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Author Topic: Buying Stolen Bitcoins?  (Read 970 times)
Taz
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July 14, 2012, 10:50:18 PM
 #1

There's already some big and small cases of bitcoins being stolen.
Just wondering if you could buy coins off an exchage or somewhere else,
but later end up losing them because they belong to someone else?
What do you think?
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July 14, 2012, 11:07:55 PM
 #2

Yes, you could buy stolen bitcoins from an exchange or elsewhere, but no, you're not going to lose them. Nobody can take your bitcoins away from you; the worst they can do is refuse to accept stolen or otherwise "tainted" bitcoins as payment, which is hideously impractical for a variety of reasons.

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July 14, 2012, 11:10:35 PM
 #3

How is it determined that a specific Bitcoin is or is not stolen?
John (John K.)
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July 14, 2012, 11:16:22 PM
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You won't lose them. Much like cash, where your stack of notes might be involved in a previous robbery.

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Taz
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July 14, 2012, 11:27:01 PM
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So with real cash the original owner of no right of his/her stolen money if it's been traded?
That would suck.

It might be a real hang up for bc if you were to by some on the go for a purpose,
but then it won't be accepted because it's under suspicion.
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July 15, 2012, 01:02:48 AM
 #6

its a crytpocurrency not Uncle Sam's wooden law
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July 15, 2012, 01:07:56 AM
 #7

Are any exchanges rejecting coins based on taint?

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John (John K.)
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July 15, 2012, 01:09:18 AM
 #8

So with real cash the original owner of no right of his/her stolen money if it's been traded?
That would suck.

It might be a real hang up for bc if you were to by some on the go for a purpose,
but then it won't be accepted because it's under suspicion.
I meant that in the BTC world, no one's going to reject your coins for being tainted.

Are any exchanges rejecting coins based on taint?
Gox will ask for 1st level verification if your coins is sufficiently tainted enough last time. Not sure of their policy now.

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July 15, 2012, 01:17:36 AM
 #9

Yes, you could buy stolen bitcoins from an exchange or elsewhere, but no, you're not going to lose them. Nobody can take your bitcoins away from you; the worst they can do is refuse to accept stolen or otherwise "tainted" bitcoins as payment, which is hideously impractical for a variety of reasons.
No, the worst they can do is seize them after you deposit them and freeze your account until you accommodate their every whim.

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July 15, 2012, 01:33:40 AM
 #10

No, the worst they can do is seize them after you deposit them and freeze your account until you accommodate their every whim.
I suppose it is important to realize that when we "deposit" our bitcoins we give them to someone else (or some company) placing them entirely within their control to do whatever they like with.  Then we hope they are trustworthy enough to live up to the promises that they have made to us regarding what they will do with the coins we've given them and that they will give them back to us if we request them.

As you've pointed out, "freezing the account" is one thing they can do that we may not desire.  I'm not sure that I'd consider that to be the worst they can do.  The worst they can do is shut down the site and disappear with the coins. Of course neither freezing the account nor stealing the requires that the bitcoins be tainted as a prerequisite.  Both of those possibilities could also happen with brand new freshly mined bitcoins.

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July 15, 2012, 06:52:17 AM
 #11

thank you i was wndering the same thing
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July 15, 2012, 08:09:29 AM
 #12

Yes, you could buy stolen bitcoins from an exchange or elsewhere, but no, you're not going to lose them. Nobody can take your bitcoins away from you; the worst they can do is refuse to accept stolen or otherwise "tainted" bitcoins as payment, which is hideously impractical for a variety of reasons.

This keeps being said, but is misleading as it confuses how Bitcoin works.

No one can know what kind of coins are going to be sent to an address before they're sent. And no one can reject or refuse to receive bitcoins sent to their address once the address is given.

Should a merchant/exchange receive bitcoins that they trace back to a crime and don't want to deal with, they may return them. Or they might keep them (as "evidence" or whatever.) "Refusal" would really be doing either of those, and it's the latter that's the problem; if you're going to be bold enough to hold onto someone's money yet openly refuse them the service/product they paid you for, you should be bold enough to involve law enforcement or arbitration to get to the root of the problem as well.

So to answer the OP; yes, if you send money to someone who is tracing the bitcoins, you might "lose" them if they trace back to a crime and the merchant/exchange is unscrupulous and keeps your money without involving the police. Such tracing isn't a widespread practice among merchants at the moment, but just as with U.S. dollars, if it happens that they decide to keep your money due to a claim that the funds are stolen, you should consider immediately involving police or arbitration to resolve the situation.

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July 15, 2012, 09:33:21 AM
 #13

Are any exchanges rejecting coins based on taint?

It is far more likely that US currency has been near taint, especially small bills.

MtGox previously has locked accounts for investigation when it felt that coins transferred in were likely stolen or from a hack, however I haven't heard the final disposition of such cases (if they were hackers, they're probably not going to complain here loudly that MtGox stole their BTC).

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