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Author Topic: Do US miners or bitcoin devs risk being sent to Guantanamo?  (Read 1090 times)
P4man
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October 26, 2011, 11:37:15 AM
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Ive posted this elsewhere, but I think it deserves its own thread. I bumped in to this today:

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

Its about a US citizen who is convicted for minting his own currency. Granted, its debatable whether bitcoin is a currency, but there is certainly a case to made for that, and while not a given, its entirely possible a court would rule that way. Then read some of the argumentation of the US attorney, its pretty damn scary:

It is a violation of federal law for individuals, such as von NotHaus, or organizations, such as NORFED, to create private coin or currency systems to compete with the official coinage and currency of the United States.
[..]
“Attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism,” U.S. Attorney Tompkins said in announcing the verdict. “While these forms of anti-government activities do not involve violence, they are every bit as insidious and represent a clear and present danger to the economic stability of this country,” she added. “We are determined to meet these threats through infiltration, disruption, and dismantling of organizations which seek to challenge the legitimacy of our democratic form of government.”


Domestic terrorism? Wow  Shocked  Time to reread some of that anti terrorism legislation.
Also the references to infiltration and disruption are at the very least... interesting.


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sadpandatech
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October 26, 2011, 12:03:36 PM
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Ive posted this elsewhere, but I think it deserves its own thread. I bumped in to this today:

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

Its about a US citizen who is convicted for minting his own currency. Granted, its debatable whether bitcoin is a currency, but there is certainly a case to made for that, and while not a given, its entirely possible a court would rule that way. Then read some of the argumentation of the US attorney, its pretty damn scary:

It is a violation of federal law for individuals, such as von NotHaus, or organizations, such as NORFED, to create private coin or currency systems to compete with the official coinage and currency of the United States.
[..]
“Attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism,” U.S. Attorney Tompkins said in announcing the verdict. “While these forms of anti-government activities do not involve violence, they are every bit as insidious and represent a clear and present danger to the economic stability of this country,” she added. “We are determined to meet these threats through infiltration, disruption, and dismantling of organizations which seek to challenge the legitimacy of our democratic form of government.”


Domestic terrorism? Wow  Shocked  Time to reread some of that anti terrorism legislation.
Also the references to infiltration and disruption are at the very least... interesting.



No, for this part right here;

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

  That's not to say there could not be stricter interpretations of current competing currency guildines put in place. But it would have to first be ruled that Bitcoin is even a 'currency'

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October 26, 2011, 12:26:53 PM
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Here's a related piece on the Bernard von NotHaus case:  http://themonetaryfuture.blogspot.com/2011/04/use-dollar-or-else.html and an amicus curiae brief in support of von NotHaus:  http://themonetaryfuture.blogspot.com/2011/06/gata-files-liberty-dollar-amicus-curiae.html

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October 26, 2011, 12:39:22 PM
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I think it only applies to physical coins or notes people might confuse with the existing ones used by the gov.

Although the guy who made egold also had a run in with the feds.

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sadpandatech
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October 26, 2011, 12:44:54 PM
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Here's a related piece on the Bernard von NotHaus case:  http://themonetaryfuture.blogspot.com/2011/04/use-dollar-or-else.html and an amicus curiae brief in support of von NotHaus:  http://themonetaryfuture.blogspot.com/2011/06/gata-files-liberty-dollar-amicus-curiae.html

  Thanks for the links. I had not realised they were working on an appeal. It will certainly be interesting to follow. Though, in the end my vote would be that a judge will find "it's intentionally similar to existing US legal tender". But, if they do bother to cover some of the 10th amendment parts in there, it will be intersting to see a current judges take on it relating to other forms of issued currency.

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October 26, 2011, 12:49:06 PM
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I replied to this in the other thread also.

with bitcoin we are not making or minting our own currency. the bitcoin currency already exists it was created by the work of the founders of bitcoin. in the same way that foreign currencies already exist created by the issuing governments. we are simply exchanging one currency for our work (mining) or our domestic currency(trading).

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P4man
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October 26, 2011, 01:00:39 PM
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No, for this part right here;

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


Thats just one of the many things he was found guilty off, and about the only one that wouldnt apply to bitcoin; read the rest too:

Following an eight-day trial and less than two hours of deliberation, von NotHaus, the founder and monetary architect of a currency known as the Liberty Dollar, was found guilty by a jury in Statesville, North Carolina, of making coins resembling and similar to United States coins; of issuing, passing, selling, and possessing Liberty Dollar coins; of issuing and passing Liberty Dollar coins intended for use as current money; and of conspiracy against the United States.
[...]
Article I, section 8, clause 5 of the United States Constitution delegates to Congress the power to coin money and to regulate the value thereof. [...] It is a violation of federal law for individuals, such as von NotHaus, or organizations, such as NORFED, to create private coin or currency systems to compete with the official coinage and currency of the United States.

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October 26, 2011, 06:39:43 PM
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No, for this part right here;

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


Thats just one of the many things he was found guilty off, and about the only one that wouldnt apply to bitcoin; read the rest too:

Following an eight-day trial and less than two hours of deliberation, von NotHaus, the founder and monetary architect of a currency known as the Liberty Dollar, was found guilty by a jury in Statesville, North Carolina, of making coins resembling and similar to United States coins; of issuing, passing, selling, and possessing Liberty Dollar coins; of issuing and passing Liberty Dollar coins intended for use as current money; and of conspiracy against the United States.
[...]
Article I, section 8, clause 5 of the United States Constitution delegates to Congress the power to coin money and to regulate the value thereof. [...] It is a violation of federal law for individuals, such as von NotHaus, or organizations, such as NORFED, to create private coin or currency systems to compete with the official coinage and currency of the United States.


  The problem is, that is NOT how Article I, section 8, clause 5 of the US Constitution reads. That was Tompkins interpretation of it.
     Original Indicement here;  http://www.howtovanish.com/images/VonNothausIndictment.pdf

 A bit more on some of Tompkins interpretations;  http://www.lewrockwell.com/rounds/rounds35.1.html  About half way down; Statutory Monetary Powers.  18 USC 486 http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/usc_sec_18_00000486----000-.html  is misrepresented to state,  “restraining the circulation of money not issued under its own authority.”

  Due to that, the entire paragraph containing said assertions was removed from the indictment before it was given out to the jury by the presiding judge.

  I am of firm belief that LD was in the worng here, but that does not warrant self interpretation of the law or the constitution by anyone, much less a US appointed attorney.  Also, after rading through a lot of that, they really did 'throw the book at him' sentencing wise as well. ;p

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
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October 26, 2011, 07:19:53 PM
 #9

no, Gavin gave a talk in the CIA's Lion Den last June (?) when the price was way higher than now.  if they were gonna cart him away they'd have done it by now.
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October 26, 2011, 07:21:55 PM
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Yes, you are correct. The statement by Tompkins seems grossly misleading if not outright incorrect. It does seem like there is nothing illegal about bitcoin in the US at this point (aside possibly from the physical bitcoins someone was selling).

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October 26, 2011, 07:22:55 PM
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no, Gavin gave a talk in the CIA's Lion Den last June (?) when the price was way higher than now.  if they were gonna cart him away they'd have done it by now.

Makes me wonder what the spooks are up to with bitcoin.

Any significantly advanced cryptocurrency is indistinguishable from Ponzi Tulips.
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October 26, 2011, 07:25:27 PM
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Has Gavin ever said what they talked about?

My guess (just a guess) is they likely wanted a better understanding of how bitcoin works.

1) Someday it might be a great way to pay HUMINT assets around the world without having any link to CIA.
2) CIA would want to know about all alternative methods that entities like terrorist cells could use to move money between borders covertly.
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October 26, 2011, 07:33:49 PM
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look, i may be naive by saying that officials here in the US just can't do anything they want to do.  they can't just start throwing Bitcoiners in jail and outlawing everything in sight contrary to their goals.

like anything else, the politics of gov't are a balance here in the US altho i agree they've swung a bit to the alarming side.
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October 26, 2011, 10:15:20 PM
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Next thing you know they will outlaw dancing and rock 'n roll.

Any significantly advanced cryptocurrency is indistinguishable from Ponzi Tulips.
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