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Author Topic: Walmart.com  (Read 9362 times)
MoonShadow
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August 01, 2010, 12:37:23 AM
 #1

It occurs to me that bitcoin would achieve an unassailable position once there are physical places that a person can get to within his own city in order to trade US$ for bitcoins in person, and therefore completely eliminating the artificial transaction costs that are the largest problem with using Paypal, credit cards or even the postage stamp needed for cash through the mail.  The quickest way to achieve something like this would be to get a nationwide retailer to accept bitcoins on their website and also be willing to sell bitcoins for cash at their storefront.  This would be something trivial for Walmart.com, since they already have a means of displaying the currency pricing local to the customer, and the pricing isn't static.  If a retailer as big and widespread as Walmart were to suddenly start accepting bitcoins in such a fashion, the trade value of bitcoins would rise considerablely due to the sudden expansion of the total market that bitcoin represents.  However, the downside is that any retailer anywhere near the size of Walmart would be able to manipulate the value of bitcoins at their will for a very long time.  So if Walmart were to accept bitcoins as payment, even just on their website, the value would increase; but if the central bank started to lean on Walmart over the issue, walmart might back out and the value of the bitcoin would crash, potentially destroying the currency.

Furthermore, being the market leader, Walmart doesn't really have any incentive to start using bitcoins, as it offers them no advantages.  But it might to a smaller competitor.  One that doesn't already have a "real" bank branch within their stores like Kroger and Meijer both do.  Are there any "small time" chain retailers that compete with these places that also have a nationwide website and at least one store in most cities?  It would be in the best interests of any such small chain retailer, but it would be an easier pitch if their website was already set up to handle pricing in different currencies. 


Unfortunately, I can't think of any that might fit that set of requirements to approach.

Creighton

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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August 01, 2010, 01:32:35 AM
 #2

Corporations such as walmart are protected by the state and will not do anything to threaten that.You cant sign up for their affiliate program without adding your tax information-yuck!.Maybe Amazon would be better as they are an online retailer and refuse to pay state taxes in certain jurisdictions.The issue with them is you need a shipping address.Although you could buy a gift card through a proxy for bitcoins.... Grin

I can buy walmart gift cards and get them posted to you or egift cards that only need an email address for online shopping for a 4% fee.
This is probably the closest you can get to buying them in store without having to give walmart your info.I suggest a temporary mailvault email that you access through tor  Smiley.
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August 01, 2010, 06:25:00 AM
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I can't see wal-mart or any other large retailer getting onboard until bitcoins are already very widespread.  Especcially with the prices of bitcoins fluctuating as much as they still are.

Tarot Card Readings for Bitcoins, available via e-mail, phone, skype or IM of your choice.  Inquire for price, quite reasonable.
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August 01, 2010, 07:30:18 AM
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I can't see wal-mart or any other large retailer getting onboard until bitcoins are already very widespread.

Yeah, I wouldn't expect wal-mart to use bitcoins any time soon, since corporations are creations of The State.  But once bitcoins become widespread, The State will become marginalized (although, I'd suppose the state could still tax land property and maybe find a way to tax bandwidth, road use, and other activities that require person-to-person contact in public).  Once The State becomes that weak, wal-mart may consider to start using bitcoins, since it would be willing and able to defy any laws against trading bitcoins.

"We will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography, but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years.

Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks, but pure P2P networks are holding their own."
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August 01, 2010, 08:14:25 AM
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I can't see wal-mart or any other large retailer getting onboard until bitcoins are already very widespread.  Especcially with the prices of bitcoins fluctuating as much as they still are.
Actually you guys kind of stumbled upon part of the project I'm working on with a bank. Basically, (as was said with paypal, credit cards, etc.) you have to pay a loss to get BitCoins in and out of conversion. Part of what I'm working on is what you guys describe, go buy a BitCoin "card" at a store, redeem it online to have the BitCoins transfered to your account to purchase with, pay bills, etc.


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August 01, 2010, 08:21:06 AM
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It's not the political aspect of bitcoins that would stop it, IMO.  A big part of it is the anonymity.  Walmart, and other corporations, like anonymity even less than the state does.  Also, if they were working as a conversion service, which would probably be more likely than actually selling products for bitcoins, they'd want their cut. 

Tarot Card Readings for Bitcoins, available via e-mail, phone, skype or IM of your choice.  Inquire for price, quite reasonable.
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August 01, 2010, 10:35:26 AM
 #7

Actually you guys kind of stumbled upon part of the project I'm working on with a bank. Basically, (as was said with paypal, credit cards, etc.) you have to pay a loss to get BitCoins in and out of conversion. Part of what I'm working on is what you guys describe, go buy a BitCoin "card" at a store, redeem it online to have the BitCoins transfered to your account to purchase with, pay bills, etc.

That's a very interesting entrepreneurial idea!  It could even be as simple as one of those scratch-off lottery cards, revealing a code to type into a website form!

"We will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography, but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years.

Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks, but pure P2P networks are holding their own."
knightmb
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August 01, 2010, 09:34:17 PM
 #8

That's a very interesting entrepreneurial idea!  It could even be as simple as one of those scratch-off lottery cards, revealing a code to type into a website form!
Similar to like a phone card for those pre-paid phones. You get a card for $15, $25, etc. amounts. Wal-mart *activates* the card by swiping it like a credit card, then those jumbled random numbers on the back are active to transfer X amount of BitCoins to whichever address you specify.

This allows you to buy the cards with cash (no credit/debit trail), but the only issue is really, how many BitCoins do I get for $1.00 for example? That's where the tricky part lies, I'm going to have to poll as many market sites as (they) will allow me to (talking with others about it) to get the conversion rate. So while it's possible that if you buy a $10 card and redeem it that day for more bitcoins than you would have got the day before, the key will be to make sure people understand that when they buy it. So they can buy it has sort of a investment or spending currency if they like.

It's certainly going to be easier to sell them that way to the giants like Wal-mart than to convince them to take BitCoins as payment. As time goes on though and things expand, who knows what the future may hold.

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August 02, 2010, 04:10:50 AM
 #9

Dollar General Stores!

http://www.dollargeneral.com/ourstores/pages/storelocationsmap.aspx

They are the market leader in dollar stores with storefronts within 10 miles of a very large percentage of the urban American population, and have a solid website.  Not perfect, mind you, but it would give them a small edge within an already competitive market.

And I love the 'bitcoin card' idea, also.  It would allow bitcoins to be sold *anywhere* just like prepaid phone cards are now.  Still not the most cost effective solution, but a workable one that should appeal to the privacy concerned.

I did notice, while I was a Walmart today, that the space that used to be occupied by a tax prep company is now occupied by a "Walmart Money Center".  There is already a bank branch, so I did a quick looksee on my way out.  It appears to be a currency exchange/international transfer desk.  Has anyone else seen this?  And if I'm right, and Walmart is now manning a full time currency exchange (most likely for hispanics sending money back to the motherland for family) why would Bitcoins be objectionable?  Sure, Walmart is a corporation and as such is a 'legal entity' created by the state, and not likely to push back if the feds ever get sideways with bitcoin; but Walmart is actually *bigger* than many governments, and has plenty of their own influence with the state.  As long as no one is actively trying to portray bitcoins as a subversive subculture, things should be fine.  I've noticed that many forum members seem to view themselves as proto-monetary-revolutionaries, but I certainly don't look at things like this.  If the public were to view bitcoins in a similar light, there is no way it can ever succeed.  It's just commerce, guys.  Free trade of the freest form, and nothing else.  That might seem revolutionary to some in our modern world, but it should only seem that way to those whom have a deep vested interest in the status quo, and that is exactly the kind of person that we don't want to attract attention from.  Nor are they the kind of people that tend to shop at Wal-mart, Dollar General or online most anywhere; and *certainly* don't buy anonymous phone cards for a pre-paid cell phone.

The anonymous nature of bitcoins is not it's most important feature.  That's just a side effect of it's cash-like nature.  The most important feature for it's success, now and forever, is that it does not require the implicit support of any single political structure; be it a single wealthy individual, corporation or government.  Such support wouldn't hurt matters; but the death of a man, nor the bankruptcy of a corporation, nor the overthrow of a government could not doom bitcoins to destruction.  The balkenization of the international Internet might, but maybe not even that.  Only the complete and permanent destruction of the Internet itself could stop bitcoins from becoming the future money of "Snow Crash" and "The Diamond Age", and if that ever happens very few people are going to be worried about their checking account balance either.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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August 02, 2010, 07:52:22 AM
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As long as no one is actively trying to portray bitcoins as a subversive subculture, things should be fine.  I've noticed that many forum members seem to view themselves as proto-monetary-revolutionaries, but I certainly don't look at things like this.  If the public were to view bitcoins in a similar light, there is no way it can ever succeed.  It's just commerce, guys.  Free trade of the freest form, and nothing else.  That might seem revolutionary to some in our modern world, but it should only seem that way to those whom have a deep vested interest in the status quo, and that is exactly the kind of person that we don't want to attract attention from.  Nor are they the kind of people that tend to shop at Wal-mart, Dollar General or online most anywhere; and *certainly* don't buy anonymous phone cards for a pre-paid cell phone.

I don't know how to stop this entirely, but it was something I warned about on Freenet and some of the other peer to peer network discussions:

The number of "legitimate" uses ought to completely overwhelm by a large margin the "unseemly" or even "illegal" applications that may come from the use of that network.  Freenet has, for instance, a very large amount of child pornography and other brazenly illegal content.  Perhaps it has practical uses for things like sending messages between Chinese dissident groups, but the mainstreaming of that software is painfully slow and indeed a reason I no longer participate with that network.  It certainly isn't "safe for work" and I nearly lost my job for having that on my work computer.  Not because of the peer to peer stuff but because of the content and trying to rationalize the software as something other than a means to get illegal content... illegal meaning things beyond even copyright laws.  Mind you, there are legitimate applications of the software, but when the "examples" are all subversive and attempts to offer content that is "mundane" are ridiculed within the community, it hurts rather than helps the cause.

For Bitcoins to really succeed as something actually used, stuff like the Heron store needs to be marginalized at best.  I don't mind the anonymous transactions being involved here, but the emphasis ought to be put on freedom and legitimate otherwise legal transactions.  I would like to work to get Bitcoins eventually recognized by an organization like Wal-Mart.  I don't think you could stop the anarchists if you tried, so I wouldn't spend engineering development effort to kick that kind of thing off the network, but it shouldn't be a dominant feature.  I would think that even those groups who want to engage in to more subversive acts wouldn't mind their traffic being drowned out by "legitimate" transactions.

As has been suggested by earlier posts, Wal-Mart isn't really an early adopter, so perhaps it would be better to go more for some companies that are more "hip" and into a network culture.  The trick is to try and identify what companies might be willing to go that route.

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August 02, 2010, 03:04:10 PM
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For Bitcoins to really succeed as something actually used, stuff like the Heron store needs to be marginalized at best.  I don't mind the anonymous transactions being involved here, but the emphasis ought to be put on freedom and legitimate otherwise legal transactions.  I would like to work to get Bitcoins eventually recognized by an organization like Wal-Mart.  I don't think you could stop the anarchists if you tried, so I wouldn't spend engineering development effort to kick that kind of thing off the network, but it shouldn't be a dominant feature.  I would think that even those groups who want to engage in to more subversive acts wouldn't mind their traffic being drowned out by "legitimate" transactions.

As has been suggested by earlier posts, Wal-Mart isn't really an early adopter, so perhaps it would be better to go more for some companies that are more "hip" and into a network culture.  The trick is to try and identify what companies might be willing to go that route.

When you say "Heron", I'm going to assume that you are referencing the "heroin" thought experiment that someone was using in another thread.  Kind of a significant spelling error, although I would totally buy into a service that delivered Great Blue Herons through the mail. Cheesy
I'm having a hard time understanding the rest of your post, but I feel like you're complaining that the "anarchists" will ruin things and you want to try to remove anonymity from the network, is that accurate?  As far as the "anarchists"(lets not get into your use of a straw man here) go, you may as well complain that they are bad for all of the freedoms that we enjoy.  I think that there's a productive critique in your post about ubiquity of BTC, but it's hidden by the complaints about what the bitcoin network is capable of.

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August 02, 2010, 03:25:03 PM
 #12

For Bitcoins to really succeed as something actually used, stuff like the Heron store needs to be marginalized at best.  I don't mind the anonymous transactions being involved here, but the emphasis ought to be put on freedom and legitimate otherwise legal transactions.  I would like to work to get Bitcoins eventually recognized by an organization like Wal-Mart.  I don't think you could stop the anarchists if you tried, so I wouldn't spend engineering development effort to kick that kind of thing off the network, but it shouldn't be a dominant feature.  I would think that even those groups who want to engage in to more subversive acts wouldn't mind their traffic being drowned out by "legitimate" transactions.

As has been suggested by earlier posts, Wal-Mart isn't really an early adopter, so perhaps it would be better to go more for some companies that are more "hip" and into a network culture.  The trick is to try and identify what companies might be willing to go that route.

When you say "Heron", I'm going to assume that you are referencing the "heroin" thought experiment that someone was using in another thread.  Kind of a significant spelling error, although I would totally buy into a service that delivered Great Blue Herons through the mail. Cheesy
I'm having a hard time understanding the rest of your post, but I feel like you're complaining that the "anarchists" will ruin things and you want to try to remove anonymity from the network, is that accurate?  As far as the "anarchists"(lets not get into your use of a straw man here) go, you may as well complain that they are bad for all of the freedoms that we enjoy.  I think that there's a productive critique in your post about ubiquity of BTC, but it's hidden by the complaints about what the bitcoin network is capable of.

I don't think he don't like black market anarchists, just black market anarchists who practicpated in drugs and prositutions traditionally handled by criminals. He probably wants agorist to offer services that doesn't scream "EVIL CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE". Though you could buy marijuana, legally in California and other states.

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August 04, 2010, 12:22:44 AM
 #13

Something is only a crime if there is a victim.That argument wont get you far in court though!

I prefer not to poke the bear but be like the porcupine ie - dont tread on me..... Smiley
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August 04, 2010, 02:10:56 PM
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I don't think he don't like black market anarchists, just black market anarchists who practicpated in drugs and prositutions traditionally handled by criminals. He probably wants agorist to offer services that doesn't scream "EVIL CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE". Though you could buy marijuana, legally in California and other states.

What I'm trying to say is that if you want to bring a presentation of Bitcoins to something like a board of director's meeting for Wal-mart, you don't want some skeptic typing in the words "Bitcoins" and getting nothing but porn sites, drug traders, and "other enterprises" that such major corporations don't want to be associated with.  If they are in the fringe of the users of this technology, they can be ignored and it won't be an issue.  If those kind of users are the primary users of this network, that could be a huge problem.

Enterprises that are early adopters for technology can also be filtered out in such situations, but not completely.  I'm also saying that there are so many other applications for micropayments that can be beneficial for Bitcoins that concentrating on just these other subversive kinds of enterprises is not going to be healthy in terms of spreading information about Bitcoins.  Concentrating on just these kinds of more anarchists type of applications might even backfire in terms of trying to get "mainstream" acceptance of the concept.

For this to be used on something like Walmart.com, it would most certainly have to be "in the mainstream" for it to be accepted.

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August 04, 2010, 05:28:39 PM
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What I'm trying to say is that if you want to bring a presentation of Bitcoins to something like a board of director's meeting for Wal-mart, you don't want some skeptic typing in the words "Bitcoins" and getting nothing but porn sites, drug traders, and "other enterprises" that such major corporations don't want to be associated with.  If they are in the fringe of the users of this technology, they can be ignored and it won't be an issue.  If those kind of users are the primary users of this network, that could be a huge problem.

Enterprises that are early adopters for technology can also be filtered out in such situations, but not completely.  I'm also saying that there are so many other applications for micropayments that can be beneficial for Bitcoins that concentrating on just these other subversive kinds of enterprises is not going to be healthy in terms of spreading information about Bitcoins.  Concentrating on just these kinds of more anarchists type of applications might even backfire in terms of trying to get "mainstream" acceptance of the concept.

For this to be used on something like Walmart.com, it would most certainly have to be "in the mainstream" for it to be accepted.

I haven't actually seen any sort of porn or drug transactions using BTC... there was the guy that talked about sending heroin, but that was just a thought experiment.  Going back to the original comment that you quoted, I feel that what both you and creighto are saying is self-evident.  I wouldn't expect walmart to use bitcoins unless there was an economic reason that didn't make them look like pedophiles/drug dealers/bad people.  To me, you might as well be saying that the sky is blue.

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August 04, 2010, 05:34:46 PM
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Walmart might be interested in the low transaction fees.
They probably have special deals but they're probably still paying a lot of money to companies like VISA for their transaction processing.
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August 05, 2010, 12:18:40 AM
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I haven't actually seen any sort of porn or drug transactions using BTC... there was the guy that talked about sending heroin, but that was just a thought experiment.  Going back to the original comment that you quoted, I feel that what both you and creighto are saying is self-evident.  I wouldn't expect walmart to use bitcoins unless there was an economic reason that didn't make them look like pedophiles/drug dealers/bad people.  To me, you might as well be saying that the sky is blue.

I specifically used the example of Freenet, which does have problems in terms of trying to sell its use outside of the guerrilla applications like child pornography and Chinese dissidents.  This isn't saying that "the sky is blue", but pointing out a major and significant problem in most peer to peer network.  There have been numerous other articles in mainstream press articles about peer to peer networks that continually criticize the subversive nature of those network and dismiss the inherent benefits from such networks.  This has become so large of a problem that at least proposed legislation has come in some areas to simply ban the concept of peer to peer networking altogether.... and that is something formally being pushed by groups like the RIAA and MPAA.

It is for this reason that I'm suggesting that Bitcoins try to at least philosophically distance itself from such subversive activities and try to stick with "legal" approaches and applications of this kind of currency and keep those kind of subversive activities more on the fringes of the group rather than a part of the mainstream of applications.  Besides, there is no way to really know what kinds of activities have been done with Bitcoins, and certainly no statistical data to show there hasn't been "any sort of porn or drug transactions using BTC".

What I am saying is that shouldn't be the first kind of thing for somebody visiting this website.  If I load up Freenet and give the mouse to a boss or CEO in a presentation about the technology, I certainly would be afraid of having something come on the screen when random links are pressed that would kill the presentation and make certain that its adoption would never happen.... even if I was not fired immediately for the presentation.  It isn't simply saying "the sky is blue" but to me a very real concern.

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August 05, 2010, 12:41:43 AM
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some valid points

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with the general idea that you're espousing, but your example doesn't quite work very well.   Freenet has the downside of quite possibly actively turning someone who uses it into a criminal just by its use, whereas it is likely much harder to prosecute someone for performing a transaction using BTC.  By worrying about who uses BTC, or how welcoming the project is to various people (we should welcome everyone to use BTC for legal reasons regardless of their political views), you're putting the cart before the horse.  I'm more concerned about building the clubhouse than who's on the guest list.
As for whether or not someone is accepting bitcoins for access to porn sites: I haven't seen it yet.  If someone wanted to make such a transaction, they would have to advertise it.  It can't be too prolific if no one has really seen it yet.

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September 14, 2010, 10:54:58 AM
 #19

Lol!

Wal-mart not accepting Bitcoin has nothing to do with them being a 'corporation of the state', etc. Bitcoin is P2P with no real central corporation to contract with. Who does Wal-mart sue if something goes wrong?

Of course, a "Bitcoin service provider" could be incorporated and used to contract with Wal-mart. I'm afraid that they'd become a target of abuse. Look at how the DOJ treated the owners of e-gold, goldage, liberty dollar, etc. Alternative currencies are NOT permitted. :/

I think it is better to let people redeem existing cards. Let others hold the contractual liabilities with Wal-mart and "the state". Smiley
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September 23, 2010, 04:59:01 AM
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I haven't actually seen any sort of porn or drug transactions using BTC... there was the guy that talked about sending heroin, but that was just a thought experiment.  Going back to the original comment that you quoted, I feel that what both you and creighto are saying is self-evident.  I wouldn't expect walmart to use bitcoins unless there was an economic reason that didn't make them look like pedophiles/drug dealers/bad people.  To me, you might as well be saying that the sky is blue.

I specifically used the example of Freenet, which does have problems in terms of trying to sell its use outside of the guerrilla applications like child pornography and Chinese dissidents.  This isn't saying that "the sky is blue", but pointing out a major and significant problem in most peer to peer network.  There have been numerous other articles in mainstream press articles about peer to peer networks that continually criticize the subversive nature of those network and dismiss the inherent benefits from such networks.  This has become so large of a problem that at least proposed legislation has come in some areas to simply ban the concept of peer to peer networking altogether.... and that is something formally being pushed by groups like the RIAA and MPAA.

It is for this reason that I'm suggesting that Bitcoins try to at least philosophically distance itself from such subversive activities and try to stick with "legal" approaches and applications of this kind of currency and keep those kind of subversive activities more on the fringes of the group rather than a part of the mainstream of applications.  Besides, there is no way to really know what kinds of activities have been done with Bitcoins, and certainly no statistical data to show there hasn't been "any sort of porn or drug transactions using BTC".

What I am saying is that shouldn't be the first kind of thing for somebody visiting this website.  If I load up Freenet and give the mouse to a boss or CEO in a presentation about the technology, I certainly would be afraid of having something come on the screen when random links are pressed that would kill the presentation and make certain that its adoption would never happen.... even if I was not fired immediately for the presentation.  It isn't simply saying "the sky is blue" but to me a very real concern.

One example of perfectly legal use of P2P is downloading purchased software.  I downloaded torrents of both WoW and entropia universe because they downloaded faster and more easily than trying to download the software from the company directly.  I got the torrents off of the company website.  I don't know how many other companies offer torrents of their software, I expect it would encourage piracy for those companies that charge for the software itself instead of for license to access their servers, but I know that just the traffic downloading WoW is enough to hold up as a significant legitimate use of a P2P network.  I believe they also torrent their updates.

Tarot Card Readings for Bitcoins, available via e-mail, phone, skype or IM of your choice.  Inquire for price, quite reasonable.
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