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Author Topic: Bitcoins are not, in practice, fungible  (Read 8420 times)
FreeMoney
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March 09, 2012, 03:17:29 AM
 #101

So you give Slush the money and he spends it on some sexy downloads, the porn site operator dutifully returns the coins to Slush because they trail back to a theft.

Boomerang coins!

The blockchain only shows that coins came from other valid coins, it is completely devoid of moral information.

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March 09, 2012, 04:01:03 AM
 #102

Tell me, if gpumax paid you 15 btc tomorrow, and you found 10 of them came from slush's theft, would you give them back to slush?

Of course not.  If I was paid 15 BTC that means I gave up something of value for the 15 BTC I was paid (likely computing time in this example).  They aren't "slush" coins.

I also wouldn't try to track down the descendants of some roman house slave to return the gold coins their ancestor was bought with as some kinda of idiot reparations.   I am sorry Slush was robbed but I shouldn't lose value to make him whole and knowing Slush he would neither ask for expect it.

Bitcoin is about personal responsibility.  Freedom doesn't come without a price.  Freedom is the freedom to make a bad choice like keeping large sums of money in a virtual account a stranger has the backdoor to.  Freedom is also paying the consequence for that action.  I would imagine now many virtual host hot wallet owners are reconsidering and that consequence will have a positive impact. 
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March 09, 2012, 05:30:06 AM
 #103

I think we are both talking to brick walls. To be honest, I can't see any reason you are interested in Bitcoin to begin with if you only want to change it into the systems already available.

Bingo.

Bitcoin is the ultimate freedom test. It tells you who is giving lip service and who genuinely believes in it.
...
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In the future, books that summarize the history of money will have a line that says, “and then came bitcoin.” It is the economic singularity. And we are living in it now. - Ryan Dickherber
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The idea that deflation causes hoarding (to any problematic degree) is a lie used to justify theft of value from your savings.
Lupus_Yonderboy
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March 09, 2012, 05:34:21 AM
 #104

No, in the world of blacklisted Bitcoins I can not risk accepting coins from an anonymous individual because they could end up being tainted if the theft is reported after my exchange. So, I have to keep records and exchange personal information for every transaction I do, in order to protect myself. I may have to take steps to recover my goods if I get stuck with some tainted, worthless coins. Now I have to be able to verify if identification is legitimate or not, see records of current addresses, etc. This all leads to the wonderful world of bankers and fees. Middlemen getting rich off of peoples' inability to protect themselves from theft. Systems we already have. I see no reason to trade all the advantages of Bitcoin away just for some lousy blacklist that will cause more harm than good.

It is your choice to keep records and such then. Nothing forces you to stop being anonymous. You *might* lose a transaction's worth of coins over the deal if they are still in your wallet. Nothing compels you to keep records or come forward if there is an issue.

To be honest, I can't see any reason you are interested in Bitcoin to begin with if you only want to change it into the systems already available.

Funny I can say the same about those wanting to turn Bitcoin into a glorified form of cash. Just use cash instead, it is far more anonymous and stable than Bitcoin. What I want to do has never been done with any currency, ever, because it was previously impossible. Besides, we already have bankers and fees, they're called exchanges. Exchanges are also a point of centralization, btw. Everybody rails against the centralization, yet they use the exchanges. Because of the centralization exchanges would also be the best place to administer blacklists.

Look, even if I am not the one to bring this now, somebody will sooner or later. Why? Because it can be done. Put it out there now, while we are in beta, and let the market sort it out. If nobody respects tainted coins then the whole thing falls apart and it can be permanently put to bed, with proof it doesn't work. Otherwise this issue will pop up every time there is a major heist, and there will be more thefts. Besides, for those who argue this will destroy Bitcoin, what happens if a determined attacker implements this? You don't need a majority of the network, only a few %, after which it snowballs.

I doubt I will convince you, and I've already changed sides after dwelling on it for quite some time, so I doubt you will convince me.

I know I won't convince you, especially after I noticed you made many similar arguments several months ago. Multi-sig has me seriously reconsidering my security argument. I will ponder the rest of it. I do want to thank you for being civil. I appreciate it.
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March 09, 2012, 05:34:42 AM
 #105

Tell me, if gpumax paid you 15 btc tomorrow, and you found 10 of them came from slush's theft, would you give them back to slush?

Of course not.  If I was paid 15 BTC that means I gave up something of value for the 15 BTC I was paid (likely computing time in this example).  They aren't "slush" coins.

I also wouldn't try to track down the descendants of some roman house slave to return the gold coins as some kinda of idiot reparations.

I am sorry Slush was robbed but I shouldn't lose value to make him whole and knowing Slush he would neither ask for expect it.

Fascinating. It would be interesting to see the results of a professionally administered MMPI.
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March 09, 2012, 06:15:34 AM
 #106

To be honest, I can't see any reason you are interested in Bitcoin to begin with if you only want to change it into the systems already available.

Funny I can say the same about those wanting to turn Bitcoin into a glorified form of cash. Just use cash instead, it is far more anonymous and stable than Bitcoin.

You can't shove cash into a USB port (or go to some random bank) and anonymously send it to someone else halfway across the world in a few seconds.

Further, no one is approaching central banks and trying to convince them to change their cash, or their systems. Instead, an entirely new product was created for the sole purpose of acting as digital cash, and we've all just decided to use it.

So forgive me, but your statements seem a bit disingenuous.

But let's suppose enough miners and exchanges relented and implemented blacklisting to cause "tainted coins" to not be worth receiving.

Let's also suppose that the masses of us who came to bitcoin for what it was then left and created Bitcoin 2, with automated coin-mixing. (Because believe me, that's what would happen.)

Would you be satisfied because your goal of turning bitcoin into the currency you wanted was achieved? Or would you begin advocating for anti-anonymity changes to Bitcoin 2 as soon as the first theft occured (or earlier?)

Bitcoin is the ultimate freedom test. It tells you who is giving lip service and who genuinely believes in it.
...
...
In the future, books that summarize the history of money will have a line that says, “and then came bitcoin.” It is the economic singularity. And we are living in it now. - Ryan Dickherber
...
...
ATTENTION BFL MINING NEWBS: Just got your Jalapenos in? Wondering how to get the most value for the least hassle? Give BitMinter a try! It's a smaller pool with a fair & low-fee payment method, lots of statistical feedback, and it's easier than EasyMiner! (Yes, we want your hashing power, but seriously, it IS the easiest pool to use! Sign up in seconds to try it!)
...
...
The idea that deflation causes hoarding (to any problematic degree) is a lie used to justify theft of value from your savings.
Lupus_Yonderboy
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March 10, 2012, 02:18:14 AM
 #107

Funny I can say the same about those wanting to turn Bitcoin into a glorified form of cash. Just use cash instead, it is far more anonymous and stable than Bitcoin. What I want to do has never been done with any currency, ever, because it was previously impossible. Besides, we already have bankers and fees, they're called exchanges. Exchanges are also a point of centralization, btw. Everybody rails against the centralization, yet they use the exchanges. Because of the centralization exchanges would also be the best place to administer blacklists.

Well, yes I could use cash, and it would fit most of my needs. Except, it can be stolen (in person) much easier than Bitcoins. If I am meeting you face to face for a transaction, once we decide to complete the exchange, there are ways Bitcoin can protect me. A less secure option would be a locked phone with the Spinner app and just enough coins for the transaction. An extremely secure option would be family at home waiting for my email with the payment address. With Bitcoin, I can arrange to make a purchase from any stranger, and go to the place to make the exchange without carrying anything of value except a phone (and various other things that I don't leave home without). Same goes for selling items, I only need to take the items, and a way to check the block chain. Now, this may seem like a ridiculous precaution to some, but I like tools that provide me with additional security without too much complexity. Bitcoin is far superior to cash in this aspect. Plus carrying any large amount of cash can actually raise suspicion from "authorities" these days. Cash is easy to confiscate if those authorities decide they don't like what you are doing. I've read plenty of horror stories of authorities abusing their power against perfectly law abiding folks. Knowledge of my rights and knowing when to assert them goes a long way, but you can still find yourself in a bad spot without breaking a single law. So, I have to protect myself from criminals and authorities. Sad

Also, I've never used a Bitcoin exchange.  Wink

For face to face transactions, Bitcoin is no more secure than cash. The same methods used to forcefully take cash or items from you in a deal gone bad can also be used to force a bitcoin transaction. Most families would release the coins if their loved one was being held at gunpoint. I will agree that carrying a smartphone is far less obvious than a duffel bag/backpack full of cash, but anyone that can force you to give up the cash can also force you to send an email. I am not saying that it would be simple or easy for them to do, just that once your personal security is overcome Bitcoin and cash are equally insecure.

As far as authorities go you are correct. Having tens or hundreds of thousands in cash is often as bad as having drugs or similar contraband. On the other hand, courts are ruling that searching/copying cell phones during traffic stops without a warrant is legal. To be honest I haven’t been paying attention to any mobile bitcoin payment solutions, so I don’t know how resistant they might be to a tech inclined cop having temporary control over the phone and imaging it.

Look, even if I am not the one to bring this now, somebody will sooner or later. Why? Because it can be done. Put it out there now, while we are in beta, and let the market sort it out. If nobody respects tainted coins then the whole thing falls apart and it can be permanently put to bed, with proof it doesn't work. Otherwise this issue will pop up every time there is a major heist, and there will be more thefts. Besides, for those who argue this will destroy Bitcoin, what happens if a determined attacker implements this? You don't need a majority of the network, only a few %, after which it snowballs.

Honestly, I think it will happen at some point (if it isn't already happening at Gox, I don't know but some have suggested that it is to some extent). The reason I post in these threads is I want people to stop and consider a different point of view. Protect yourself and you should never need a blacklist. I understand that people calling for a blacklist have good intentions, as I did when I used to call for one. But I honestly believe that if it becomes commonplace, it will change Bitcoin into something less powerful. Tools are usually more useful if they have multiple uses! I've tried to show some ways that a blacklist can remove some of the usefulness of Bitcoin. And I'm sure there are plenty of examples I haven't even thought of yet.

I don’t see how protecting myself better equals not ever receiving stolen property.  Tools are indeed more useful when they have more uses and when they are used to their maximum potential. I am talking about taking the functionality already there in the block chain and leveraging that to make thefts worthless. 25k+ btc are a tempting reward for a group of hackers to spend weeks or months trying to break into a hardened target. Its not so tempting a reward if the coins can be rendered worthless immediately after the theft.

I know I won't convince you, especially after I noticed you made many similar arguments several months ago. Multi-sig has me seriously reconsidering my security argument. I will ponder the rest of it. I do want to thank you for being civil. I appreciate it.

I try to be civil as possible because I find one can accomplish so much more than they could with name calling or harsh language. I honestly want Bitcoin to be secure for those that find it useful and I want those calling for a blacklist to consider some of the possible negative unintended consequences that it may create. I think we can find technological ways to secure Bitcoins that will make theft practically impossible. I still think some genius will create a hardware "wallet" that will be easy to use, yet extremely secure. Imagine a wallet on a card that erases itself if the wrong pin/password is entered once. Of course you have a copy of the wallet safe at home! The more Bitcoin grows, the better the services and products that will grow alongside it.

We have technological ways to help prevent theft, multisig and blacklists Wink. If you can successfully prevent all thefts by other means, blacklists lose any possible use. Your card idea is interesting, but only those who want to be exceptionally secure will use it because getting a new card when you f’d up entering your pin/password is a big PITA.

Also, I want people to be responsible. Perhaps the way society has evolved has taken much of that responsibility away from the individual. But thieves will normally find a victim, and all of society suffers for it, because someone is able to obtain power (money) without offering something positive in return. With Bitcoin, we have a chance to relearn responsibility where it concerns our money. This can be a very good thing if we continue to strive for it, and it may spread responsibility into other aspects of our lives (I'm thinking a global scale here). Instead of figuring out how to punish thieves, we can figure out how to prevent theft in the first place, and then we can move on to other abuses, after all, so much abuse comes from the desire to obtain money (power). If everyone on the planet was twice as responsible with their money as they are now, I think it would be a much better place to live in (of course I'm talking about responsibilities other than security now).

Unfortunately you still have to provide some kind of deterrent for the theft in the first place. Robbing a bank will get you 10 years or so in prison. If the police never chased any bank robbers or the courts never prosecuted them, bank robberies would vastly increase. No financial system could withstand that, even ones where you can just print more money at will. That’s what we have in Bitcoin world. We have no cops, no courts (and no I am not advocating for such), no way to punish those who commit crimes against others. We give thieves a free pass on their crimes every single time.

I too, am trying for a more secure Bitcoin. I believe in this project, and I came here from a tech standpoint. I am not afraid of changes to beta software, unlike a vast majority of people here. Seriously, if you don’t plan on changing it, make it production software and stop calling it a beta test. Just look at the discussions over BIP 16/17, or the people freaking out over BIP 30. The irony is extremely funny. A bunch of people want to use a revolutionary currency, but are absolutely terrified of any changes made to it. Bitcoiners are a lot more scared of changes to Bitcoin than bankers are afraid of changes to their system.  I really feel for the devs, because any time they suggest a change or a bugfix to the general Bitcoin public, people start running around with their hair on fire. (Note: For anyone just joining us, I am *not* suggesting a change to the actual protocol.)


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March 10, 2012, 04:46:58 AM
 #108


Looks like the troll has a few of you hooked in to his empty, verbose arguments.

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March 10, 2012, 03:20:59 PM
 #109

For face to face transactions, Bitcoin is no more secure than cash. The same methods used to forcefully take cash or items from you in a deal gone bad can also be used to force a bitcoin transaction. Most families would release the coins if their loved one was being held at gunpoint. I will agree that carrying a smartphone is far less obvious than a duffel bag/backpack full of cash, but anyone that can force you to give up the cash can also force you to send an email. I am not saying that it would be simple or easy for them to do, just that once your personal security is overcome Bitcoin and cash are equally insecure.

I see your point, but I still have to argue that Bitcoin is more secure than cash for face to face transactions. Many crimes are crimes of opportunity, and if there is no opportunity, there won't be a crime. And even the dimmest thug is going to think twice before turning a simple robbery into a kidnapping. Yes, if they are determined, they can kidnap me and attempt to force my family to pay, but I can tell them no all the same. Ultimately it's my choice (or my family's choice). Whereas if I'm carrying a bag of cash and get bashed over the head with a tire iron, I no longer have that choice. Perhaps small differences in the end, but differences that are important to me.

Any prospective thieves doing a face to face Bitcoin transaction with you will know that they need to force you to complete it. Its not like a random mugging escalating to kidnapping. They'll come knowing and ready to take you alive and conscious. I agree that it would be much more difficult to do that than just shooting someone in the back of the head and taking a bag full of money. I find it curious that you might place a price on what your life might be worth. Is there really an amount of bitcoins that you would rather die for than give up in a kidnap situation? I can always make more money if I am alive. No amount of money can resurrect me.

As far as authorities go you are correct. Having tens or hundreds of thousands in cash is often as bad as having drugs or similar contraband. On the other hand, courts are ruling that searching/copying cell phones during traffic stops without a warrant is legal. To be honest I haven’t been paying attention to any mobile bitcoin payment solutions, so I don’t know how resistant they might be to a tech inclined cop having temporary control over the phone and imaging it.

Interesting. I wonder how the officer is going to obtain my cell phone without a warrant when it's locked inside my glove box, inside my locked vehicle. No reason to make it easy for them to violate my rights.  Wink

Oh, and if you have an android phone, you should check out Spinner. It's an amazing app, and I carry no more Bitcoins on my phone than I would cash in my pocket.

Your phone is not as secure as you think it is. Cops lie and cheat when they want. "I smell pot" during a traffic stop/checkpoint is probable cause enough for a search, and its impossible to disprove that in court. Planting a dime bag during the search is exceptionally easy, and who is the jury going to believe? Granted they usually reserve such behavior for those they strongly believe are doing something wrong. Also, most people carry their cell phones with them at some point when they are on foot, so its possible to lose control like that.

I just glanced briefly at the Spinner thread. In the context of security if you lose control of your phone to a tech savvy advesary, not only will they know the identity of your Spinner wallet, but by tracing the block chain they can pull all your other transactions from other wallets that you used to fund the mobile one. I know that you are exceptionally anonymity concious, so be careful. That is a potentially huge security risk.

I'm never more than 50 feet away from a connected computer or laptop, so I have no need for an Android phone Wink
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March 10, 2012, 06:51:07 PM
 #110

track. 1VayNert3x1KzbpzMGt2qdqrAThiRovi8
That was some evil example :)

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