”.  A cold examination of reality is not only warranted, but necessary.  However, it does sound too much like “gloom and doom”.

To provide appropriate balance, I should thus add here up-top a bird’s-eye view of what can be done in the big picture:  Not only to protect oneself individually against the potential of such a seizure, but to help make such a seizure less likely by raising the cost to governments.

  • Grow the Bitcoin social phenomenon.  It is depressing to realize that Bitcoin adoption must surely still be a fraction of what individual gold ownership was in America in on 30 April, 1934.  The more you push adoption to as many people in as many places as you can, the more difficult it becomes for any major government to try to ban Bitcoin.
  • Keep privacy socially acceptable.  If Bitcoin achieves mass-“adoption”, but 99% of users only “use” Bitcoin on some Paypal 2.0 centralized KYC exchange, then that achieves relatively little to protect Bitcoin from adverse state interference; indeed, it may actually damage Bitcoin.  Get average people using reputable mixers (not the ones that smell like “darkweb”), and ultimately, get people onto Lightning.  Explain privacy in terms that don’t look like the sleazy mirror-image of mass-media smears against privacy.  (I myself am good for this:  I don’t do drugs; I have never bought anything off the “darkweb”; I just want privacy, because it is my right to keep my money stuffed under my virtual mattress!)

Observe that this strategy has a unifying element:  Helping people!  If you want to best protect your own money, Bitcoin coerces you to make the world a better place:  Protect others’ financial freedom, to build a mass-effect protecting your own financial freedom.  I think that’s a feature. :-)



Technically, if you transfer crypto to the cold wallet, you can always "forget" access details to such a wallet. And good luck to anyone trying to brute force hack BTC cold wallet!

...cold storage is a great wallet to start if your hoarding lots on Bitcoin, and just keep a minimum amount on your online wallet for fast transaction,

Well, you can be imprisoned and/or otherwise coerced to make you give up your cold wallet.


XKCD #538

The only real, effective protection is privacy:  Nobody can coerce you to give up what nobody knows you have.

So unlike gold, I have a clear working plan if bitcoin gets banned. I can immediately send all my bitcoins into hiding using mixers. I can even sell them in disguise.

Horse, barn door.Cat, bag. — Methinks it’s time for a new metaphor.

Nullian Rule of Privacy:  Losing your privacy is like contracting HIV.  It is irreparable—there is no going back—and it will ruin your life, even if you may take some measures to mitigate the damage and/or put off your demise.

Sending your coins into mixers after a ban is way too late!  Do you suppose that the government will just say, “Um, we can’t trace what happened to your coins; so, case closed!”  In case of a ban (or tantamount to a ban: a legal requirement of registering all crypto assets with a KYC service), any coins that you can’t prove you sold to a KYC-traceable entity will probably get you in trouble, on the presumption that you are just trying to hide them.

And before anybody says it:  No, “plausible deniability” is not privacy.

https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/pipermail/bitcoin-dev/2018-January/015547.html
Quote from: nullius
I despise the term “plausible deniability”...

I rather suspect the concept of “plausible deniability” of having been invented by a detective or agent provocateur.  There are few concepts more useful for helping suspects shoot themselves in the foot, or frankly, for entrapping people.

[...]
Code:
--
nullius@nym.zone | PGP ECC: 0xC2E91CD74A4C57A105F6C21B5A00591B2F307E0C
[...]
“‘If you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide.’
No!  Because I do nothing wrong, I have nothing to show.” — nullius

Privacy in this context means that nobody ever knew you had that Bitcoin.  I myself take this to an extreme:  Nobody IRL even knows that I am interested in Bitcoin!  It is for their protection as much as mine.

Well, that may be excessive—or maybe not, for you Americans:

https://blogs.findlaw.com/law_and_life/2019/07/the-irs-is-coming-for-your-gains-on-crypto-trading.html
Quote
"I can't discuss specific investigative actions that the agency may or may not take in the future," Justin Cole, director of communication and education at IRS' criminal investigation unit told Coinbase.

But the investigative techniques outlined in the training are expansive. In order to find out if someone is trading in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, agents could engage in some normal detective work, like "interviews, Open Source searches, and electronic surveillance." Or, they could just issue subpoenas to "Apple, Google, and Microsoft for the Subject's complete application download history," and determine what apps they use and whether they were engaged in bitcoin transactions.

Translation:  If they are suspicious that you may have secret Bitcoin, then they will grill your family, friends, and business associates (“interviews”), trawl your blogs, forum posts, and social media accounts (“Open Source” here means OSINT), tap your Internet connection and your phone (“electronic surveillance”), and even subpoena information on all the walled-garden app-store apps that you have ever downloaded, just to see if any of them may relate to crypto.  This is what they do when Bitcoin is legal.

Today in America.  And what starts in America, comes tomorrow to your country.

There is no joke.
I talked recently with a lawyer friend, who told me about the situation (about traders being chased by Romanian govern).

[...]

Max Nicula, the owner if the defunct BTCxChange stated recently that even today, 1.5 years after closing the exchange's site, he is unable to fully shut down the firm because ANAF (the Romanian version of IRS) started an investigation when he requested to close the operations. What is very important, he was requested to provide to the authorities all his customers names and data, which is also what happened at Coinbase. In that case, the company was requested forced to release the clients' data in order to function, while in this case the company has (still) to give out this data in order to be shut down.

[...]

What is important is that Coinbase history repeats and I suspect there are hundreds of other similar cases worlwide.

Again, that’s what they do when Bitcoin is legal, and the government is just looking for a slice of your pie instead of seizing the whole thing!

The historical precedent of the Roosevelt gold seizure invokes a threat model involving state-level actors, i.e., you need to hide your from your government any money that you would not willingly give up on demand.  Thus, now—no, yesterday is the time to make sure that nobody can ever in the future trace it to you, or even suspect that you have it.

Tips: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Privacy

For the 99% of people who will never even read that long wiki article, let alone do something about it, ChipMixer is a fast and easy way to at least help break up the publicly available money-trail that you are leaving all over the blockchain.  I am not paid to say that; and I am warning you that it is only the beginning, not the end of achieving strong privacy.



The Effect of the Ban Never Ended

Banned for more or less 41 years..

The substantial effect of the gold ban is still in full force.  The government simply no longer needs to maintain a legal ban, when individual ownership of gold is restricted to only relatively few wealthy investors (most of whom never take delivery—thus leaving possession, “nine-tenths of the law”, in control of banks), plus economically negligible amounts in the hands of socioeconomically and politically marginal goldbugs and “preppers”.  Seriously.  The system does not care if you and a few others have a few coins of an ounce or less.

“Mission accomplished:”  The American people have been bled of their gold; and via American economic and military dominance, so has the rest of the world.  Observe that American domestic law made gold “legal” again a few years after Nixon unilaterally wrecked the Bretton Woods Agreement, thus effectually doing to foreign governments something roughly analogous to what Roosevelt had done to the American people.  (Hmmm...)  As such was the United States Dollar fully transitioned into a fiat currency.

At that point, from the U.S. government’s perspective—yeah, sure, ok, let some right-wing nut in Flyover Country stash a few little gold coins.*  Whatever.  He can keep them between the ARs which he thinks he can use to “defend freedom” militia-style against a régime that twice steamrolled the most powerful Arab military without even blinking, among other exemplary demonstrations of military superpower, and subsequently used Iraq as a testbed for new technologies in asymmetric “counterinsurgency”—hey!  American “patriots”, did you notice that “your” military was busy perfecting unopposable “counterinsurgency” at exactly the same time as “your” domestic police forces suddenly became even more extremely militarized due to “post-911”?  Hmmm?  Anyway, sorry, a few bullion coins at the margins are meaningless in the big picture of the global financial system.

(* I say this without disrespect to the people thus insulted; I am stating the USG perspective on it, and urging would-be American freedom-fighters to be strategically realistic.  Don’t give up your AR, but don’t delude yourself into believing that this is 1774.)

Call me when most of the American middle-class again has gold (or at least actually redeemable gold certificates), and when the gold-clause business contract terms legally invalidated by the Roosevelt gold ban are again a custom in American business—another extremely important point missed by most “goldbugs”.  Personal money is small, except for the very wealthy.  Business money is big.  The customary use of gold in at least some significant fraction of business-to-business contractual payments was a lynchpin keeping the American domestic monetary system dependent on gold.  Roosevelt nullified gold-payment contract clauses by operation of law, forcing business owners to accept paper instead.*  Quick poll:  How many on this thread even knew that, or thought about it?

(* Such contractual clauses were made to explicitly override the legal-tender status of paper notes.  It is perfectly legal to agree that a contract is only payable in gold bullion, or in bitcoins, or in chocolate-dipped coffee beans, or in bouquets of fresh roses.  You are only required by law to accept legal tender for a debt if the counterparty has not already agreed to provide a different form of payment.  Roosevelt not only trampled property rights, but also repudiated the right of contract to force business owners to accept paper dollars in lieu of the suddenly-illegal gold bullion that they had expected in payment when they signed their contracts.)

And contra popular perceptions, the U.S. government never thereafter changed its underlying policy.  The individual possession of gold bullion was only decriminalized after individual gold ownership had been made negligible, and a new generation had grown up being accustomed to this as the status quo.  The marginal possession of a few ounces of gold by some insignificant number of people is just that:  Marginal, and therefore irrelevant to pragmatic tyrants.  The mass-draining of the American people’s gold, and the denormalization of gold ownership, are accomplished facts even truer today than they were in 1935.



The prime difference between now and then it that people and capital are infinitely more mobile.

Speak for yourself.

If the same were to be attempted today they would be able to go straight to my door. They would also find it empty as I'd be in the nearest country that wasn't pulling crap like that.

That is not an option for people with:

  • Immovable assets, e.g., a home of one’s own.
  • Family, most of all family with children.
  • Deep ties to a local community—a thing once upon a time considered part of being a normal, decent human being.
  • A non-cypherpunk job.
  • Difficult-to-move assets, such as any non-negligible amount of gold.  I am not only saying that gold is heavy:  Good luck crossing the border with a 400 oz. Good Delivery bar in your carry-on!  —Or family heirlooms.  Or a personal library.  Or...
  • Issues of advanced age, ill health, or state of disability that make travel difficult or impossible—and/or family members who have such issues, such as parents/grandparents.  (Cf. the above point about children.)
  • The personal attachment to a certain location that is, again, a part of being a normal human being, and has led people throughout the ages to proclaim that “there is no place like home”.

“So what, you can run” is tantamount to declaring that freedom is only available to people who are willing to live on the run, like criminal fugitives—legally, as criminal fugitives.  I myself already dislike hiding half my life behind Tor.  Should I now prepare to live like a hunted animal!?

A longtime Nullian aphorism:  When freedom is outlawed, only outlaws will have freedom.



I bet more than one American buried their gold and had to wait all these years before ever seeing it again. And there was probably a black market too...

Of course, there was a gold black market; and there was gold smuggling, because gold bullion was “contraband” for anybody who did not have a special licence to handle gold for uses approved by the régime.

But one of the most disturbing parts of this history is how willingly most Americans gave up their gold.  In a misguided attempt to be extra-“law-abiding”, some people even turned in gold jewellery that was exempted from the ban.  Of course, this was publicized for propaganda purposes.  Cf. Voltaire’s famous observation about slaves who love their chains.

Thus in a country founded by men who rose up in violent armed revolution against their legal government over some taxes that were quite small by today’s standards, masses of people voluntarily complied with the seizure of their real money, and its replacement with scrip as “payment” for the gold that they surrendered.  Then, they promptly proceeded to re-elect the American Kerensky.  An act of naked tyranny that would have been difficult to enforce against mass passive resistance, and by historical standards should have immediately incited active resistance,* was so smoothly carried off that it has been all but forgotten by Americans today—who, as aforementioned, still have economically negligible rates of individual gold ownership.

(* I observe that the first-ever significant Federal legislation restricting firearms, the National Firearms Act of 1934, was passed almost simultaneously with the gold ban.  Does no one else notice such things?)



(More replies some other time, especially to JollyGood and amishmanish.  Thanks for the fine discussion of this important issue!  I think it is not merely a story from the past, but a key issue of continuing relevance to Bitcoiners, and to anybody who cares about sound money and financial freedom.  That is why I opened this topic when I was a forum Newbie who had been actively posting for less than nine days.)

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