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P4man
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October 26, 2011, 07:58:27 AM
 #61

Thats why I said, to some extent.

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EhVedadoOAnonimato
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October 26, 2011, 08:18:55 AM
 #62

Why? Its not because banking laws in these countries protect (to some extent) banking privacy that they would have no regulation of financial institutions. I wouldnt be surprised if in fact regulation would be more strict and it would be more difficult to operate there than, say france.

I don't know, maybe you're right, maybe not. I just would like to know more how feasible it is.

Banking privacy is important. Governments that preserve a bit of it have less incentives to ban bitcoin. They are already used to people protecting their money, their tax system probably don't rely too much on spying their subjects' revenues and so on...
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October 26, 2011, 08:22:48 AM
 #63

because banking laws in these countries protect (to some extent) banking privacy

They don't, not anymore. They gave up information to USA and sold databases to Germany (and no, please don't tell me that was some rogue employee who stole a CD from the datacenter, I know enough security to realize that it's much more common that Germany put a lot of pressure on the banks and then bribed them).

I wouldn't consider banking as being private anywhere in the world anymore.

Mostly true. But sometimes what more authoritarian governments do it to threat the subsidiaries of offshore banks that are located in their jurisdiction, like when US gov threatened UBS of dropping their license in US if they don't give up private data on US subjects' money stored in Switzerland.
You're less vulnerable to such attacks if you only exist on these offshore countries...

EDIT: By "offshore" I meant these places where banking privacy is slightly less disrespected than average.
P4man
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October 26, 2011, 08:24:33 AM
 #64

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Governments that preserve a bit of it have less incentives to ban bitcoin.

But this ruling isnt about banning bitcoin. Its about requirements for operating a financial service company that holds your Euros (or swiss francs or whatever).

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October 26, 2011, 08:27:59 AM
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Governments that preserve a bit of it have less incentives to ban bitcoin.

But this ruling isnt about banning bitcoin. Its about requirements for operating a financial service company that holds your Euros (or swiss francs or whatever).

I know... I'm just "thinking ahead". I don't expect bitcoin to remain legal in most places if it gains importance. Actually I wouldn't be surprised if many governments already have laws that implicitly forbid something as bitcoin.
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October 26, 2011, 09:55:20 AM
 #66

If bitcoin is outlawed, having an exchange in the caymans wont make your transactions legal, Im not even sure it would protect you in any way. Most of these tax heavens do share financial information with our governments when a crime is involved, no?

As for whether bitcoin is already illegal or not, is a good question that can only be answered in court. There are good legal arguments to be made either way.

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October 26, 2011, 10:22:19 AM
 #67

is it possible to make an alternative currency illegal? wouldnt that be like the US banning the exchange of euros?

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October 26, 2011, 10:26:06 AM
 #68

is it possible to make an alternative currency illegal? wouldnt that be like the US banning the exchange of euros?

It already is illegal.
http://www.fbi.gov/charlotte/press-releases/2011/defendant-convicted-of-minting-his-own-currency

The question is wether bitcoin is a currency, legally.

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October 26, 2011, 10:54:01 AM
 #69

so is it also illegal to own Euro, Yen or GBP etc? and is it illegal to exchange those currencies for other currencies, commodities, assets goods or services?

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October 26, 2011, 11:21:32 AM
 #70

so is it also illegal to own Euro, Yen or GBP etc? and is it illegal to exchange those currencies for other currencies, commodities, assets goods or services?

IANAL, but I think its the creation of a competing currency thats illegal for a US citizen. Miners reserve your corner jail in Gitmo now Wink.

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October 26, 2011, 11:27:08 AM
 #71

The question is wether bitcoin is a currency, legally.
Bitcoin is the digital equivalent of gold. Is gold a currency? No, gold is neither currency nor money. This is what Bernanke said - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyTBhsEliUE

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October 26, 2011, 11:34:43 AM
 #72

so is it also illegal to own Euro, Yen or GBP etc? and is it illegal to exchange those currencies for other currencies, commodities, assets goods or services?

IANAL, but I think its the creation of a competing currency thats illegal for a US citizen. Miners reserve your corner jail in Gitmo now Wink.

yeah, but mining is not the creation of the currency. mining is processing the transactions and maintaining the network and the block awarded to the miner is a reward from the already existing currency which is being paid for work completed.

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October 26, 2011, 11:43:50 AM
 #73

Bitcoin is the digital equivalent of gold. Is gold a currency? No, gold is neither currency nor money. This is what Bernanke said - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyTBhsEliUE
[/quote]

No one settles debts (IOW, pays for stuff) with gold; in that sense, its not a currency (anymore). Bitcoin arguably is. It is used to pay for goods and services.

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October 26, 2011, 11:51:01 AM
 #74

Bitcoin is the digital equivalent of gold. Is gold a currency? No, gold is neither currency nor money. This is what Bernanke said - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyTBhsEliUE

No one settles debts (IOW, pays for stuff) with gold; in that sense, its not a currency (anymore). Bitcoin arguably is. It is used to pay for goods and services.
[/quote]

You can even buy gold with bitcoins (hint)

 Grin

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October 26, 2011, 11:59:53 AM
 #75

is it possible to make an alternative currency illegal? wouldnt that be like the US banning the exchange of euros?

It already is illegal.
http://www.fbi.gov/charlotte/press-releases/2011/defendant-convicted-of-minting-his-own-currency

The question is wether bitcoin is a currency, legally.

  I had orignally misunderstood the LD  thing the same way. Granted the news article I had read did not contain this important bit here;

 " of making coins resembling and similar to United States coins;"

If you're not excited by the idea of being an early adopter 'now', then you should come back in three or four years and either tell us "Told you it'd never work!" or join what should, by then, be a much more stable and easier-to-use system. - GA
It is being worked on by smart people. -DamienBlack
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October 26, 2011, 12:03:44 PM
 #76

Post 9/11 financial privacy is very difficult these days. But still very possible.

Apparently what companies do now is register a company in one place and then bank in another. The difference is that in order to do that you have to register a company somewhere that doesn't tell the USA who the directors are straight away, and that means $1000's in company annual fees. All it's done is push the overheads up a bit making it generally too much hassle for the individual rather than a company.

What if exchanges with Bitcoin were outlawed in the EU and America though? And for that matter gold too at the same time? That would be a bit like having a walled garden around the more commonly known almost anonymous currencies. The worst scanario is that you can't get money in and you can't get money out. Probably for a while a way out would be allowed in order to get the value to collapse.
However, if you already hold Bitcoins then you still have that functionality available to you, how much would you pay in terms of risk to maintain that possibility? If many people say 'Well, even if I think it's going to crash to $0.01 I'll still keep $200 in there just on the offchance it might come in handy for armageddon' then we have a strong floor on the value of the currency.

Which is better to have in a crackdown? Gold or Bitcoin? How anonymous is Bitcoin compared to gold? That's a case of CCTV camera vs Deep Packet Inspection. In that case Gold wins. But gold is not portable and I think harder to use in transactions in practice than many have thought about. The answer has to be a bit of both, assuming you stay in one place at a time enough to keep gold somewhere.

My point is that exchanges via bank transfers are so the first thing to disappear. But there are plenty of other ways to get Bitcoin. Selling gold for Bitcoin, cash (or Hawala?). There is also the possibility of taking a risk with something that might be spotted. There are some banks in some countries that are so disorganised records just don't get recorded properly and even if they do and the USA wants to know more there's a massive beaurocratic process to go through.

 But regards decentralised exchange the question then becomes how to put people in touch with each other? Then I think you want a number of ways - freenet sites, p2p exchanges and eepsites. We need this NOW and everyone on this forum to be aware of it. Does anyone here know how to make a Freenet Wiki or another way of decentralised communication?

Explaination of Gox mess up here. They are running custom wallets and a bug allowed double payments: http://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/1x93tf/some_irc_chatter_about_what_is_going_on_at_mtgox/cf99yac
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October 26, 2011, 12:46:04 PM
 #77

Gold and silver coins are better for small value transactions so you should keep a few of them in your sock drawer. What would be really helpful is a bitcoin agent in every town and city in the world so you can buy and sell in person.

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DeathAndTaxes
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October 26, 2011, 12:52:03 PM
 #78

is it possible to make an alternative currency illegal? wouldnt that be like the US banning the exchange of euros?

It already is illegal.
http://www.fbi.gov/charlotte/press-releases/2011/defendant-convicted-of-minting-his-own-currency

The question is wether bitcoin is a currency, legally.

It is 100% LEGAL to mint currency in the US by US citizens.

There are couple dozen private currencies in the US right now.  One has been in circulation for 20+ years.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ithaca_Hours

Here is another more recent once (started in 2006)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BerkShares

It IS illegal to counterfit US coins.  It IS also illegal to mint private currencies that make any references to US government, have similar shape and design as existing or previous US currencies, make any claims to a guaranteed exchange rate, or imply any backing by US federal government.

Quote
Von NotHaus designed the Liberty Dollar currency in 1998 and the Liberty coins were marked with the dollar sign ($); the words dollar, USA, Liberty, Trust in God (instead of In God We Trust); and other features associated with legitimate U.S. coinage.


Von NotHaus was a loon.  He actually received "endorsement" from FBI who investigated determined Liberty Dollars weren't counterfitted and the US Mint who indicated that Liberty Dollars weren't illegal.  However Von NotHaus went way beyond that.  He changed the design of coins to look similar to US coinage, included similar symbols even used the $ sign and logo of US coinage.  The website became a overthrow the federal reserve by intermixing alternate coinage nonsense and he began implying (at least that is prosecutions claim) a backing of federal govt and a guarantee of value.

In otherwords greed and nutjobbery did him in.


Bitcoin is legal under current US law.  That doesn't mean future laws could make it illegal but it is not illegal for US citizens to mint, own, exchange, or conduct trade in private currencies.  It never has been.

If introducing anyone to Bitcoin always make it explicitly clear that Bitcoin is not issued by nor backed by nor has any edosement of the federal govt (or any government).  Also be clear that it has no fixed exchange rate to USD and is not guaranteed to hold any value relative to USD (or any other currency).  It also is not legal tender (which means nobody is required to accept it as payment of debts).

Gerald Davis  CEO, Tangible Cryptography Inc.
BitSimple. A simpler way to buy and sell bitcoins
P4man
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October 26, 2011, 01:14:23 PM
 #79


Bitcoin is legal under current US law.

You have a source or link for that? Like I said, IANAL, but read this:


Whoever, except as authorized by law, makes or utters or passes, or attempts to utter or pass, any coins of gold or silver or other metal, or alloys of metals, intended for use as current money, whether in the resemblance of coins of the United States or of foreign countries, or of original design, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/486.html

True, thats about physical coins. But there is more:

NORFED’s "Liberty Dollar" medallions are specifically marketed to be used as current money in order to limit reliance on, and to compete with the circulating coinage of the United States. Consequently, prosecutors with the United States Department of Justice have concluded that the use of NORFED’s "Liberty Dollar" medallions violates 18 U.S.C. § 486, and is a crime.


http://www.usmint.gov/pressroom/index.cfm?flash=yes&action=press_release&id=710

That really doesnt seem to rhyme with your (interpretation of ?) law.

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October 26, 2011, 01:27:28 PM
 #80

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any coins of gold or silver or other metal, or alloys of metals,

whether in the resemblance of coins of the United States or of foreign countries, or of original design,
bitcoin could not be defined within these criteria.

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