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Author Topic: selling drugs and money laundering: the potential downfall of bitcoin  (Read 28503 times)
wb3
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April 08, 2011, 04:57:22 PM
 #81

ok, Something I want to clarify.

I wasn't suggestion the bitcoin network should be policed. I was suggesting THIS FORUM should be moderated more strictly. This is naturally the first place new merchants come when they learn about bitcoin and they want to know more. If the owner of 'grandma's home made cookies' comes here and sees a thread titled "Buy your LSD here, Anarchy, Death to the government" they are going to go running for the hills, and merchants are what give the bitcoins used for your drug money most of its value. Start a site called LSD4BTC.com forums and advertise there to your hearts content for all I care.


I see your point. However, I am leery of moderation (censorship). Now if what you mean by moderation, is keeping conversations on track within individual threads, OK. Rather than LSD4BTC.com, move it to a LSD4BST Thread.

It is not productive to censor, but it is to keep communications on track within groups.

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Jered Kenna (TradeHill)
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April 11, 2011, 02:46:01 PM
 #82

ok, Something I want to clarify.

I wasn't suggestion the bitcoin network should be policed. I was suggesting THIS FORUM should be moderated more strictly. This is naturally the first place new merchants come when they learn about bitcoin and they want to know more. If the owner of 'grandma's home made cookies' comes here and sees a thread titled "Buy your LSD here, Anarchy, Death to the government" they are going to go running for the hills, and merchants are what give the bitcoins used for your drug money most of its value. Start a site called LSD4BTC.com forums and advertise there to your hearts content for all I care.


I see your point. However, I am leery of moderation (censorship). Now if what you mean by moderation, is keeping conversations on track within individual threads, OK. Rather than LSD4BTC.com, move it to a LSD4BST Thread.

It is not productive to censor, but it is to keep communications on track within groups.

We all hate censorship but his point is really valid. Everyone I've talked to about Bitcoins that looked in to it brought up the drugs aspect.
Not saying we should get rid of it but it really hurts the image. I'm torn between both sides on this one.
I can see stores avoiding it for this reason.

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wb3
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April 11, 2011, 03:35:16 PM
 #83

I really wouldn't worry about stores or businesses. They are blind and only follow the sound of coins going cha-ching.  So many didn't think the internet was good business, but they came.

They will follow the Mob irrespective of what the Mob is doing. The drug thing will always be there and with time only be the same percentage as in IRL. It can be no other way.

Plus once the Stores, realize some of the "TAX" benefits of BitCoin, it will out way the Bad.

IMO, the whole key to a monetary system (BitCoin) isn't the Money, it is the Resources that the money can buy. BitCoin needs resources. Unfortunately, Drugs seems to be one of those resources.

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April 11, 2011, 03:37:21 PM
 #84

I really wouldn't worry about stores or businesses. They are blind and only follow the sound of coins going cha-ching.  So many didn't think the internet was good business, but they came.

They will follow the Mob irrespective of what the Mob is doing. The drug thing will always be there and with time only be the same percentage as in IRL. It can be no other way.

Plus once the Stores, realize some of the "TAX" benefits of BitCoin, it will out way the Bad.

IMO, the whole key to a monetary system (BitCoin) isn't the Money, it is the Resources that the money can buy. BitCoin needs resources. Unfortunately, Drugs seems to be one of those resources.

When you say "Tax benefits" you mean as in not paying tax or something else? I imagine most business will pay tax on btc like they pay tax on cash.

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April 11, 2011, 03:38:23 PM
 #85


When you say "Tax benefits" you mean as in not paying tax or something else? I imagine most business will pay tax on btc like they pay tax on cash.

grudgingly and on about 10% of the actual amount?

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April 11, 2011, 03:42:11 PM
 #86

Yes, they will but since they can change their Public Key for transactions, they will be able to do what many waiters and waitresses do. If they make a $100.00 Tip on a $300 meal, most must pay 7%. So they don't report the $100, they report $21. Which gives them $79 tax free.

You just split the Tip, $21 to the official Public Key, and $79 to the unofficial Public Key.

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Jered Kenna (TradeHill)
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April 11, 2011, 03:42:26 PM
 #87


When you say "Tax benefits" you mean as in not paying tax or something else? I imagine most business will pay tax on btc like they pay tax on cash.

grudgingly and on about 10% of the actual amount?

It's going to depend on the business of course. I imagine some pay 100% of what they're supposed to and others as close to 0% as possible.

I'm just saying I'd assume btc taxes will be paid the same as people do with cash. If you didn't pay on cash you're not going to start with btc or the other way around.
Also it's going to depend on the country. Where I'm at we have government serialized receipts. That's a different story. If I give one of those for credit / cash / check / btc whatever I'm paying taxes on it.

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April 11, 2011, 03:49:16 PM
 #88

People can easily do this with BTC, just as easily one does it with Cash. Because you are only dealing with 2 parties.

Many private car sales, put $1 for the car transaction for tax reasons. But they actually paid, $1000 for the car.  Especially since it was an AS-IS sale anyway, their is no recourse for an unhappy party in the transaction. So, why not?


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Jered Kenna (TradeHill)
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April 11, 2011, 04:08:36 PM
 #89

People can easily do this with BTC, just as easily one does it with Cash. Because you are only dealing with 2 parties.

Many private car sales, put $1 for the car transaction for tax reasons. But they actually paid, $1000 for the car.  Especially since it was an AS-IS sale anyway, their is no recourse for an unhappy party in the transaction. So, why not?



I agree 100%. I'm just saying some people (not most) follow the law to the letter and declare it all.
My whole point is it will be the same people that declare $1 on the car with cash that do it with BTC.
Basically with cash / btc it's your decision if you're going to pay the tax or not.
That is of course assuming your country doesn't have a better way to enforce it.

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wb3
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April 11, 2011, 04:38:30 PM
 #90

When the government wants to get in between 2 individuals conducting a trade, it is time to move.  They should stick with large volume trades and ignore individual trades.

These issues only really crop up when the people are being overtaxed and the government is being overly aggressive in collections.
It should be a warning to the Government and the People that we are not in Kansas anymore. There is a tipping point when people will flee from the traditional methods of Government tracking and start truly private ones.

I already know people that have diversified their wealth, out of the banking system. I can trade locally with Gold and Silver for big ticket items. I even know of some small ma and pop stores that will do it.

Drugs and money-laundering is the least of the Governments problems. Maintaining the value of the dollar while avoiding a financial breakdown is more important. Heck, they might even want a loan from the money launders or give them a better rate by running it through treasuries.  Sort of an Amnesty for launders if they get to hold onto the money for 10 years.  Grin


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May 28, 2011, 04:38:19 PM
 #91

I really wouldn't worry about stores or businesses. They are blind and only follow the sound of coins going cha-ching.  So many didn't think the internet was good business, but they came.

They will follow the Mob irrespective of what the Mob is doing. The drug thing will always be there and with time only be the same percentage as in IRL. It can be no other way.

Plus once the Stores, realize some of the "TAX" benefits of BitCoin, it will out way the Bad.

IMO, the whole key to a monetary system (BitCoin) isn't the Money, it is the Resources that the money can buy. BitCoin needs resources. Unfortunately, Drugs seems to be one of those resources.

When you say "Tax benefits" you mean as in not paying tax or something else? I imagine most business will pay tax on btc like they pay tax on cash.

They probably won't pay tax on BTC until they convert it to cash. This really does underscore the problems with the tax system in the US though. You pay income tax AND sales tax.  They get you twice for every transaction.  One or the other if you ask me.  As it stands today, a business could not survive [or even start] if it involved only bitcoins, it must use the fiat currency to actually do business.  If bitcoin gets large enough, that could change, but at the same time, governments will come up with novel ways of getting their cut.

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May 29, 2011, 01:08:09 AM
 #92

I really wouldn't worry about stores or businesses. They are blind and only follow the sound of coins going cha-ching.  So many didn't think the internet was good business, but they came.

They will follow the Mob irrespective of what the Mob is doing. The drug thing will always be there and with time only be the same percentage as in IRL. It can be no other way.

Plus once the Stores, realize some of the "TAX" benefits of BitCoin, it will out way the Bad.

IMO, the whole key to a monetary system (BitCoin) isn't the Money, it is the Resources that the money can buy. BitCoin needs resources. Unfortunately, Drugs seems to be one of those resources.

When you say "Tax benefits" you mean as in not paying tax or something else? I imagine most business will pay tax on btc like they pay tax on cash.

They probably won't pay tax on BTC until they convert it to cash. This really does underscore the problems with the tax system in the US though. You pay income tax AND sales tax.  They get you twice for every transaction.  One or the other if you ask me.  As it stands today, a business could not survive [or even start] if it involved only bitcoins, it must use the fiat currency to actually do business.  If bitcoin gets large enough, that could change, but at the same time, governments will come up with novel ways of getting their cut.

Here in Japan I pay taxes on bitcoin income based on the equivalent JPY value at date of sale.

I then pay taxes or deduct taxes when converting BTC to JPY if the price is different from the bitcoin price when the order happened (if I get more money, I pay taxes on the extra income. If I get less money, I can deduct this from paid taxes).

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May 29, 2011, 03:54:01 AM
 #93

Here in Japan I pay taxes on bitcoin income based on the equivalent JPY value at date of sale.

I then pay taxes or deduct taxes when converting BTC to JPY if the price is different from the bitcoin price when the order happened (if I get more money, I pay taxes on the extra income. If I get less money, I can deduct this from paid taxes).

In the U.S. there is the concept of a hobby tax.  So, if you don't make a profit after expenses on your hobby, then you don't pay income tax.  So, if you invest in hardware to mine, you have to make that money back.  It gets a little tricky if it is dual use [i.e. you use the hardware for other things ... like I do with my primary workstation, but just keep accurate records .. i.e. the card you had may have done what you need to do just fine, so the new card was purchased at a higher price to mine, then you could claim the difference in worth of the two cards at the time of purchase as the investment].  Also, keep track of electricity costs.  Again, I always leave my machines running 24/7 with hard drive platters spinning, so I have to be careful that I count only the electricity spent by the mining process [GPU and fans ... I have to set my case fans to high where before they were low].  That would be your costs.  So, money deposited into your account minus investment and costs to operate would be the taxable income for a hobby [and for most people, that is all that can be claimed of Bitcoin right now since it is largely a geeky thing to do.  I know it is a hobby for me.  I used my initial earnings to buy parts or upgrade some existing parts in otherwise retired machines [and I lost a power supply to my last machine due to a bad board, but I though it was the power supply, so the replacement blew too requiring a cheap board purchase and a second PSU].  All in all, I think I am past even thanks to starting in mid to early April, but not significantly ahead.  I am not sure, but if the income doesn't exceed $600(? ... been a long time since any side work didn't net me more than the minimum to tax), I wouldn't have to count it anyway [I know that is true for certain types of work, like one time small contract jobs, but best to talk to a CPA on that one].

All and all, it would be wise for people to keep track.  The bitcoin community is rather small, and tracking through obvious sites like Mt. Gox and other exchanges is easy for the IRS [or tax agency of any given country].  Consider the pools where the owners have clearly made profits; Tycho, Slush and others ... there is no way they could get away with not claiming that income [in Germany] .... one of the centers of economic socialism :p

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May 29, 2011, 04:28:14 AM
 #94

Taxes disgust me. It puzzles me that so many people happily jump through all the hoops obviously designed to fuck the average person in favor of the tax lords and big businesses. I'm not making any money on Bitcoin, but if I were to do so, wouldn't claim it unless absolutely necessary. I see it as an amazing new tool to avoid the slavery of taxation.

Yes, taxation is slavery. A portion of your time, represented by money, is taken from you by force or the threat thereof.

As far as drugs go, here's what I have to say on that...

Or, maybe it is the case that an effective anonymous drug market makes things safer for all parties involved.

For instance, Silk Road has built in reputation, escrow, dispute mediation, and pseudo-anonymity.

Reputation
This helps buyers by making sure they are ordering from trusted individuals, and also gives them recourse against bad trades. I'm not sure if there is anything preventing abuse by malicious individuals that want to harm a reputation, but I don't see it as that large a risk.

Consider the alternative
In real life, you may know nothing about the previous trades of a dealer or his level of trustworthiness, increasing your risk.

Escrow
This protects both buyer and seller from fraud.

Consider the alternative
Once you hand over your cash, it's gone.

Dispute mediation
In the event that the buyer reports that they are not satisfied, site staff attempt to resolve the dispute. No idea how they do this, but the fact that it is available is all that matters.

Consider the alternative
If the buyer or seller gets ripped off, they cannot go to the police as their trade is illegal. What generally happens is that one or both parties resort to violence.

Pseudy-anonymity
The buyer must supply a shipping address, and the seller must have a return address, but there is no reason that either of those addresses must be explicitly associated with the individual more than the time necessary to send/receive the shipment. This further provides protection from violence, both from the other party and state police forces.

Consider the alternative
It's hard to stay anonymous when you have to meet someone in person. Not only does this allow for the use of violence against you, but doing so also potentially offers yourself up to undercover police for arrest or worse.

What's really more dangerous, Silk Road or the "war on drugs"? One helps facilitate non-violent trade, the other produces a militarization of the police and criminals.
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May 29, 2011, 01:45:52 PM
 #95

Yes, taxation is slavery. A portion of your time, represented by money, is taken from you by force or the threat thereof.
Well, you can choose not to earn taxable income, to not work. I don't think chattels enjoyed as much choice in that regard.

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May 29, 2011, 02:05:22 PM
 #96

Yes, taxation is slavery. A portion of your time, represented by money, is taken from you by force or the threat thereof.
Well, you can choose not to earn taxable income, to not work. I don't think chattels enjoyed as much choice in that regard.

Barter is taxable in the United States. Unless you're subsisting completely self sufficiently, I think you will always have a tax obligation.
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May 29, 2011, 02:46:21 PM
 #97

You would have to be on drugs to enjoy paying taxes.  Smiley

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May 29, 2011, 07:16:30 PM
 #98

Yes, taxation is slavery. A portion of your time, represented by money, is taken from you by force or the threat thereof.
Well, you can choose not to earn taxable income, to not work. I don't think chattels enjoyed as much choice in that regard.

There are faster and easier ways to commit suicide.

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May 31, 2011, 01:25:08 PM
 #99

There are faster and easier ways to commit suicide.
Sure, but even in that regard, we have more freedom to make that choice than chattels. I can imagine a slave owner resorting to gavage to preserve a recalcitrant investment, but the IRS, not so much.

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June 05, 2011, 03:55:57 PM
 #100

ok, Something I want to clarify.

I wasn't suggestion the bitcoin network should be policed. I was suggesting THIS FORUM should be moderated more strictly. This is naturally the first place new merchants come when they learn about bitcoin and they want to know more. If the owner of 'grandma's home made cookies' comes here and sees a thread titled "Buy your LSD here, Anarchy, Death to the government" they are going to go running for the hills, and merchants are what give the bitcoins used for your drug money most of its value. Start a site called LSD4BTC.com forums and advertise there to your hearts content for all I care.



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