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Author Topic: Today Im meeting the guys writting the new Iceland constitution to talk Bitcoin  (Read 2856 times)
hugolp
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July 06, 2011, 08:37:01 AM
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So today Im meeting with the guys creating the new constitution of Iceland, that is basically a process by which all the people in the country are participating to write it. More information in english here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/iceland-crowdsources-its-next-constitution/2011/06/10/AGiBplOH_blog.html and their webpages: http://stjornlagarad.is/ and https://www.facebook.com/Stjornlagarad .

They want to know about Bitcoin, they like the idea, so Im going to meet them to explain them Bitcoin. The meeting will be about more things, so I dont know how much time I will get. The good part for Bitcoin is that it could appear in the new constitution from Iceland and it would gave respectability in the eyes of some.

The problem I see is that Bitcoin is designed to be an emergent currency (decentralized, pseudo-anonymous) not a government or constitutional currency. So I am thinking that the best way to focus this, to benefit both Iceland and Bitcoin communities is to suggest them to include a clausule allowing for competing currencies and forbiding legal tender laws and similar stuff. As examples of competing currencies the constitution could name Bitcoin (but only as example).

What do you think? Any other idea?
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hugolp
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July 06, 2011, 10:37:16 AM
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Bump. No suggestions? Im meeting them in 5 hours.
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July 06, 2011, 10:49:59 AM
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The problem I see is that Bitcoin is designed to be an emergent currency (decentralized, pseudo-anonymous) not a government or constitutional currency. So I am thinking that the best way to focus this, to benefit both Iceland and Bitcoin communities is to suggest them to include a clausule allowing for competing currencies and forbiding legal tender laws and similar stuff. As examples of competing currencies the constitution could name Bitcoin (but only as example).

What do you think? Any other idea?

Yeah, do that.

Let us know how it goes.

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July 06, 2011, 10:50:15 AM
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Realistically there's no way that Bitcoin will be mentioned in the new constitution. Nor is that needed. All that is needed is that there are no laws prohibiting Bitcoin.

I suggest you focus on the incredible opportunities for commerce and innovation that will be opened up by the first country to embrace Bitcoin. All it needs is for someone at the top to say that Bitcoins are OK, and it will dispel the fear and legal uncertainty that currently permeates the Bitcoin ecosystem.
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July 06, 2011, 11:08:48 AM
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What kind of ideas are you looking for exactly?

Also, it may be a good idea to consider talking about something that explicitly allows the government to support "alternative currencies" that are not government-backed - not specifically Bitcoin. Something that would open the possibility for, for example, government tax agencies to collect taxes in Bitcoin without legal issues or shady areas. Not sure how feasible it is, but it would be good to make sure that a government could engage in the Bitcoin economy (or other non-government currencies) without any legal disputes that may prevent them from doing so.

EDIT: Most importantly, do not focus specifically on Bitcoin. Even if it were a possibility to explicitly have a mention of Bitcoin, this would only limit innovation in the form of an improved cryptocurrency with a different name. Talk about the concept of decentralized/alternative currencies, rather than exclusively Bitcoin.

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July 06, 2011, 12:18:57 PM
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So today Im meeting with the guys creating the new constitution of Iceland, that is basically a process by which all the people in the country are participating to write it. More information in english here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/iceland-crowdsources-its-next-constitution/2011/06/10/AGiBplOH_blog.html and their webpages: http://stjornlagarad.is/ and https://www.facebook.com/Stjornlagarad .

They want to know about Bitcoin, they like the idea, so Im going to meet them to explain them Bitcoin. The meeting will be about more things, so I dont know how much time I will get. The good part for Bitcoin is that it could appear in the new constitution from Iceland and it would gave respectability in the eyes of some.

The problem I see is that Bitcoin is designed to be an emergent currency (decentralized, pseudo-anonymous) not a government or constitutional currency. So I am thinking that the best way to focus this, to benefit both Iceland and Bitcoin communities is to suggest them to include a clausule allowing for competing currencies and forbiding legal tender laws and similar stuff. As examples of competing currencies the constitution could name Bitcoin (but only as example).

What do you think? Any other idea?

Thank you for doing this.  I think it would be a good idea to focus in on the commercial opportunities that will be available to the first country that embraces digital currencies.  Also, it might be a good idea to talk about generalities such as 'alternative currencies' or 'digital currencies' rather than Bitcoin specifically, other than perhaps a brief mention: "for example Bitcoin".  But you know your audience better than we do and better understand what they are receptive to.

Are you doing this as part of the Iceland Pirate Party or as an individual citizen?  Either way, thank you.  It's a great idea.

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July 06, 2011, 12:28:07 PM
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So today Im meeting with the guys creating the new constitution of Iceland, that is basically a process by which all the people in the country are participating to write it. More information in english here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/iceland-crowdsources-its-next-constitution/2011/06/10/AGiBplOH_blog.html and their webpages: http://stjornlagarad.is/ and https://www.facebook.com/Stjornlagarad.

Great!  Please do let us know how this meeting turned out.

The problem I see is that Bitcoin is designed to be an emergent currency (decentralized, pseudo-anonymous) not a government or constitutional currency. So I am thinking that the best way to focus this, to benefit both Iceland and Bitcoin communities is to suggest them to include a clausule allowing for competing currencies and forbiding legal tender laws and similar stuff. As examples of competing currencies the constitution could name Bitcoin (but only as example).

Yeah, I don't think the constitution is the best place to explicitly mention of Bitcoin.  The best outcome is for the constitution to declare Iceland's legal tender to be whatever currency is determined by parliament, but not to exclude alternative currencies (that's where Bitcoin can come in).

By the way, I think it would be stupid for the constitution to explicitly forbid legal tender laws.  Legal tender seems like an imposition, but it does make commerce a lot smoother.  Imagine you are doing a road trip through the deserts of the US Southwest and were in desperate need of filling up the gas tank.  You stop by a gas station -- seemingly the only one for dozens of miles -- where they tell you that today they are not in the mood to accept US dollars (the only currency you have) and will only accept Indian Rupees. How would you react?
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July 06, 2011, 12:42:36 PM
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Ok. Thanks for all the answer. So it seems there is an agreement that the initial proposal is the best way to go.

Are you doing this as part of the Iceland Pirate Party or as an individual citizen?  Either way, thank you.  It's a great idea.

No, im not from Iceland. These guys are coming to my country to talk to some groups, and a friend has asked me to come with him because they like the Bitcoin idea. And I am gladly doing it. I am talking with people and will probably do a couple more conference about bitcoin in the coming months.

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By the way, I think it would be stupid for the constitution to explicitly forbid legal tender laws.  Legal tender seems like an imposition, but it does make commerce a lot smoother.  Imagine you are doing a road trip through the deserts of the US Southwest and were in desperate need of filling up the gas tank.  You stop by a gas station -- seemingly the only one for dozens of miles -- where they tell you that today they are not in the mood to accept US dollars (the only currency you have) and will only accept Indian Rupees. How would you react?

This is not the place to discuss this but, legal tender laws dont make commerce smoother, they just impose a currency monopolly. So allowing legal tender laws and not restricting alternative currencies are opposites. Its one or the other. In fact legal tender laws are a basic tool to allow inflation that creates the boom and bust cycle that stops commerce.

And to answer to your point, the guy in the gas station is not going to loose a client because he/she is paying in another currency. In some extreme cases the gas station owner might impose a fee because of the burden of accepting another currency. You can see this in history, and in the present days I have payed a London driver with euros because I had no more pounds. He took them. Saying that different currencies stop commerce would be like saying that different food brands stop people from eating. So no, legal tender laws do not smooth commerce and are a basic tool to create the boom and bust cycles that stop commerce.
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July 06, 2011, 01:13:12 PM
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Good luck with it I'm sure you will do bitcoin proud.

Failing this you can follow them back home and throw yourself into one of those volcano's they have  Wink

Let us know how it goes bud.

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July 06, 2011, 02:45:33 PM
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This is great!

I think you have exactly the right idea as to what to propose to them.

If you can convince them to include a clause like this in their constitution:

No restrictions of any sort on the use of currency, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within Iceland, or any place subject to its jurisdiction.


That would go a long way in protecting financial innovation in Iceland.

The clause above is the 13th amendment of the US constitution, with the part that says 'slavery nor involuntary servitude' replaced with 'restrictions of any sort on the use of currency'.

I would explain that a constitutional protection of the freedom to engage in financial transactions would ensure that financial innovation would not be stifled by regulations created at the behest of powerful special interest groups seeking to limit competition by imposing compliance requirements that disproportionately hit smaller firms.
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July 06, 2011, 11:17:30 PM
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Allow for a free market in money.

No more central banksters' monopoly money.

No control of money by the state. Separation of state and money.

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July 06, 2011, 11:35:30 PM
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+1 for good, work. just be friendly  Grin

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July 07, 2011, 11:19:03 AM
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Hey hugo, how did it go?

Thanks!

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July 07, 2011, 11:28:22 AM
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Just updating on the meeting. It was ok, but I dont think they were really interested in Bitcoin. They were more interested in creating some sort of european asociation. But the local people was very interested and ask me to return another day to talk only about Bitcoin. A picture of the guys (the ones in the background, Im not in the picture):

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July 07, 2011, 08:18:30 PM
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Just make sure that their constitution bans legal tender laws and fiat currencies.  Use Panama as an example.  This is what's been in their constitution since the formation of Panama over a century ago:

"There will be no forced fiat paper currency in the Republic. Thus, any individual can reject any note that he may deem untrustworthy."

See this article on how stable Panama's financial system has been vs. even the U.S:

http://mises.org/daily/2533

EDIT: It would also help to ban any form of capital controls as well.
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July 08, 2011, 03:38:46 AM
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Realistically there's no way that Bitcoin will be mentioned in the new constitution. Nor is that needed. All that is needed is that there are no laws prohibiting Bitcoin.

I suggest you focus on the incredible opportunities for commerce and innovation that will be opened up by the first country to embrace Bitcoin. All it needs is for someone at the top to say that Bitcoins are OK, and it will dispel the fear and legal uncertainty that currently permeates the Bitcoin ecosystem.

I'm pretty sure that's exactly what he is focusing on. If any top official in any first-world country mentions Bitcoin in a neutral or positive light, it would greatly increase confidence in Bitcoin, no matter how short a mention.

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July 09, 2011, 04:27:55 PM
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If any top official in any first-world country mentions Bitcoin in a neutral or positive light, it would greatly increase confidence in Bitcoin, no matter how short a mention.

Not to tell that the exchange ratio will jump high after that Smiley

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July 10, 2011, 12:05:55 AM
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Just make sure that their constitution bans legal tender laws and fiat currencies.  Use Panama as an example.  This is what's been in their constitution since the formation of Panama over a century ago:

"There will be no forced fiat paper currency in the Republic. Thus, any individual can reject any note that he may deem untrustworthy."

See this article on how stable Panama's financial system has been vs. even the U.S:

http://mises.org/daily/2533

EDIT: It would also help to ban any form of capital controls as well.

+1

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July 11, 2011, 05:02:14 AM
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Just make sure that their constitution bans legal tender laws and fiat currencies.  Use Panama as an example.  This is what's been in their constitution since the formation of Panama over a century ago:

"There will be no forced fiat paper currency in the Republic. Thus, any individual can reject any note that he may deem untrustworthy."

I just have to "WOW" this. So: WOW!!!
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July 11, 2011, 05:06:08 AM
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i'm sorry that i only now saw this thread.

my suggestion is to suggest that the Icelanders promise in principle in their Constitutiton to back the Krona with a "stable standard" in the future and to limit fractional reserve lending to a "reasonable level" like 10:1.

this leaves open the question as to what will back the Krona.  most people will think of gold, which is not a bad idea.  but our goal would be to have it backed by Bitcoin.

this will allow their gov't time to analyze Bitcoin as a stable backing mechanism for the Krona as compared to gold.  and for all the reasons we here have decided on Bitcoin, they will eventually as well.
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