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Author Topic: Swiss national councillor to ban Bitcoins  (Read 11287 times)
Mike Hearn
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September 19, 2013, 05:45:53 AM
 #21

The guys statements to the press don't match what he actually submitted to parliament, but he said quite explicitly what his goal is.

Anyway, I suppose it's time for the Swiss Bitcoin community to start some lobbying. Those MP's who signed his motion are possibly just looking for education, despite that Schwaab already made up his mind.
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September 19, 2013, 06:29:33 AM
 #22

With this motion, the federal government is asked to write a report on the risks of virtual currencies. In order to be submitted to the government, it first has to pass the two chambers of parliament (which it has not yet).

I have already contacted one of the co-signers. This motion is a good opportunity to introduce people to the benefits of cryptocurrencies.
 
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September 19, 2013, 06:31:30 AM
 #23

Any other news outlet cover this?
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September 19, 2013, 06:58:16 AM
 #24

Hi,
Thanks for the info.
Please next time inform us (people living in Switzerland) also in our local community on Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/113055238568417913658

I'm for sure willing to collect signatures for a referendum, if it is needed.
Maybe Jon Matonis or some other good talkers who are well known in the Bitcoin community is willing to visit us again and speak in front of the parliamentarians this time..

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September 19, 2013, 07:19:22 AM
 #25

Hello,

As a Swiss citizen, I'm sad to report here that a socialist national councillor, Mr Jean-Christophe Schwab, filed a motion to ban Bitcoins in Switzerland. In particular, he argues that Bitcoins are mainly used for criminal transactions, that we should not allow anonymous currencies and that the central bank should not have competitors -- the usual anti-Bitcoin arguments, I guess. It is hard to say whether this motion has any chance to be approved, but this councillor is known to fight a lot for his ideas.

See by yourself: http://www.entete.ch/sk_lmd.pdf.

I already contacted several other national councillors that I know personally in order to give them solid arguments against this motion, but that would really help if the community and/or the Bitcoin Foundation could take part in the process before it's too late.

Thank you all in advance.

This will create lots of discussion, and is a good opportunity to educate the public, Mr Schwab included, about Bitcoin technology. A good starting point are the very arguments brought forward by Mr. Schwab: some of them are myths (Bitcoin is inherently anonymous, and it is mainly used for criminal transactions), and some are simply his opinions on how economy should be managed (central bank should not have competitors).
Myths are easy to dispel by presenting facts and requesting the other side to provide (the nonexistent) facts that support them.
The "no competitors" is actually a valid argument, and we should try to understand where it is coming from culturally and historically, rather than ridiculing it just because we feel differently. I can see how a significant portion of Swiss population might agree, or at least consider it as a serious argument. We should try to understand what specific scenarios - surreal or realistic - Mr. Schwab imagines that may lead to a competition that may be damaging to Switzerland. My understanding is that he has actually requested the federal government to come up with such scenarios, so he doesn't really have an idea, but rather just a vague, ominous feeling... which we know is based in misunderstanding of the Bitcoin technology.

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September 19, 2013, 06:38:21 PM
 #26

Sigh.  This is yet another misleading headline like the 'Thailand declaring bitcoins illegal'.  Did anyone actually read the text?  It says they they are looking of ways to regulate the use of bitcoins.  This is good for bitcoin because if bitcoin is regulated, then there is a much higher chance that banks will want to interact with bitcoin.

These misleading headlines really need to stop.

Will

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September 19, 2013, 08:14:42 PM
 #27

Sigh.  This is yet another misleading headline like the 'Thailand declaring bitcoins illegal'.  Did anyone actually read the text?  It says they they are looking of ways to regulate the use of bitcoins.  This is good for bitcoin because if bitcoin is regulated, then there is a much higher chance that banks will want to interact with bitcoin.

These misleading headlines really need to stop.

Will

Will,

The original article I quoted was explicit about Schwab's objective to ban Bitcoins; I had not found the second reference at this stage. I agree that the title should not be as dramatic.

Here is a follow up:
http://www.coindesk.com/swiss-politician-asks-government-create-report-bitcoin/.
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September 19, 2013, 08:55:43 PM
 #28

Sigh.  This is yet another misleading headline like the 'Thailand declaring bitcoins illegal'.  Did anyone actually read the text?  It says they they are looking of ways to regulate the use of bitcoins.  This is good for bitcoin because if bitcoin is regulated, then there is a much higher chance that banks will want to interact with bitcoin.

These misleading headlines really need to stop.

Will

Will,

The original article I quoted was explicit about Schwab's objective to ban Bitcoins; I had not found the second reference at this stage. I agree that the title should not be as dramatic.

Here is a follow up:
http://www.coindesk.com/swiss-politician-asks-government-create-report-bitcoin/.

The OP is right, the original newspaper article with quotes from Schwab is quite a lot more strident

Quote
Vous avez déposé cette semaine un postulat qui vise à interdire le bitcoin. Pourquoi?

Parce que le bitcoin facilite le développement d’activités criminelles, comme Silk Road. Sans parler des possibilités de blanchiment, puisqu’il n’existe aucun contrôle sur les transactions. Il faut interdire le bitcoin.

Vous ne préféreriez pas considérer le bitcoin comme une monnaie à part entière et prélever des taxes, comme l’envisageait l’Allemagne?

Non, d’un point de vue plus idéologique, je suis opposé à la privatisation de la création de monnaie. Les Etats doivent garder le monopole dans ce domaine.

Comment comptez-vous mettre en pratique une éventuelle
interdiction?

D’un point de vue pratique, c’est évidemment très compliqué. Mais on peut rendre illicite le fait de détenir ou de faire une transaction en bitcoins. La Suisse doit y réfléchir, et rapidement. A terme, une coordination internationale serait souhaitable.

Quote
You filed a proposal this week to ban bitcoin.  Why?

Because bitcoin facilitates the development of criminal activities such as Silk Road. Not to mention the possibilities of money laundering, because there is no control over transactions. We must prohibit bitcoin.

You don't prefer to consider bitcoin as a currency in its own right and levy taxes as envisaged by Germany?

No, I have a more ideological point of view: I am opposed to the privatization of money creation. States must keep a monopoly in this area.

How do you propose a ban will work in practice?

From a practical point of view, it is obviously very complicated. But we can make it unlawful to own or make bitcoin transactions. Switzerland must think about it, and quickly. Eventually, international coordination is desirable.

It does seem that Schwab wants to ban bitcoins, but all that's happened is that there will be a report written on Bitcoin examining the currency - I don't think Schwab will get what he wants.

A more accurate headline would be:

After a Swiss national councilor suggests banning Bitcoins, government report is commissioned.

Will

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September 20, 2013, 05:58:19 AM
 #29

Can somebody translate the french text?
Parce je ne parle pas de français, like most peopel here I guess

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Mike Hearn
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September 20, 2013, 05:56:06 PM
 #30

The problem is the report he asked for is a report on "The risks of Bitcoin". Note: not the risks vs benefits, just the risks.

Worst case scenario: he gets exactly what he asked for, and then parades it around as "evidence" that a total ban is required.
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September 21, 2013, 10:11:34 AM
 #31

This is odd considering the neighbor country, Germany, is the most outspoken positive about Bitcoin. On top of that the Swiss also value privacy and are pretty much against anything that threatens their sovereign right to privacy in most aspect of daily life. This is rather shocking, but I guess the dumbfuck politician missed the point of Bitcoin like many other old farts in power.

<helo> funny that this proposal grows the maximum block size to 8GB, and is seen as a compromise
<helo> oh, you don't like a 20x increase? well how about 8192x increase?
<JackH> lmao
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September 22, 2013, 04:49:47 AM
 #32

Gold is more anonymous than bitcoin.  Switzerland will have to ban that first.

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September 30, 2013, 08:32:51 AM
 #33

The postulat is now translated to German:
http://www.parlament.ch/d/suche/seiten/geschaefte.aspx?gesch_id=20133687

Like others already pointed out they want the Executive to make a report about the risks of Bitcoin (no word about chances..), especially focused on the usage of Bitcoins for money laundering and financing criminal activities. It also calls Bitcoin a Ponzi scheme.

So it's far away from banning yet. AFAIK the parliament has first to accept this postulat,  then Mister Schwaab will probably try to ban Bitcoin with a law. If he can convince the parliament to ban Bitcoin we still have the opportunity to make a referendum. All this will take more than a year.

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September 30, 2013, 08:47:26 AM
 #34

All you hold is a simple set of numbers and letters that give you the ability to move some numbers around on a global ledger.

Very similar to the simple set of numbers which have controlled secret bank accounts in Switzerland for so many years.

This will be good for Bitcoin as it will generate publicity and then discussion between people who might not have heard about Bitcoin until Mr Schwab decided to do a PR job for it. Keep up the good work Schwab!

This is largely correct.  I think the good PR will be a benefit to Bitcoin - any law against will do almost nothing.
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September 30, 2013, 08:52:43 AM
 #35

but wait a minute, cash is used as well for drugs, prostitution and all bad things. bank notes are filthy with cocaine. on my bitcoin u won't find cocaine.

what a gyp.
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September 30, 2013, 02:48:54 PM
 #36

on my bitcoin u won't find cocaine.

I wouldn't go that far. Many transactions can likely be traced through an occasional SR deal.
But yes, more crime is based on the good, old government-issued cash than on bitcoins. Also, cash is more anonymous.

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October 01, 2013, 12:10:37 AM
 #37

on my bitcoin u won't find cocaine.

I wouldn't go that far. Many transactions can likely be traced through an occasional SR deal.
But yes, more crime is based on the good, old government-issued cash than on bitcoins. Also, cash is more anonymous.

Yes, and cash has levels of anonymity too, depending on what type of cash is used and how it is used.  Most bills are serialized in an easy to scan way, and increasingly transactions are through machines or banks, so there are some very non-anonymous check points.  Paper cash is imperfectly fungible with regard to identity and transactions.
If you pull bills out of an ATM and give them to someone scurrilous and they are next deposited into a bank, you may become an interested party by law enforcement based on that chain.

For more anonymity they would use gold coins as cash.  Those are all the same. 
The Swiss argument against Bitcoin might be more easily pointed at gold than at bitcoin.

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October 01, 2013, 12:16:23 AM
 #38

I love how the guy uses the argument that Bitcoins are used to to do illegal activities.

Just like USD's or other fiat aren't already being used for illegal activities for 100's of years.  Roll Eyes

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October 01, 2013, 12:16:36 AM
 #39

All you hold is a simple set of numbers and letters that give you the ability to move some numbers around on a global ledger.

Very similar to the simple set of numbers which have controlled secret bank accounts in Switzerland for so many years.

This will be good for Bitcoin as it will generate publicity and then discussion between people who might not have heard about Bitcoin until Mr Schwab decided to do a PR job for it. Keep up the good work Schwab!

This is largely correct.  I think the good PR will be a benefit to Bitcoin - any law against will do almost nothing.


It will keep people from withdrawing to Swiss banks via exchanges.

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October 02, 2013, 01:26:19 PM
 #40

on my bitcoin u won't find cocaine.
Many transactions can likely be traced through an occasional SR deal.

Just like a dollar bill is filthy. I teach my kids that money is dirty (literal germy) and that hundreds if not thousands of people have touched it. Id est, wash yer hands son.
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