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Author Topic: A Warning Against Using Taint  (Read 14636 times)
FreeMoney
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June 05, 2012, 10:47:05 PM
 #41

Let's use this thread to suggest titles for this thread.

"Confiscating bitcoins from innocent people. But what if there was a large bounty?"

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June 05, 2012, 11:25:57 PM
 #42

"Playing judge, jury and executioner when receiving bitcoins merely accused of being stolen some number of txs ago"

My personality type: INTJ - please forgive my weaknesses (Not naturally in tune with others feelings; may be insensitive at times, tend to respond to conflict with logic and reason, tend to believe I'm always right)

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June 06, 2012, 12:35:46 AM
 #43

"How to piss off friends and customers."

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June 06, 2012, 01:17:18 AM
 #44

"How to undermine confidence in a currency by destroying fungibility"
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June 06, 2012, 05:45:51 AM
 #45

"A Warning Against Using Taint"

I recognized that the taint was already there, kind of like that article about anonymity.  Since I felt that bitcoin thefts decrease its value, I wanted to make thefts less profitable for the thieves, so I proposed using the taint to accomplish this.  It seems that most people who replied are afraid that bitcoin users will make too many decisions based on taint.  I don't think they would (see the replies), but too many others do, so I'll stop defending the proposal.

Is there anything else I should do?

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June 06, 2012, 05:56:39 AM
 #46

"A Warning Against Using Taint"

I recognized that the taint was already there, kind of like that article about anonymity.  Since I felt that bitcoin thefts decrease its value, I wanted to make thefts less profitable for the thieves, so I proposed using the taint to accomplish this.  It seems that most people who replied are afraid that bitcoin users will make too many decisions based on taint.  I don't think they would (see the replies), but too many others do, so I'll stop defending the proposal.

Is there anything else I should do?

A good choice.

It just isn't right to take from some random user because some other user stole from another user. Nearly anyone would get behind something the could take back from the thief, but that's not on the table as a possibility.

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June 06, 2012, 07:30:56 AM
 #47

"A Warning Against Using Taint"

I recognized that the taint was already there, kind of like that article about anonymity.

No, it was not already there.

"Taint" exists only in the minds of people who think fungible goods can be stamped with some moral seal of approval.

Thief steals $10. The money changes hands. Eventually some of it winds up in the church offering plate. And from now on, by the power of fungibility and through the magic fiction of "taint," every check that church writes is rendered unclean... sorry, "tainted."

I don't even know where to start with that.

At least you stopped defending the proposal.

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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.
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June 06, 2012, 07:44:13 AM
 #48

I think the negative responders to this sort of proposal are largely failing to recognize that such a system would be:
a) highly automated
b) smarter than they seem to give it credit (e.g various levels of 'taxation' at popular brick and mortar government-audited points)
c) viral

Alternatively - they do understand this and they're resisting it in perhaps the only way that *might* work: overwhelming popular rejection/distaste + playing down the practicality of it.

I asked this question on stack exchange a while back:

Is there any way the Bitcoin network could resist a viral tainted-coin tagging system implemented by regulators?
http://bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/2119/is-there-any-way-the-bitcoin-network-could-resist-a-viral-tainted-coin-tagging-s

The answer seems to be, technically no, politically/socially maybe.

I feel confident that some government somewhere will try it if Bitcoin ever goes mainstream.
If they are 'heavy handed' in applying taint - then the more tainted coins (and the higher taxed they are), the larger the split in fungibility.
If they produce a massive split in fungibility this way - all they succeed in doing is creating a subset of bitcoins which are largely used for blackmarket transactions.
If you end up with a chunk of tainted coin.. you then have an incentive to spend it on 'blackmarket' goods and services (rather than reporting the source or paying the audit-point taxes to spend it cleanly)  - increasing the size of the blackmarket economy the taint system is supposedly there to control!

Because of this - I think that although such taint systems are inevitable, they'll be largely self-limiting and only effective if applied judiciously to the worst of the worst.

Most of the complaints here seem to be of the sort: "I don't like it!!!"
Well duh.. but can we move beyond that and look at what might happen whether you like it or not!?

I'm not convinced that it's as big a problem as some think (due to self-defeating effects if too heavily applied).. and I'm also not convinced that just naysaying it will stop it from popping up. Better to model a light-touch vs heavy-touch taint system and try to get a feel for how it might play out.


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June 06, 2012, 07:59:57 AM
 #49

Most of the complaints here seem to be of the sort: "I don't like it!!!"

No, the complaints are saying it won't work.  And unless you come up with a new reason why it might, we just keep going around in circles.


I'm also not convinced that just naysaying it will stop it from popping up.

Ok,  how's this.  If anything in the open source Bitcoin.org project for taint were to be added I would help towards getting going a fork of that project where there would be no such concept or recognizance of this concept referred to as taint.  I would do what I can to help beat this idea into the ground to which it belongs.

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June 06, 2012, 08:21:10 AM
 #50

Most of the complaints here seem to be of the sort: "I don't like it!!!"

No, the complaints are saying it won't work.  And unless you come up with a new reason why it might, we just keep going around in circles.

It can work *in a more mainstream setting* - because it's viral in nature, and if your local supermarket subscribes to a particular taint-list, it's in your interests to have wallet software which *understands* the taints that this supermarket subscribes to and the (initially small) penalties(taxes) it is enforced to enact.




I'm also not convinced that just naysaying it will stop it from popping up.

Ok,  how's this.  If anything in the open source Bitcoin.org project for taint were to be added I would help towards getting going a fork of that project where there would be no such concept or recognizance of this concept referred to as taint.  I would do what I can to help beat this idea into the ground to which it belongs.

Hows that? Mostly irrelevant.  Tainting will work in a world where the core bitcoin.org software *never* implements any taint-aware code.
It'll be locally applied, and thus people will be locally incentivized to have taint-aware wallets - even if they hate the whole idea.









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June 06, 2012, 08:27:08 AM
 #51

Most of the complaints here seem to be of the sort: "I don't like it!!!"

No, the complaints are saying it won't work.  And unless you come up with a new reason why it might, we just keep going around in circles.

It can work *in a more mainstream setting* - because it's viral in nature, and if your local supermarket subscribes to a particular taint-list, it's in your interests to have wallet software which *understands* the taints that this supermarket subscribes to and the (initially small) penalties(taxes) it is enforced to enact.




I'm also not convinced that just naysaying it will stop it from popping up.

Ok,  how's this.  If anything in the open source Bitcoin.org project for taint were to be added I would help towards getting going a fork of that project where there would be no such concept or recognizance of this concept referred to as taint.  I would do what I can to help beat this idea into the ground to which it belongs.

Hows that? Mostly irrelevant.  Tainting will work in a world where the core bitcoin.org software *never* implements any taint-aware code.
It'll be locally applied, and thus people will be locally incentivized to have taint-aware wallets - even if they hate the whole idea.










I would be boycotting that business if that's the case. Like finding out my ISP is limiting p2p traffic I would find another one.

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June 06, 2012, 08:35:51 AM
 #52

It can work *in a more mainstream setting* - because it's viral in nature, and if your local supermarket subscribes to a particular taint-list, it's in your interests to have wallet software which *understands* the taints that this supermarket subscribes to and the (initially small) penalties(taxes) it is enforced to enact.

Enforced?  By whom?

It matters not.  Because it is so easy to mix coins, all you need are enough people willing to throw their 100% untainted coins into the mix and your approach fails miserably.

"There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can't take part. You can't even passively take part. And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all."
 - Mario Savio


Hows that? Mostly irrelevant.  Tainting will work in a world where the core bitcoin.org software *never* implements any taint-aware code.

Ok, good.  So there will be no code in the client that will try to load your no-fly list.  That's fine then.

It'll be locally applied, and thus people will be locally incentivized to have taint-aware wallets - even if they hate the whole idea.

Have you been shopping on Silk Road?

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June 06, 2012, 08:40:58 AM
 #53

Does anyone remember the coin lolcaust created that had a massive premine and its aim was to create a money laundering fund ?


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June 06, 2012, 09:01:54 AM
 #54

Given the extent to which coins are "tainted" on the basis of little more than unsubstantiated claims, I can see legitimate businesses choosing to avoid taking Bitcoin altogether rather than having to go through the hassle of dealing with potentially tainted coins which may be difficult to offload.

All I can say is that this is Bitcoin. I don't believe it until I see six confirmations.
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June 06, 2012, 09:09:27 AM
 #55

Let's use this thread to suggest titles for this thread.

A new currency: BinLadenCoin! Unlike ordinary Bitcoin where there is no ownership, just carefully controlled ability to spend, BinLadenCoin introduces a huge layer of loosely described psychological Voodoo, whose rules keep changing because of the endless loopholes.

SecurityTheatreCoin  Cheesy

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June 06, 2012, 10:49:59 AM
 #56

This thread actually reminded me of an obscure bit of trivia I once learnt. Namely: ordinary cash (to the best of my knowledge) is not actually 'owned' by the person/s holding it. The actual bits of paper are owned by the government (or the reserve bank that issued them. It probably varies from country to country -- not sure).

This is analogous to the Bitcoin situation whereby nobody actually 'owns' any of the coins on the block-chain. As proof, anyone can download ALL of them if they want. Their usage is merely governed by the rules according to which coins are transacted using the open-source Bitcoin protocol. Therefore, the casual, social concept of ownership is not even part of Bitcoin, and everyone who bought into the idea should understand that and accept it instead of trying to change it into a different system.

No, it's completely different. The blockchain is more like a title deed, giving property rights to certain individuals, who can sign over all or part of their ownership to anyone else in a publicly witnessed manner. While it is true that nobody "owns" the blockchain, the rights that the blockchain provides (namely, the right to spend one's own bitcoins) are genuine property rights, and to suggest otherwise makes about as sense as suggesting that the deed to your house is worthless because you don't really own the piece of paper it's printed on.

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June 06, 2012, 11:26:44 AM
 #57

This thread actually reminded me of an obscure bit of trivia I once learnt. Namely: ordinary cash (to the best of my knowledge) is not actually 'owned' by the person/s holding it. The actual bits of paper are owned by the government (or the reserve bank that issued them. It probably varies from country to country -- not sure).

This is analogous to the Bitcoin situation whereby nobody actually 'owns' any of the coins on the block-chain. As proof, anyone can download ALL of them if they want. Their usage is merely governed by the rules according to which coins are transacted using the open-source Bitcoin protocol. Therefore, the casual, social concept of ownership is not even part of Bitcoin, and everyone who bought into the idea should understand that and accept it instead of trying to change it into a different system.

No, it's completely different. The blockchain is more like a title deed, giving property rights to certain individuals, who can sign over all or part of their ownership to anyone else in a publicly witnessed manner. While it is true that nobody "owns" the blockchain, the rights that the blockchain provides (namely, the right to spend one's own bitcoins) are genuine property rights, and to suggest otherwise makes about as sense as suggesting that the deed to your house is worthless because you don't really own the piece of paper it's printed on.

You dont actually own your own house. Have you ever tried not paying local council rates ?

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June 06, 2012, 11:53:23 AM
 #58

You dont actually own your own house. Have you ever tried not paying local council rates ?

Have you ever tried not paying federal taxes? By that logic, you don't actually "own" anything. But I (like most people) define "ownership" to mean "right of property", regardless of whether such rights can be revoked at the whim of the government.

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June 06, 2012, 12:08:13 PM
 #59

Given the extent to which coins are "tainted" on the basis of little more than unsubstantiated claims, I can see legitimate businesses choosing to avoid taking Bitcoin altogether rather than having to go through the hassle of dealing with potentially tainted coins which may be difficult to offload.

This thread actually reminded me of an obscure bit of trivia I once learnt. Namely: ordinary cash (to the best of my knowledge) is not actually 'owned' by the person/s holding it. The actual bits of paper are owned by the government (or the reserve bank that issued them. It probably varies from country to country -- not sure).

This is analogous to the Bitcoin situation whereby nobody actually 'owns' any of the coins on the block-chain. As proof, anyone can download ALL of them if they want. Their usage is merely governed by the rules according to which coins are transacted using the open-source Bitcoin protocol. Therefore, the casual, social concept of ownership is not even part of Bitcoin, and everyone who bought into the idea should understand that and accept it instead of trying to change it into a different system.
But you own the private keys for your bitcoins. Only you have that private keys.
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June 06, 2012, 12:16:10 PM
 #60

GREAT IDEA.

I find it highly ironic that the forum's "libertarians" are the ones that are most opposed to a personal blacklist. By public ridicule, and by threatening to attack the block chain, they seek to impose their academic hypothesis of fungibility on all bitcoin users. Why do you think you are allowed to use force to prevent me from implementing some scheme on my own client?

This begs the question as to the true motivation of the anti-taint thugs. Why are they attracted to the bitcoin cryptocurrency? Because it makes sense to them personally, or because they are confidence artists and believe the irrevocable nature of transactions will help them defraud more people?

We have a perfect record of every transaction that has ever occured in the economy. Why not use it?

I encourage the sympathetic readers of this post to stop thinking about bitcoin as "cash" and start thinking in terms of a distributed file system containing a perfect accounting ledger. The idea is much more sophisticated than "cash" and will lead one day to a system that will allow us to keep track of our debts to each other in terms of personal economic value.

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