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Author Topic: Could bitcoins be made illegal?  (Read 2192 times)
B!LL de_Cat
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December 28, 2011, 01:11:35 AM
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If tomorrow all the international drug peddlers, arms dealers, human traffickers, bonsai kitten merchants decided to trade solely in Bitcoins, could the US or any other government actually make the bitcoin itself illegal?  Instead of cracking down on illegal businesses, could a government actually outlaw the process of mining or transfering a bitcoin itself?
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cbeast
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Let's talk governance, lipstick, and pigs.


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December 28, 2011, 01:22:38 AM
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Sure. Gold was confiscated by FDR in 1933. That's not necessarily a bad thing if we use Bitcoin to back the economy through official govt channels.

Any significantly advanced cryptocurrency is indistinguishable from Ponzi Tulips.
MoreCowbell
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December 28, 2011, 01:44:28 AM
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Yes.  Democracy is the original 51% attack.
Stephen Gornick
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December 28, 2011, 02:35:38 AM
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could the US or any other government actually make the bitcoin itself illegal?

A Bitcoin private key is data.  When data is created using software running on your own computer it is probably safe to consider that as protected free speech.  So it is unlikely that creating these bitcoin addresses and private keys on your own computer is ever something that could be made illegal. 

However, there are certain things governments could do in response to Bitcoin and an even wider list of things they could try to do (e.g., require any party that accepts online digital currency to follow Know Your Customer requirements for instance).  

Here are some relevant links:
 - http://www.quora.com/Is-Bitcoin-legal
 - http://www.bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=6247.0

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December 29, 2011, 04:48:27 PM
 #5

Bitcoins can always be made either legal or illegal.

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December 29, 2011, 11:39:33 PM
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If tomorrow all the international drug peddlers, arms dealers, human traffickers, bonsai kitten merchants decided to trade solely in Bitcoins, could the US or any other government actually make the bitcoin itself illegal?  Instead of cracking down on illegal businesses, could a government actually outlaw the process of mining or transfering a bitcoin itself?

I'd still use them.
Why?
Because they would be banning IOUs next.

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ZedZedNova
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December 30, 2011, 05:15:58 AM
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Because they would be banning IOUs next.

Hmmm, if they did that many, many businesses that have floated bonds (a form of IOU) as well as governments would have some serious issues remaining in operation. No?

- Zed

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December 30, 2011, 05:18:21 AM
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This is what I love about bitcoin.  It's just a balance.  There no confusion, just a number, and it's never negative.  There's a bit of market manipulation because some people have huge stashes of them, but so does cash.  The FDR is probably wishing that they thought of bitcoin.

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December 30, 2011, 05:39:51 AM
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The FDR is probably wishing that they thought of bitcoin.

FDR isn't doing a lot of wishing of late?

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December 30, 2011, 06:05:39 AM
 #10

could the US or any other government actually make the bitcoin itself illegal?

A Bitcoin private key is data.

so is an image depicting child pornography.

some types of data can most definitely be outlawed.
netrin
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December 30, 2011, 07:28:38 AM
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But a key can be converted into a song... Freedom of speech in any civilized country.

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December 30, 2011, 07:56:12 AM
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But a key can be converted into a song... Freedom of speech in any civilized country.

hahaha, a mother-fucking rap song? hooray for 'free speech' Smiley
TeejFreeman
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December 30, 2011, 08:31:24 PM
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If government's can make incandescent light bulbs and carbon dioxide illegal they can certainly make Bitcoin illegal. You only have to ask yourself, "do I follow natural law or positive-law?" If you follow natural law, then you are already likely distancing yourself from those who choose to use force and coercion against peaceful people and are likely completely ignoring all those "man-laws" anyhow. So when Bitcoin becomes illegal you will already be in the mindset to not give a crap what those (pick your crimnal gang calling their selves "government") have made illegal this time.

-Teej

-Teej
libertaad
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December 30, 2011, 09:42:47 PM
 #14

They could make it illegal, but they will have a lot of trouble enforcing it. They'd have to basically shut down the entire internet as we know it in order to stop it. At this point, there is way too much vested interest from powerful parties to allow the internet to be shut down.

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December 30, 2011, 10:36:10 PM
 #15

I think the OP is combining two concepts.

Can the US govt declare Bitcoin illegal?  Sure.  Anyone saying otherwise is naive.  The US govt makes thousands of things illegal every year.

Can the US govt enforce that legislation EFFECTIVELY?  Well that is another question entirely.  Marijuana is illegal in the US but it is sometimes easier to acquire than herbs which ARE LEGAL.  Bitcoin would be even more difficult to Police due to the fact that it needs to physical form.  You can encrypt a wallet and claim plausible deniability.  You can't encrypt a physical item.  If the US can't keep tens of billions of dollars in drugs changing hands every year they have no chance of stopping Bitcoin.

So yes govt can declare just about anything illegal but that doesn't mean they can stop it.
TeejFreeman
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December 30, 2011, 10:56:15 PM
 #16

Making Bitcoin illegal would only increase the demand and value just as any other blackmarketed item. Illegality would also make BTC more widely known to the masses just as the Napster fiasco brought MP3 to the masses. This of course will make more troubles for government's fiat junk as more and more people begin using the competition.

-Teej
NASDAQEnema
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December 30, 2011, 10:57:47 PM
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Because they would be banning IOUs next.

Hmmm, if they did that many, many businesses that have floated bonds (a form of IOU) as well as governments would have some serious issues remaining in operation. No?

- Zed


"An act to criminalize private issue IOUs managed electronically through a cooperative authentication system" is a phrase coming to a bill near you.

I see fascism in your future, now give me back my crystal ball.

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cbeast
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Let's talk governance, lipstick, and pigs.


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December 31, 2011, 01:31:26 AM
 #18

"An act to criminalize private issue IOUs managed electronically through a cooperative authentication system" is a phrase coming to a bill near you.

I see fascism in your future country, now give me back my crystal ball.

FTFY. Must be a hindsight crystal ball.

Any significantly advanced cryptocurrency is indistinguishable from Ponzi Tulips.
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December 31, 2011, 05:15:50 AM
 #19

I see fascism in your future, now give me back my crystal ball.

Yup, we just have to make sure we build freedom tools faster than they can legislate.

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December 31, 2011, 10:59:42 AM
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i think it is safe for now unless it is used for pirating movies  Grin
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