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Author Topic: THE TRILLION DOLLAR QUESTION  (Read 2517 times)
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September 19, 2013, 06:26:34 AM
 #1

This is it: "Is the fact that you are using bitcoins INHERENTLY suspicious?"

I am a lifetime Bitcoin Foundation member. I am also certified as a FI examiner in AML policy and regulation. I am also probably the biggest crypto fan on the planet, but unfortunately the answer to the above question is a resounding "YES".

I don't mean to offend anyone. But we have to face this. Let me explain:

Bitcoin (or crypto-currency) is the greatest economic revolution in the history of economics. SM deserves a nobel prize in economics (if he actually exists) and few in this community would doubt that, and many outside this community have called for it as well. The movement is growing steadily. We are watching history unfold before us. Many of you are pioneers in something that will grow to fill the earth and I believe it to be irrevocable.

With that said, bitcoin is having some trouble right now in the regulatory environment. We all love the general privacy that comes with owning bitcoin. We love that there is no central authority telling us what to do with our coins. We love the open nature of the development. We love the neutrality. The inherent value of the system is becoming harder and harder for the world to ignore and it is making a lot of us wealthy. We will become richer as time goes on too!

But we have to face something hard very soon. Governments will have to either find ways of successfully coupling national currencies to the system in order to verify that illegal activity is not occurring, or alternatively begin to enact laws which marginalize or even outlaw the use of these instruments! Bitcoin entrepreneurs are losing the battle right now when it comes to finding endorsements from United States' financial institutions. As well, other nations are building barriers to entry into their financial infrastructures.

When I talk to most crypto-currency enthusiasts, the standard philosophy tends to be something like "Who cares what the government thinks? We will overwhelm them with the fact that our movement simply cannot be stopped. To hell with government financial constructs." Yet we are seeing a constant increase in resistance from government bodies because it is truly a threat to sovereignty and will continue to be.

Right now, the only reason that crypto-currencies are not entirely illegal is because they are so fresh and new. That will change. We will see a cascade of governments characterizing it as only useful in crime and as the hallmark of money laundering activity. It will be, "by definition", suspicious activity to authorities going forward. What are you going to do, as a law abiding citizen (and I think most of us admit that we want to follow the law) when the United States government declares even the ownership of bitcoin to be a crime? Will you continue to fight? Will you continue to risk using it? I certainly don't think it will matter in terms of survivability of the system because it will continue to grow, but I suspect most individuals owning crypto will be too afraid to revolt openly if it were to become illegal. What do we do then?

My hypothesis: At some point we are going to have to compromise on some of the aspects of how we use these coins. I suspect that some day crypto-coins will become some sort of "controlled substance", so to speak, where only licensed or endorsed institutions may own or handle them. I realize that saying the following is tantamount to asking to be publicly stoned on a forum like this, but at some point, in order to preserve at least the "value" of the bitcoin network, we will have to give up the privacy part and allow a non-government, centralized authority to keep government bodies happy by moderating or arbitrating the system. There, I said it.

Much like gold, bitcoin is really more of a commodity than a currency. I believe we need to start thinking of it more as the underpinning VALUE for safer systems, rather than an entirely open and free system. At some point, fiat attached to bitcoin (I know, I'm a heretic) will be the answer. When the United States government attached fiat (US dollar) to commodities (gold/silver), the result was the greatest economic boom in the history of the world! When they stopped doing it, the power of the system has diminished. You have to admit that it has been "down hill" ever since.

If we could develop a system of fiat (attached to bitcoin as the underlying value or commodity), we could couple that system with governments in such a way that would curb money laundering and allow for better arbitration. Eventually people will be screaming for it anyway as the challenges of irreversible transactions hit the open market place.

To truly have a "people's currency" which preserves the value (the most important attribute) of the instrument over time, there must be a compromise at some point. We will, at least, have to surrender our ownership identities for public scrutiny. We need to be looking at ways to come together as a community to create a body of controllers that could guide a new fiat policy into the future in a fair manner. If we don't come together on this, some organization will seize that power somehow and we will be left with what we had prior to the bitcoin revolution.

(Before you respond to this, please take some time to think about it carefully. For those of you that are fighting the battle daily against your respective "authorities", you know how important it will be to come to some type of safe and effective arbitration system that governments can buy into. We do not want it to escalate to the point where these currencies are simply black-balled and left to only illegal or marginalized undercurrents in society. We can build a safe and value-preserved currency for the masses if we are smart about this!)

Is there anyone who is with me on this? Attorneys? Foundation members?

Am I crazy? Am I alone?


Again, sorry for the controversy but we need to have this conversation.      Long live bitcoin...


Math based currencies will overcome all sovereign currencies over time. Buy them now.
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September 19, 2013, 07:47:17 AM
 #2

I fail to see any special connection between Bitcoin and the ability or inability of law enforcement to identify criminal activity. Sounds to me like you imagine Bitcoin to be anonymous or suitable for money laundering, and thus a potential target. That is not so.

Governments don't need to "come up with a way to check if an illegal activity is happening" - it is trivial, and even more so with Bitcoin and its public ledger. All major fiat exchanges already follow KYC and related rules, and respond to legal requests from the governments, just as they should. I can easily document where my fiat goes, where it comes from, and whether there are any capital gains or losses to be considered. I can document where my income comes from. It all adds up. Bitcoin does not pose a problem any more than gold, stocks, real estate, forex, world income, etc.

In fact, the only problem are statements like yours, which imply that there is a problem, thus leading to an occasional hysterical, misguided reaction from the lawmakers who fall for the fallacy that Bitcoin is anonymous.

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September 19, 2013, 01:25:41 PM
 #3

* Regulations are done in usa and germany without problems since bitcoin companies want legal safety
* pirateat40 could be found and his bitcoins traced down
* Bitcoins are not anonymous for example for the NSA. They most probably know who even who satoshi is, Tor and all VPN of companies that have a connection to the USA are useless so it should be childs play with all the data they have to find out what happens in bitcoin network and with the IP's and all they dont have problems to find who owns what.
* germany, who is the biggest friend of nsa (snowden says) legalized bitcoins practically

So i think the secret services love bitcoins.

If the governments worldwide decide to block bitcoins then it will be practically dead of course. A currency that only can be used hidden is of not much use.

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September 19, 2013, 01:35:46 PM
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"SM deserves a nobel prize in economics (if he actually exists)"


Sorry for the slight tangent but I have to correct people on this whenever I see it. While there may be a "SM" there is definitely no Nobel prize in economics. What exists is a prize in honour of Nobel from the Swedish central bank!  

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/economic-sciences/

No one related to Bitcoin will ever get a central bankster prize.

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September 19, 2013, 03:04:24 PM
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If bitcoin gets prohibited, it will stay dark and underground. But all the geeks will still use it. And SR will still use it.

It will have the same status as an illegal number. It will still spread everywhere even if it has no real value anymore.

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September 19, 2013, 03:56:59 PM
 #6

If bitcoin gets prohibited, it will stay dark and underground. But all the geeks will still use it. And SR will still use it.

It will have the same status as an illegal number. It will still spread everywhere even if it has no real value anymore.

The point is that many of us that have invested in bitcoins want to see that value preserved somehow.

We need to start treating it as a commodity rather than a currency. It will function better that way in my opinion. Government will truly not be able to stop it either and nobody disagrees with that, but what we would like to see happen is a mainstream acceptance. Government sovereignty will be a huge challenge to this effort. At some point the United States government will officially classify it as a threat. I know many of you have your heads stuck in some cloud of anti-establishment ideology, but we need a plan for when we begun to be attacked by very powerful forces. The big fights haven't even started yet.

If it is declared illegal, regrettably, I will not use it. I won't want to break the law. That is a problem because this community needs more people just like me endorsing it and using it as I do now. We will have to find some middle ground eventually.


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September 19, 2013, 04:51:13 PM
 #7

This is it: "Is the fact that you are using bitcoins INHERENTLY suspicious?"
No. Is the fact that you are using cash inherently suspicious? As long as you're open about it in your tax declaration, why would it be?


Bitcoin (or crypto-currency) is the greatest economic revolution in the history of economics.
No. Money is. Credit is second. Fiat is third. Cryptocurrency might be fourth.


SM deserves a nobel prize in economics (if he actually exists) and few in this community would doubt that
SN might possibly be into SM (scnr), but he just doesn't seem to fit into http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nobel_laureates_in_Economics.


But we have to face something hard very soon. Governments will have to either find ways of successfully coupling national currencies to the system in order to verify that illegal activity is not occurring, or alternatively begin to enact laws which marginalize or even outlaw the use of these instruments!
I don't think so. There are literally hundreds of places in the world where some kind of currency is in everyday use that is not controlled by the respective government. Think of USD or EUR in foreign countries with weak local currencies. Few countries successfully outlaw foreign currency transactions.
I don't see where that would be different regarding bitcoins.


At some point, fiat attached to bitcoin (I know, I'm a heretic) will be the answer.
That is already happening. It's sometimes referred to as MTGox, bitstamp, etc.
There's no need to somehow artificially bind a cryptocurrency to the USD.
It makes just as little sense as fixing a country's currency to the Dollar.
 

When the United States government attached fiat (US dollar) to commodities (gold/silver), the result was the greatest economic boom in the history of the world! When they stopped doing it, the power of the system has diminished. You have to admit that it has been "down hill" ever since.
That's a non-sequitur. Currencies have been tied to commodities on several occasions. Economists usually don't appreciate that. There are really a lot of good reasons against it, but also, admittedly some in favor. Historically, economies with a tied currency have been less successful than those without in the long run.


Eventually people will be screaming for it anyway as the challenges of irreversible transactions hit the open market place.
And that will be a great business opportunity for companies like Paypal etc. They may offer a reversible payment on top of bitcoin. One of the beauties of bitcoin is the opportunity to offer value added services based on its underlying infrastructure.


We will, at least, have to surrender our ownership identities for public scrutiny.
Yes. Not everyone of "us", but professional business people usually don't really have a choice. Bitcoin changes nothing in this regard.


We need to be looking at ways to come together as a community to create a body of controllers that could guide a new fiat policy into the future in a fair manner. If we don't come together on this, some organization will seize that power somehow and we will be left with what we had prior to the bitcoin revolution.
I don't see it, sorry.


Am I crazy?
Possibly. Grin


Am I alone?
Probably not.


Okay, I'll be going to add something for understanding:

I am pretty confident that sooner or later, banks will adopt bitcoin.
No, they really don't hate it, and why would they?
There's nothing from stopping a bank to offer bitcoin-accounts and do fractional reserve on them.
The whole credit business works equally well with bitcoin as with USD or the Euro.

I don't see any problems with taxation or money control either, so why would governments hate bitcoin?
Given the chance of being either at the spearhead of a financial revolution or being left behind with the "Silicon Valley of Money" rising in a foreign country, I believe it's in the best interest of a country like the US to embrace bitcoin rather than to oppose it.

Yeah, well... I'm gonna go build my own blockchain, with blackjack and hookers. In fact, forget the blockchain!
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September 19, 2013, 06:26:49 PM
 #8

In fact, the only problem are statements like yours, which imply that there is a problem, thus leading to an occasional hysterical, misguided reaction from the lawmakers who fall for the fallacy that Bitcoin is anonymous.
This.
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September 20, 2013, 12:34:21 AM
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We already commit 3 felonies a day, what difference is another one, when the peaceful exercise of economic liberty (bitcoin) is made a felony too? https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Tacitus said Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges. See wiki for translation.

If everybody's a felon, the entire country has to become a prison.

Saying that you don't trust someone because of their behavior is completely valid.
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September 20, 2013, 02:49:53 AM
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In fact, the only problem are statements like yours, which imply that there is a problem, thus leading to an occasional hysterical, misguided reaction from the lawmakers who fall for the fallacy that Bitcoin is anonymous.
This.
The term for what the OP is doing is: "concern trolling."
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September 20, 2013, 06:22:54 AM
 #11

This is almost like the firearms issue: When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

When bitcoin is outlawed, I will become an outlaw.

Until then, I have freedom of speech. I am free to speak my own numbers.

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September 21, 2013, 01:31:08 AM
 #12

No.  Anonymity is not the issue "they" pretend that it is. 
Why?

1) Gold is more anonymous than Bitcoin.

2) Bitcoin has uniquely identifiable serial numbers, just like paper currency.

3) In fact Bitcoin is less anonymous than paper currency because every transaction is publicly recorded, forever.


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September 21, 2013, 01:40:06 AM
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No.  Anonymity is not the issue "they" pretend that it is. 
Why?

1) Gold is more anonymous than Bitcoin.

2) Bitcoin has uniquely identifiable serial numbers, just like paper currency.

3) In fact Bitcoin is less anonymous than paper currency because every transaction is publicly recorded, forever.



4) every transaction involves Internet communication, subject to monitoring, even if delegated to a proxy entity. Obfuscation has limits.

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September 21, 2013, 03:55:01 AM
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The ONLY factor in consideration of every country, government, and nation on the planet in relation to Bitcoin, is, can it be taxed?

Everything else is meaningless. As long as countries know they are getting their "fair" share of tax money, and Bitcoin doesn't become a haven for it, Bitcoin should be OK.
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September 21, 2013, 11:13:06 AM
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The ONLY factor in consideration of every country, government, and nation on the planet in relation to Bitcoin, is, can it be taxed?

Everything else is meaningless. As long as countries know they are getting their "fair" share of tax money, and Bitcoin doesn't become a haven for it, Bitcoin should be OK.
In practical terms, there is nothing special about bitcoin  when it comes to taxation. Transactions are as easy to tax as USD or Dinar transactions. Sales receipts, invoices, bookkeeping - all the usual business. Just like with in-person cash transactions, parties to the transaction may choose not to report it. Note that the public bitcoin ledger, and ISP records, in fact make Bitcoin less attractive for tax evasion than banknotes.

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September 21, 2013, 12:58:20 PM
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Though one should not forget that governments regularly closed down regional currencies. They dont like private money. Bitcoins might be different because they can see what happens openly.

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September 24, 2013, 01:02:53 PM
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All transactions being recorded they are only recorded against a wallet address.

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September 24, 2013, 01:43:20 PM
 #18

This is it: "Is the fact that you are using bitcoins INHERENTLY suspicious?"

I inherently suspect bitcoin users of being somewhat smarter and more attractive than average, if that is what you mean.

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September 24, 2013, 01:48:07 PM
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Everything else is meaningless. As long as countries know they are getting their "fair" share of tax money, and Bitcoin doesn't become a haven for it, Bitcoin should be OK.
Bitcoin absolutely should be a haven for it - because in a world full of products offering misfeatures at the behest of governments, giving users what they actually want is how you stand out from the competition.
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September 24, 2013, 04:06:21 PM
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I fail to see any special connection between Bitcoin and the ability or inability of law enforcement to identify criminal activity. Sounds to me like you imagine Bitcoin to be anonymous or suitable for money laundering, and thus a potential target. That is not so.

Governments don't need to "come up with a way to check if an illegal activity is happening" - it is trivial, and even more so with Bitcoin and its public ledger. All major fiat exchanges already follow KYC and related rules, and respond to legal requests from the governments, just as they should. I can easily document where my fiat goes, where it comes from, and whether there are any capital gains or losses to be considered. I can document where my income comes from. It all adds up. Bitcoin does not pose a problem any more than gold, stocks, real estate, forex, world income, etc.

In fact, the only problem are statements like yours, which imply that there is a problem, thus leading to an occasional hysterical, misguided reaction from the lawmakers who fall for the fallacy that Bitcoin is anonymous.

Failure? Perhaps we have not found the suitable methods to for the time being. The bitcoin design is not anonymous as a strong system must be monitored by everyone, which is a concept of open source software, for fair view ,for fair trade, crime preventions, for restoring the economic rule. 
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