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(Ars Technica)   The American government would like you to know that they have the authority to regulate Bitcoins   (arstechnica.com) divider line 92
    More: Asinine, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, bitcoins, United States, derivatives trading, virtual currency, monopoly money  
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3715 clicks; posted to Business » on 07 May 2013 at 1:25 PM (50 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-05-07 12:07:32 PM
If you want your virtual, encrypted, anonymous currency to remain free of the government, you need to move it to the fictional South Pacific island nation of Kinakuta.
 
2013-05-07 12:21:02 PM
Respect my authora-tie!
 
2013-05-07 12:25:47 PM
Good luck with that.
 
2013-05-07 12:43:44 PM
How is it not "commerce among the several states", which the Feds have explicit authority to regulate? It's at least as much "commerce" as growing (or not growing) crops is, which means SCOTUS has effectively decided this question already.
 
2013-05-07 12:48:03 PM

Dr Dreidel: How is it not "commerce among the several states", which the Feds have explicit authority to regulate? It's at least as much "commerce" as growing (or not growing) crops is, which means SCOTUS has effectively decided this question already.


To be fair, four supreme court justices, and very nearly five, just said that Congress is not authorized to levy what amounts to a tax (the individual mandate), so you can never be too sure.

That being said, I do think it is well within the limits of the constitution for Congress to regulate bitcoins.  How they will go about doing that, I'm not so sure.
 
2013-05-07 12:48:41 PM
Like the gov isn't tracking it already.
 
2013-05-07 12:48:42 PM
"It's not Monopoly money we're talking about here-real people can have real risk in these instruments, and we need to ensure that we protect markets and consumers the banking industry"

FIFY
 
2013-05-07 01:09:16 PM
I suppose they could try.  I imagine it would be like the war on drugs.
 
2013-05-07 01:16:18 PM
but satoshi dice is soo soo fun!
 
2013-05-07 01:36:50 PM
It would be very easy for the U.S. government to regulate bitcoin, or at least, the bitcoin exchanges.  If they are located outside the country, the US tells them that they have to accept regulation or be banned from doing business in the U.S.  If they don't go along with it, then the U.S. forbids banks and credit card companies and such from doing business with them.  If mtgox can't get any real money in or out of it, then mtgox can't do business.

If Bitcoin ever does succeed at becoming a legitimate currency, it will be run by governments and large banks, like all other currencies.
 
2013-05-07 01:41:56 PM

Dr Dreidel: How is it not "commerce among the several states", which the Feds have explicit authority to regulate? It's at least as much "commerce" as growing (or not growing) crops is, which means SCOTUS has effectively decided this question already.


Well would the same be said of WOW currency as well? As I understand it Bitcoins are a lot like that. A group of people assign worth to these and trade amongst themselves you can buy in too if you're will to assign the same amount of worth to it. We know that both WOW currency and Bitcoins have a real world worth because people sell both on the open market and people buy them. Prices fluctuate due to supply and demand.

It's a fun little exercise in economics.
 
2013-05-07 01:43:18 PM
bwahahahahahahaha

*gasp*

hahahahahahahahaha

*faints, crashing into floor*
 
2013-05-07 01:46:33 PM

2chris2: It would be very easy for the U.S. government to regulate bitcoin, or at least, the bitcoin exchanges.  If they are located outside the country, the US tells them that they have to accept regulation or be banned from doing business in the U.S.  If they don't go along with it, then the U.S. forbids banks and credit card companies and such from doing business with them.  If mtgox can't get any real money in or out of it, then mtgox can't do business.

If Bitcoin ever does succeed at becoming a legitimate currency, it will be run by governments and large banks, like all other currencies.


The cynic in me thinks they haven't started regulating it only because they haven't figured out how to make a sure profit off of it.  Hence the "it's a house of cards" argument in the article.  Once banks figure out how to offload the risk and guarantee a profit, they will get their friends in the government to step in to protect their investments.
 
2013-05-07 01:52:14 PM
Man, government oversight would really harsh my techno-anarchist buzz. I better move all my money into fartcredits.
 
2013-05-07 01:56:01 PM
Who do you think created it?
 
2013-05-07 01:56:09 PM

Wendy's Chili: Man, government oversight would really harsh my techno-anarchist buzz. I better move all my money into fartcredits.


My sources tell me that Schrutebucks are about to explode.
 
2013-05-07 01:58:57 PM
I've got all my money in Camel Cash.  You'll all be sorry when your dollars are worthless and I'm looking stylish in my Smokin' Joe windbreaker.

3.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-05-07 02:01:35 PM

Driedsponge: Once banks figure out how to offload the risk and guarantee a profit, they will get their friends in the government to step in to protect their investments.


There's nothing new to figure out, they can just use the same tried-n-true formula.

Step 1: Overleverage.

Step 2: Cause credit markets to freeze when investment crashes.

Step 3: Await bailout.

If the CFTC had any sense they would have smacked the hedge funds down the minute they heard about this stupidity.
 
2013-05-07 02:02:26 PM

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Dr Dreidel: How is it not "commerce among the several states", which the Feds have explicit authority to regulate? It's at least as much "commerce" as growing (or not growing) crops is, which means SCOTUS has effectively decided this question already.

Well would the same be said of WOW currency as well? As I understand it Bitcoins are a lot like that. A group of people assign worth to these and trade amongst themselves you can buy in too if you're will to assign the same amount of worth to it. We know that both WOW currency and Bitcoins have a real world worth because people sell both on the open market and people buy them. Prices fluctuate due to supply and demand.

It's a fun little exercise in economics.


WOW currency (as I understand it) is not designed as a real-world currency. It's an in-game currency that can be transferred to someone else (based on mutual agreement). BitCoins are designed specifically to be real-world digital currency.

It may be a semantic difference, but the difference between what is designed as an actual currency and an in-game currency that has spawned a real-world "currency exchange" to satisfy a market demand doesn't seem a trivial one to me. The difference between "money" and "value", you could say.
 
2013-05-07 02:09:36 PM
Why is it asinine? This was inevitable. And necessary.
 
2013-05-07 02:14:43 PM

ontariolightning: Why is it asinine? This was inevitable. And necessary.


Because libertarians believe that if you close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears, and go "la la la la la", then government goes away.
Oh, except for all the roads, schools, and bridges that happen automatically somehow, or could be done better if someone held a monopoly on it, and could charge whatever they wanted.
 
2013-05-07 02:18:30 PM
"Authority" != "Ability"
 
2013-05-07 02:18:39 PM

Dr Dreidel: WOW currency (as I understand it) is not designed as a real-world currency. It's an in-game currency that can be transferred to someone else (based on mutual agreement). BitCoins are designed specifically to be real-world digital currency.


Well you can buy items and currency with dollars. There for you have a dollar to gold ratio. A couple of seconds of google gave me this. Link. So you now have a gold/bitcoin conversion for really US currency. Now I know Blizzard is trying to shut things like this down, why let other people make money off your game, so the US government isn't going to start taxing your WOW characters any time soon. But your time is converted to gold and items those items have a real world value, so what is stopping Uncle Sam from taking a share of that?!

Just in case I'm accused of threadjacking: I'm just wondering how we'll keep the genie in the bottle when it comes to other computer based currencies
 
2013-05-07 02:19:50 PM

xenophon10k: If you want your virtual, encrypted, anonymous currency to remain free of the government, you need to move it to the fictional South Pacific island nation of Kinakuta.


All my money is hidden at the National Bank of Kokomo, just off the Florida Keys.
 
2013-05-07 02:22:52 PM

2chris2: It would be very easy for the U.S. government to regulate bitcoin, or at least, the bitcoin exchanges


And that's the exact regulation the government is talking about. If you want to exchange dollars and bitcoins, you have to meet the basic standards of an exchange service.

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Well would the same be said of WOW currency as well? As I understand it Bitcoins are a lot like that.


Not really. WoW currency is like Disney Dollars, or store coupons, or tickets at the amusement park. They carry value, but that value is only valid within their domain. I can't go down to a currency exchange and convert by amusement park tickets back into dollars. I can't take those tickets to a different amusement park and expect them to be honored. At best, I can hope to sell them to people walking in the gate as I leave- if they're a sucker, maybe I can make a profit, but I may have to do it at a loss. If I won them in skeeball, then it's probably all profit.

BitCoin is a scarce resource that can be exchanged for other kinds of currency.

The key problem with BitCoin is the same problem that hits all backed currencies- it rewards hoarding.
 
2013-05-07 02:23:37 PM

GanjSmokr: "Authority" != "Ability"


It's trivially easy to regulate BitCoins, in the same way the US government can regulate Euros, Canadian Dollars, or any other currency they don't have direct control over.
 
2013-05-07 02:26:07 PM
I have a bunch of tokens from an arcade that doesn't exist anymore. I figure they're worth a few million due to scarcity....so does anyone have drugs to sell?
 
2013-05-07 02:27:20 PM

Mr.Insightful: ontariolightning: Why is it asinine? This was inevitable. And necessary.

Because libertarians believe that if you close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears, and go "la la la la la", then government goes away.
Oh, except for all the roads, schools, and bridges that happen automatically somehow, or could be done better if someone held a monopoly on it, and could charge whatever they wanted.


Libertarians are the dumbest of all political ideologues.
 
2013-05-07 02:28:19 PM
BitCoin will never catch on because I don't understand it at all.
 
2013-05-07 02:29:35 PM

The Stealth Hippopotamus: But your time is converted to gold and items those items have a real world value, so what is stopping Uncle Sam from taking a share of that?!

Just in case I'm accused of threadjacking: I'm just wondering how we'll keep the genie in the bottle when it comes to other computer based currencies


When you sell stuff, you're supposed to pay taxes on that sale (depending on locale - though the Feds always want theirs. You still would pay taxes on the income earned from the sale to the Feds). Buying WOWgold (or Melthazaringrad's +2 CHR Sword of Bug-Slicing or whatever) is just like buying bananas in that sense.

BitCoins aren't goods (and you'd basically have to repudiate the entire history and raison d'etre of BitCoins to make that argument) - they're currency. The only law needed in this case is to make sure they're covered by existing laws covering currency markets.

// I don't think you're 'jacking
// NTTAWWT
 
2013-05-07 02:32:05 PM

HotWingConspiracy: I have a bunch of tokens from an arcade that doesn't exist anymore. I figure they're worth a few million due to scarcity....so does anyone have drugs to sell?


Yes.

next question.
 
2013-05-07 02:34:19 PM

The Stealth Hippopotamus: But your time is converted to gold and items those items have a real world value, so what is stopping Uncle Sam from taking a share of that?!


Sequestration.

And the fact that people aren't using it as an investment instrument. If financial institutions started taking clients' money and dumping into WoW, the government would have a responsibility to develop rules governing the practice.

They should be doing that for bitcoins, but an anti-regulatory culture has infected many government agencies over the last few decades, so we'll have to wait until it blows up before they even think about doing anything.
 
2013-05-07 02:34:34 PM

Dr Dreidel: The Stealth Hippopotamus: But your time is converted to gold and items those items have a real world value, so what is stopping Uncle Sam from taking a share of that?!

Just in case I'm accused of threadjacking: I'm just wondering how we'll keep the genie in the bottle when it comes to other computer based currencies

When you sell stuff, you're supposed to pay taxes on that sale (depending on locale - though the Feds always want theirs. You still would pay taxes on the income earned from the sale to the Feds). Buying WOWgold (or Melthazaringrad's +2 CHR Sword of Bug-Slicing or whatever) is just like buying bananas in that sense.

BitCoins aren't goods (and you'd basically have to repudiate the entire history and raison d'etre of BitCoins to make that argument) - they're currency. The only law needed in this case is to make sure they're covered by existing laws covering currency markets.

// I don't think you're 'jacking
// NTTAWWT


could you also compare the exchange to buying coconuts?

/ducks and runs
 
2013-05-07 02:36:45 PM

2chris2: If Bitcoin ever does succeed at becoming a legitimate currency, it will be run by governments and large banks, like all other currencies.


This.
 
2013-05-07 02:37:29 PM

Soup4Bonnie: BitCoin will never catch on because I don't understand it at all.


Bad Analogy: 
Its like Linden Dollars without having to have a Second Life account.

If there's one thing this announcement really does, it is to give further legitimacy to Bitcoin; if not as a currency then as a recognized form of money transfer.
 
2013-05-07 02:38:22 PM

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Dr Dreidel:

Just in case I'm accused of threadjacking: I'm just wondering how we'll keep the genie in the bottle when it comes to other computer based currencies


This is what I am curious about, will someone or some agency create the next BitCoin?  will Apple truly create iMoney following a similar model?

maybe someone can help who is more familiar with bitcoins, but do the creators profit in any way by creating the currency or was this just an intellectual/economical experiment?

I don't see anyone else trying to create a new currency unless their is some benefit to the creator.  That also may be the way to kill this idea, create all types of digital currency and have so many they all lose value.
 
2013-05-07 02:42:29 PM

The Stealth Hippopotamus: But your time is converted to gold and items those items have a real world value, so what is stopping Uncle Sam from taking a share of that?!


It seems extremely obvious. If you use the gold in the game, you don't get taxed. If you convert the gold to money, you get taxed. I see no reason why that shouldn't be the case.
 
2013-05-07 02:43:45 PM

Mr.Insightful: ontariolightning: Why is it asinine? This was inevitable. And necessary.

Because libertarians believe that if you close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears, and go "la la la la la", then government goes away.
Oh, except for all the roads, schools, and bridges that happen automatically somehow, or could be done better if someone held a monopoly on it, and could charge whatever they wanted.


Kinda reminded me of the "Go Galt! Stick it to the takers" article that gave ideas for ways to avoid taxation that included "Go to the park!"

The taxpayer provided park.

*facepalm*

http://conservativehideout.com/2012/11/09/is-it-time-to-go-galt-some -s imple-ways-to-avoid-feeding-the-beast/
 
2013-05-07 02:57:12 PM
Maybe I will have a party, Bart Chilton.
 
2013-05-07 02:57:17 PM
How in the fark do people actually buy (not mine) bitcoins? From what I can tell to purchase them I need to go to a 7-11 or wal-mart or somewhere and basically wire the money to my bitcoin wallet. Is there anywhere I can just buy them via paypal or something? A digital currency that requires me to go to a physical location and use physical currency to acquire it seems sorta ass backward to me.
 
2013-05-07 02:57:20 PM

thurstonxhowell: The Stealth Hippopotamus: But your time is converted to gold and items those items have a real world value, so what is stopping Uncle Sam from taking a share of that?!

It seems extremely obvious. If you use the gold in the game, you don't get taxed. If you convert the gold to money, you get taxed. I see no reason why that shouldn't be the case.


I can see it now: 1040 for tax year 2019 - Line 108: Do you have any rare drops to declare?

Actually... I guess the odd question would be if mining bitcoin, but not converting them to dollars counts as income? Maybe selling a pizza for bitcoin falls under bartering income? Anyone?
 
2013-05-07 02:57:29 PM
I think bitcoin is the greatest troll in the history of the internet.
 
2013-05-07 03:01:01 PM

Seequinn: Bad Analogy: 
Its like Linden Dollars without having to have a Second Life account.

If there's one thing this announcement really does, it is to give further legitimacy to Bitcoin; if not as a currency then as a recognized form of money transfer.


Yeah, see, that's where I get confused.  Don't we already have a thing called "money" that we use for that?
 
2013-05-07 03:10:41 PM
They can try to regulate Bitcoins, but they shouldn't.  Let it collapse on its own.
 
2013-05-07 03:14:51 PM

Communist_Manifesto: How in the fark do people actually buy (not mine) bitcoins? From what I can tell to purchase them I need to go to a 7-11 or wal-mart or somewhere and basically wire the money to my bitcoin wallet. Is there anywhere I can just buy them via paypal or something? A digital currency that requires me to go to a physical location and use physical currency to acquire it seems sorta ass backward to me.


If you don't mind it being reasonably traceable back to you, a multi-step process from bank account to Dwolla to MtGox (or other exchanges who accept Dwolla) is possible with minor fees.  Paypal doesn't want anything to do with BTC for obvious competition reasons, but other smaller Paypal-esque services are willing to play footsie.
 
2013-05-07 03:29:29 PM
If you drive a car, I'll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I'll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.
 
2013-05-07 03:37:15 PM

t3knomanser: Not really. WoW currency is like Disney Dollars, or store coupons, or tickets at the amusement park. They carry value, but that value is only valid within their domain. I can't go down to a currency exchange and convert by amusement park tickets back into dollars. I can't take those tickets to a different amusement park and expect them to be honored. At best, I can hope to sell them to people walking in the gate as I leave- if they're a sucker, maybe I can make a profit, but I may have to do it at a loss. If I won them in skeeball, then it's probably all profit.


But it has been proven that people have and will trade WoWgold for dollars. The site I gave a link to proves that. So the liquidity of WoWgold is very very high. I'd say it is almost as liquid as Bitcoin. You still have to log onto WoW to make the transfer. And that's the step that will save them from Uncle Sam.
And currently both are not taxed because both happen on the internet.

And your example of park tickets doesn't really work because travel agents do it all the time (plane, hotel, park ticket bundles.) but they account for and tax all the sales. So Disney sales X number of ticket to an agent then the agent marks them up a little and sales them to you. More a good than a currency. Throw on top of that that most park tickets have an expiration date on them so they never could be used as currency.

Right now the only difference I see is that major corporations will not accept WoWgold. However I bet you can find a pizza guy who will trade you some pizzas for WoWgold. Working at Papa Johns in college taught me anything it is that you can trade pizza for anything! Any-thing!

t3knomanser: BitCoin is a scarce resource that can be exchanged for other kinds of currency.


Same with WoWgold. There is exactly as much WoWgold as Blizzard will allow. Think Bitcoin or De Beers and diamonds. Also it is in the best interest of Blizzard to control the amount and to make damn sure hackers don't make their own.

thurstonxhowell: It seems extremely obvious. If you use the gold in the game, you don't get taxed. If you convert the gold to money, you get taxed. I see no reason why that shouldn't be the case.


Right now if you sell it on the internet there isn't tax applied.

ProfessorOhki: Actually... I guess the odd question would be if mining bitcoin, but not converting them to dollars counts as income? Maybe selling a pizza for bitcoin falls under bartering income? Anyone?


Actually the way I heard it the very first transact was for two pizzas.

The same amount of bitcoins now would be worth millions! Those were some damn expensive pizzas.
 
2013-05-07 03:46:28 PM
The Stealth Hippopotamus: *snip*

Same with WoWgold. There is exactly as much WoWgold as Blizzard will allow. Think Bitcoin or De Beers and diamonds. Also it is in the best interest of Blizzard to control the amount and to make damn sure hacke ...

From my understandings of how the WoW economy works, 'Gold' supply (in terms of the coinage) is not strictly controlled. There is ingo (quest and combat drops), and constant outgo (repairs, flights, training, basic materials). There's no 'bank' in the business sense, and there's no real way to get one going - there's not much of an economy there to demand it as opposed to an intensive and intricate one such as EVE online.

I don't know if Blizzard does a huge control over the supply of gold as the spigot never stops. They just keep making nifty things that have ever increasing pricing. Ingame.
 
2013-05-07 03:46:49 PM

The Stealth Hippopotamus: ProfessorOhki: Actually... I guess the odd question would be if mining bitcoin, but not converting them to dollars counts as income? Maybe selling a pizza for bitcoin falls under bartering income? Anyone?

Actually the way I heard it the very first transact was for two pizzas.

The same amount of bitcoins now would be worth millions! Those were some damn expensive pizzas.


But without the publicity from that early transaction, they'd never have inflated to this point and they wouldn't be worth millions. It's a chicken and pizz- Er, egg and pizz- you know what I mean.
 
2013-05-07 03:47:29 PM

ProfessorOhki: The Stealth Hippopotamus: ProfessorOhki: Actually... I guess the odd question would be if mining bitcoin, but not converting them to dollars counts as income? Maybe selling a pizza for bitcoin falls under bartering income? Anyone?

Actually the way I heard it the very first transact was for two pizzas.

The same amount of bitcoins now would be worth millions! Those were some damn expensive pizzas.

But without the publicity from that early transaction, they'd never have inflated to this point and they wouldn't be worth millions. It's a chicken and pizz- Er, egg and pizz- you know what I mean.


I believe the term you are going for was "D'ough!"
 
2013-05-07 03:49:17 PM

xenophon10k: If you want your virtual, encrypted, anonymous currency to remain free of the government, you need to move it to the fictional South Pacific island nation of Kinakuta.


Thank you. I'm glad I'm not the only one that can't get Cryptonomicon out of their head whenever someone is talking about Bitcoins.

/Where did I put that ETC card reader..
 
2013-05-07 03:50:46 PM

Dr Dreidel: The Stealth Hippopotamus: Dr Dreidel: How is it not "commerce among the several states", which the Feds have explicit authority to regulate? It's at least as much "commerce" as growing (or not growing) crops is, which means SCOTUS has effectively decided this question already.

Well would the same be said of WOW currency as well? As I understand it Bitcoins are a lot like that. A group of people assign worth to these and trade amongst themselves you can buy in too if you're will to assign the same amount of worth to it. We know that both WOW currency and Bitcoins have a real world worth because people sell both on the open market and people buy them. Prices fluctuate due to supply and demand.

It's a fun little exercise in economics.

WOW currency (as I understand it) is not designed as a real-world currency. It's an in-game currency that can be transferred to someone else (based on mutual agreement). BitCoins are designed specifically to be real-world digital currency.

It may be a semantic difference, but the difference between what is designed as an actual currency and an in-game currency that has spawned a real-world "currency exchange" to satisfy a market demand doesn't seem a trivial one to me. The difference between "money" and "value", you could say.


I can't recall if you can use IRL money to buy in-game currency like one can do in Eve Online (albeit this is technically not supposed to happen) but the government would have the authority to regulate any transactions for real world dollars are traded for in-game items or currency. It's basically the same as the regulation of the sale of DLC etc.
 
2013-05-07 03:53:31 PM

Summercat: The Stealth Hippopotamus: *snip*

Same with WoWgold. There is exactly as much WoWgold as Blizzard will allow. Think Bitcoin or De Beers and diamonds. Also it is in the best interest of Blizzard to control the amount and to make damn sure hacke ...

From my understandings of how the WoW economy works, 'Gold' supply (in terms of the coinage) is not strictly controlled. There is ingo (quest and combat drops), and constant outgo (repairs, flights, training, basic materials). There's no 'bank' in the business sense, and there's no real way to get one going - there's not much of an economy there to demand it as opposed to an intensive and intricate one such as EVE online.

I don't know if Blizzard does a huge control over the supply of gold as the spigot never stops. They just keep making nifty things that have ever increasing pricing. Ingame.


Being a wildly inflationary currency doesn't make you less of a currency.  It's a harder distinction than you might think to differentiate one currency propped up by nothing from another currency propped up by nothing but math.
 
2013-05-07 03:55:30 PM

Dr Dreidel: How is it not "commerce among the several states", which the Feds have explicit authority to regulate? It's at least as much "commerce" as growing (or not growing) crops is, which means SCOTUS has effectively decided this question already.


Congress has the authority to regulate interstate commerce.  The guy speaking here isn't Congress.  He's claiming that his agency already has the authority to regulate this, even if Congress does nothing. This isn't a 'commerce clause' issue.

TheOnion: To be fair, four supreme court justices, and very nearly five, just said that Congress is not authorized to levy what amounts to a tax (the individual mandate), so you can never be too sure.

That being said, I do think it is well within the limits of the constitution for Congress to regulate bitcoins.  How they will go about doing that, I'm not so sure.


See above.  Also, you have the ruling in the ACA case backwards.  They said the individual mandate could not be upheld as a regulation, but could be upheld as a tax.
 
2013-05-07 03:56:18 PM

Lawnchair: Communist_Manifesto: How in the fark do people actually buy (not mine) bitcoins? From what I can tell to purchase them I need to go to a 7-11 or wal-mart or somewhere and basically wire the money to my bitcoin wallet. Is there anywhere I can just buy them via paypal or something? A digital currency that requires me to go to a physical location and use physical currency to acquire it seems sorta ass backward to me.

If you don't mind it being reasonably traceable back to you, a multi-step process from bank account to Dwolla to MtGox (or other exchanges who accept Dwolla) is possible with minor fees.  Paypal doesn't want anything to do with BTC for obvious competition reasons, but other smaller Paypal-esque services are willing to play footsie.


Thanks! Never heard of dwolla before. Don't really care about trace-ability back to myself, I was just wanting to try buying something with BTC as an alternative to paypal and was pretty turned off to the whole idea when I realized that buying bitcoins was actually somewhat difficult when compared with the convenience of pay pal etc.
 
2013-05-07 03:58:34 PM

Summercat: From my understandings of how the WoW economy works, 'Gold' supply (in terms of the coinage) is not strictly controlled. There is ingo (quest and combat drops), and constant outgo (repairs, flights, training, basic materials). There's no 'bank' in the business sense, and there's no real way to get one going - there's not much of an economy there to demand it as opposed to an intensive and intricate one such as EVE online.


I've never played either WoW or Eve. So I'm basically just guessing about most of this stuff. Just like Congress is doing!!


Summercat: I don't know if Blizzard does a huge control over the supply of gold as the spigot never stops. They just keep making nifty things that have ever increasing pricing. Ingame.


So it's just like the US dollar!
 
2013-05-07 04:05:04 PM

Talondel: Dr Dreidel: How is it not "commerce among the several states", which the Feds have explicit authority to regulate? It's at least as much "commerce" as growing (or not growing) crops is, which means SCOTUS has effectively decided this question already.

Congress has the authority to regulate interstate commerce.  The guy speaking here isn't Congress.  He's claiming that his agency already has the authority to regulate this, even if Congress does nothing. This isn't a 'commerce clause' issue.


^ If the Commodity Futures Trading Commission regulates all futures and options markets, a bitcoin derivative market is as fair game for regulation as corn or oil futures. That's not an extension of power and actually doesn't have much to do with anything that makes bitcoin unique, just that people are trading derivatives of something.
 
2013-05-07 04:08:03 PM

Mr.Insightful: ontariolightning: Why is it asinine? This was inevitable. And necessary.

Because libertarians believe that if you close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears, and go "la la la la la", then government goes away.
Oh, except for all the roads, schools, and bridges that happen automatically somehow, or could be done better if someone held a monopoly on it, and could charge whatever they wanted.


I'm always fascinated by discourses on what libertarians think by people who lack the ability themselves.
 
2013-05-07 04:09:18 PM
Serfs, this is just a friendly little reminder that we can control anything and anyone at any time, if we should so choose.

There is no escaping the tax farms we've setup for you, what you call "nations".

In fact most of you are so dependent on us, you'll attack each other to make sure everyone stays in their little pens.

So please, stop with the Bitcoin nonsense. We control everything. We control your money. We control value itself.

Regards,
LWN, Your Elected Representatives
 
2013-05-07 04:14:37 PM

Talondel: Dr Dreidel: How is it not "commerce among the several states", which the Feds have explicit authority to regulate? It's at least as much "commerce" as growing (or not growing) crops is, which means SCOTUS has effectively decided this question already.

Congress has the authority to regulate interstate commerce.  The guy speaking here isn't Congress.  He's claiming that his agency already has the authority to regulate this, even if Congress does nothing. This isn't a 'commerce clause' issue.


So then whatever agency Congress has tasked with regulating whatever kind of capital transactions/assets BitCoins are already has that power - CFTC, SEC, CFPB... Those agencies only get that power from the Amendment in question, yes? So it may be a technicality (and because we're talking law, there definitely is, and I definitely worded it wrong), but...um...you're fat.

That agency (or "those agencies") could probably use more specificity on the topic, but for anyone to argue that BitCoins are beyond regulation takes some serious derp.
 
2013-05-07 04:16:20 PM

Lawyers With Nukes: sure everyone stays in their little pens.


Substitute crab bucket for the win!
 
2013-05-07 04:27:22 PM
So you can short Bitcoin now? I bet all the Internet tough guys wouldn't dare.
 
2013-05-07 04:38:47 PM

Lawyers With Nukes: Serfs, this is just a friendly little reminder that we can control anything and anyone at any time, if we should so choose.

There is no escaping the tax farms we've setup for you, what you call "nations".

In fact most of you are so dependent on us, you'll attack each other to make sure everyone stays in their little pens.

So please, stop with the Bitcoin nonsense. We control everything. We control your money. We control value itself.

Regards,
LWN, Your Elected Representatives


Needs more sheeple.
 
2013-05-07 05:00:04 PM

Hyjamon: The Stealth Hippopotamus: Dr Dreidel:

Just in case I'm accused of threadjacking: I'm just wondering how we'll keep the genie in the bottle when it comes to other computer based currencies

This is what I am curious about, will someone or some agency create the next BitCoin?  will Apple truly create iMoney following a similar model?

maybe someone can help who is more familiar with bitcoins, but do the creators profit in any way by creating the currency or was this just an intellectual/economical experiment?

I don't see anyone else trying to create a new currency unless their is some benefit to the creator.  That also may be the way to kill this idea, create all types of digital currency and have so many they all lose value.


They could very possibly have generated shiattons of coins for themselves back when digging an old GPU out of your closet and dedicating it the job had decent odds of cracking a block for you every couple days and then sat on them until their currency was worth ~$200 a coin.
 
2013-05-07 05:05:52 PM

Lawyers With Nukes: Serfs, this is just a friendly little reminder that we can control anything and anyone at any time, if we should so choose.

There is no escaping the tax farms we've setup for you, what you call "nations".

In fact most of you are so dependent on us, you'll attack each other to make sure everyone stays in their little pens.

So please, stop with the Bitcoin nonsense. We control everything. We control your money. We control value itself.

Regards,
LWN, Your Elected Representatives


Because life was AWESOME for the average person in the ages before the rise of the modern nationstate!
 
2013-05-07 05:17:14 PM

tricycleracer: All my money is hidden at the National Bank of Kokomo, just off the Florida Keys.


Man, are you going to be disappointed when you find out your bank is in Indiana....
 
2013-05-07 05:34:27 PM

jjorsett: Mr.Insightful: ontariolightning: Why is it asinine? This was inevitable. And necessary.

Because libertarians believe that if you close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears, and go "la la la la la", then government goes away.
Oh, except for all the roads, schools, and bridges that happen automatically somehow, or could be done better if someone held a monopoly on it, and could charge whatever they wanted.

I'm always fascinated by discourses on what libertarians think by people who lack the ability themselves.


I'd like to advance the conversation by asking someone demonstrating libertarian sympathies just how does the infrastructure we all use and benefit from get maintained without having a publicly organized government doing just that. Thanks!
 
2013-05-07 05:35:36 PM
Bitcoin was designed from the ground up to make this next to impossible. They may have the authority but it's meaningless because they can't even begin to enforce it.
 
2013-05-07 05:37:35 PM

Crotchrocket Slim: jjorsett: Mr.Insightful: ontariolightning: Why is it asinine? This was inevitable. And necessary.

Because libertarians believe that if you close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears, and go "la la la la la", then government goes away.
Oh, except for all the roads, schools, and bridges that happen automatically somehow, or could be done better if someone held a monopoly on it, and could charge whatever they wanted.

I'm always fascinated by discourses on what libertarians think by people who lack the ability themselves.

I'd like to advance the conversation by asking someone demonstrating libertarian sympathies just how does the infrastructure we all use and benefit from get maintained without having a publicly organized government doing just that. Thanks!


Just turn the whole infrastructure over to private hobbyists. Sure the roads will crumble, the sewers will back up, and the water will stop flowing, but we will have the world's most badass 1:1 railroad.
 
2013-05-07 05:48:15 PM

Crotchrocket Slim: Because life was AWESOME for the average person in the ages before the rise of the modern nationstate!


I preferred fiefdoms.


just an FYI I spelled "fiefdoms" right the first time but messed up "preferred". I think that says something about me.

And since I mentioned WoW like 100 times:

img819.imageshack.us
img833.imageshack.us
img6.imageshack.us


Which brings to mind an important question!! How do you tip strippers with Bitcoins?!
 
2013-05-07 05:48:22 PM

Communist_Manifesto: Lawnchair: Communist_Manifesto: How in the fark do people actually buy (not mine) bitcoins? From what I can tell to purchase them I need to go to a 7-11 or wal-mart or somewhere and basically wire the money to my bitcoin wallet. Is there anywhere I can just buy them via paypal or something? A digital currency that requires me to go to a physical location and use physical currency to acquire it seems sorta ass backward to me.

If you don't mind it being reasonably traceable back to you, a multi-step process from bank account to Dwolla to MtGox (or other exchanges who accept Dwolla) is possible with minor fees.  Paypal doesn't want anything to do with BTC for obvious competition reasons, but other smaller Paypal-esque services are willing to play footsie.

Thanks! Never heard of dwolla before. Don't really care about trace-ability back to myself, I was just wanting to try buying something with BTC as an alternative to paypal and was pretty turned off to the whole idea when I realized that buying bitcoins was actually somewhat difficult when compared with the convenience of pay pal etc.


Coinbase cuts out the middleman, but they usually stop allowing you to buy coins if they have super heavy volumes in a day.
 
2013-05-07 06:02:45 PM
FTFA: "The bank that is storing my money is highly regulated by federal regulators and backed by a government with a huge army behind it"

You will value our money or we will kill you!
 
2013-05-07 06:10:21 PM

Dr Dreidel: So then whatever agency Congress has tasked with regulating whatever kind of capital transactions/assets BitCoins are already has that power - CFTC, SEC, CFPB... Those agencies only get that power from the Amendment in question, yes? So it may be a technicality (and because we're talking law, there definitely is, and I definitely worded it wrong), but...um...you're fat.

That agency (or "those agencies") could probably use more specificity on the topic, but for anyone to argue that BitCoins are beyond regulation takes some serious derp.


Well it's two completely different questions. One is: Can BitCoins be regulated?  Two is: Can this guy regulate BitCoins?

While it is obvious that Congress could regulate BitCoins (at least their use by people subject to U.S. laws), it is less obvious if they have actually given that authority to anyone, and whether or not this guy is the one they gave the authority to.  It doesn't take much 'derp' to argue that BitCoins cannot be regulated without Congress acting first.
 
2013-05-07 06:18:16 PM

Crotchrocket Slim: jjorsett: Mr.Insightful: ontariolightning: Why is it asinine? This was inevitable. And necessary.

Because libertarians believe that if you close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears, and go "la la la la la", then government goes away.
Oh, except for all the roads, schools, and bridges that happen automatically somehow, or could be done better if someone held a monopoly on it, and could charge whatever they wanted.

I'm always fascinated by discourses on what libertarians think by people who lack the ability themselves.

I'd like to advance the conversation by asking someone demonstrating libertarian sympathies just how does the infrastructure we all use and benefit from get maintained without having a publicly organized government doing just that. Thanks!


You are confusing 'libertarian' and 'anarchist'.  Saying that libertarians want to abolish government, or end all government spending on common infrastructure, is inaccurate and essentially just a strawman.  It is roughly equivalent to saying "Democrats, please explain why you continue to support state ownership of the means of production, despite the fact that communism has been shown not to work."  You're starting off from a faulty assumption, and then asking people to explain the rationale that justifies the assumption you made up.

In general libertarians believe that the economy and personal liberty would benefit from less regulation.  There is a non-trivial difference between 'less regulation' and 'no regulation.'   In my opinion, anyone who is right of center on economic issues, and left of center on social issues, could chose to identify as a libertarian.  Some people would take even a broader definition than that, because there are certainly some 'left libertarians' who are not 'on the right' on economic issues.
 
2013-05-07 06:20:24 PM

Crotchrocket Slim: I'd like to advance the conversation by asking someone demonstrating libertarian sympathies just how does the infrastructure we all use and benefit from get maintained without having a publicly organized government doing just that. Thanks!


I can't speak for all libertarians everywhere, but in general we believe that infrastructure is one of the few legitimate roles for government.
 
2013-05-07 06:22:03 PM

Talondel: Dr Dreidel: So then whatever agency Congress has tasked with regulating whatever kind of capital transactions/assets BitCoins are already has that power - CFTC, SEC, CFPB... Those agencies only get that power from the Amendment in question, yes? So it may be a technicality (and because we're talking law, there definitely is, and I definitely worded it wrong), but...um...you're fat.

That agency (or "those agencies") could probably use more specificity on the topic, but for anyone to argue that BitCoins are beyond regulation takes some serious derp.

Well it's two completely different questions. One is: Can BitCoins be regulated?  Two is: Can this guy regulate BitCoins?

While it is obvious that Congress could regulate BitCoins (at least their use by people subject to U.S. laws), it is less obvious if they have actually given that authority to anyone, and whether or not this guy is the one they gave the authority to.  It doesn't take much 'derp' to argue that BitCoins cannot be regulated without Congress acting first.


I'm not accounting guy, but I'm pretty sure they're not talking about regulating BitCoin proper. They're talking about regulating BitCoin derivatives. You can grow corn in your yard. You can eat that corn. You can trade it to your neighbor for wheat. It's when you start trading futures and hedge-funds based on your corn that the government gets interested.

"...there is more than a colorable argument to be made that derivative products relating to Bitcoin."

Same with the anti-money laundering stuff. It applies to exchanges; it's a regulation on currency exchanges, not on the underlying currency. Unless you think that the US also regulates the Euro, the Yen, etc.
 
2013-05-07 06:33:37 PM
My wife has given me the authority to boink Scarlett Johanson.

My ability to do so remains in question.
 
2013-05-07 06:35:25 PM

Driedsponge: The cynic in me thinks they haven't started regulating it only because they haven't figured out how to make a sure profit off of it. Hence the "it's a house of cards" argument in the article. Once banks figure out how to offload the risk and guarantee a profit, they will get their friends in the government to step in to protect their investments.


This.

Seequinn: If there's one thing this announcement really does, it is to give further legitimacy to Bitcoin; if not as a currency then as a recognized form of money transfer.


And this.
 
2013-05-07 06:44:32 PM
The US can't regulate Bitcoins - but it absolutely can regulate US citizens *use* of bitcoins.

I haven't stepped foot in US soil in nearly two years; but I still have to file US taxes and declare any bank account with balance in excess of 10k.  There are also US laws that I can't legally violate, even though I'm outside of the US's jurisdiction.

That's doubly true for investment houses/trading companies.  If a market maker is going to offer some bitcoin derivative - they'll absolutely have to follow whatever regulations the US government imposes.  They already impose a lot.
 
2013-05-07 06:51:48 PM
P.S. the US has all sorts of regulations around the buying and selling of other currencies they don't directly control.
 
2013-05-07 07:10:18 PM

jst3p: http://conservativehideout.com/2012/11/09/is-it-time-to-go-galt-some -s imple-ways-to-avoid-feeding-the-beast/


Beast or no Beast, most of the items on that list sound pretty sensible.
 
2013-05-07 07:13:25 PM

js34603: My wife has given me the authority to boink Scarlett Johanson.

My ability to do so remains in question.


upload.wikimedia.org

media1.s-nbcnews.com

Problem solved
 
2013-05-07 08:14:15 PM

relaxitsjustme: js34603: My wife has given me the authority to boink Scarlett Johanson.

My ability to do so remains in question.

[upload.wikimedia.org image 300x264]

[media1.s-nbcnews.com image 474x356]

Problem solved


news.bbcimg.co.uk
This post approved by the Castro brothers!
 
2013-05-07 08:20:26 PM

Soup4Bonnie: Seequinn: Bad Analogy: 
>Its like Linden Dollars without having to have a Second Life account.

Yeah, see, that's where I get confused.  Don't we already have a thing called "money" that we use for that?


Not effectively for micropayment systems, for one thing.

The Dollar can "only" be subdivided into 100 smaller units (2 decimal places) for the purpose of making payments.  But some online transactions could actually (theoretically) charge less than a penny and still be able to  profit from a service offered.

Linden tried to get around that limitation within Second Life by valuing their currency well below that of the Dollar to make in game spending easier.  

Bitcoin tries to get around it by offering division up to 8 decimal places to the smallest sub-unit of currency, which at this point goes well beyond the needs of most micropayment transactions.  But
allows for future usefulness IF the value of Bitcoin continues to increase.
 
2013-05-07 09:32:33 PM

Mr Guy: Summercat: The Stealth Hippopotamus: *snip*

Same with WoWgold. There is exactly as much WoWgold as Blizzard will allow. Think Bitcoin or De Beers and diamonds. Also it is in the best interest of Blizzard to control the amount and to make damn sure hacke ...

From my understandings of how the WoW economy works, 'Gold' supply (in terms of the coinage) is not strictly controlled. There is ingo (quest and combat drops), and constant outgo (repairs, flights, training, basic materials). There's no 'bank' in the business sense, and there's no real way to get one going - there's not much of an economy there to demand it as opposed to an intensive and intricate one such as EVE online.

I don't know if Blizzard does a huge control over the supply of gold as the spigot never stops. They just keep making nifty things that have ever increasing pricing. Ingame.

Being a wildly inflationary currency doesn't make you less of a currency.  It's a harder distinction than you might think to differentiate one currency propped up by nothing from another currency propped up by nothing but math.


Never said it wasn't a currency. One of the things I ding Blizzard on is not *embracing* the fact people want to buy gold and setting up actual exchanges for it.

My reply was that it's not tightly controlled like how it was implied; and further the 'value' of gold fluctuates between servers.

At one point I controlled the lower and mid-level economy on a WoW server by... spending far too much time playing the AH and monopolizing the cloth markets. That was how I got my fun.
 
2013-05-07 09:39:41 PM

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Summercat: From my understandings of how the WoW economy works, 'Gold' supply (in terms of the coinage) is not strictly controlled. There is ingo (quest and combat drops), and constant outgo (repairs, flights, training, basic materials). There's no 'bank' in the business sense, and there's no real way to get one going - there's not much of an economy there to demand it as opposed to an intensive and intricate one such as EVE online.

I've never played either WoW or Eve. So I'm basically just guessing about most of this stuff. Just like Congress is doing!!


Summercat: I don't know if Blizzard does a huge control over the supply of gold as the spigot never stops. They just keep making nifty things that have ever increasing pricing. Ingame.

So it's just like the US dollar!


Nope. If Blizz ever got involved in the actual Gold marketplace, it'd be a form of Mercantalism/State Capitalism, where not only does Blizz have 'sole control' (see my comments on that elsewhere) of the money supply, but they also have sole control over what the money supply can be spent on, as well as being able to set base prices that everyone has to pay, the drop rate of items and the base 'vendor price' for them, and (this is important as well) auction house fees. There is also a fee for sending money via the mail system I believe.

While the player-driven economy is out there, player-to-player transactions without the AH are not nearly as... prolific as ones driven through the auction house - where Blizzard would get a cut.

The WoW economy and Azerothian fiscal policy as dictated by Blizzard cannot reasonably be translated - except in base concepts - to the real world economy and American fiscal policy.

Well, maybe. Hmm. There's some interesting things here on how you can translate the real world to Azeroth, but hte US government doesn't have nearly as much control and (this is important) dynamic input into the economy of the US as Blizz does Azeroth.
 
2013-05-07 09:47:10 PM

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Dr Dreidel: How is it not "commerce among the several states", which the Feds have explicit authority to regulate? It's at least as much "commerce" as growing (or not growing) crops is, which means SCOTUS has effectively decided this question already.

Well would the same be said of WOW currency as well? As I understand it Bitcoins are a lot like that. A group of people assign worth to these and trade amongst themselves you can buy in too if you're will to assign the same amount of worth to it. We know that both WOW currency and Bitcoins have a real world worth because people sell both on the open market and people buy them. Prices fluctuate due to supply and demand.

It's a fun little exercise in economics.


blog.kaseya.com

The history is fascinating.
 
2013-05-07 11:57:32 PM

StoPPeRmobile: The Stealth Hippopotamus: Dr Dreidel: How is it not "commerce among the several states", which the Feds have explicit authority to regulate? It's at least as much "commerce" as growing (or not growing) crops is, which means SCOTUS has effectively decided this question already.

Well would the same be said of WOW currency as well? As I understand it Bitcoins are a lot like that. A group of people assign worth to these and trade amongst themselves you can buy in too if you're will to assign the same amount of worth to it. We know that both WOW currency and Bitcoins have a real world worth because people sell both on the open market and people buy them. Prices fluctuate due to supply and demand.

It's a fun little exercise in economics.

[blog.kaseya.com image 600x400]

The history is fascinating.


Does the floor even serve a purpose now or is it just tourists, nostalgic old suits, and the CEO du jour ringing a bell.
 
2013-05-08 04:50:11 AM

ProfessorOhki: StoPPeRmobile: The Stealth Hippopotamus: Dr Dreidel: How is it not "commerce among the several states", which the Feds have explicit authority to regulate? It's at least as much "commerce" as growing (or not growing) crops is, which means SCOTUS has effectively decided this question already.

Well would the same be said of WOW currency as well? As I understand it Bitcoins are a lot like that. A group of people assign worth to these and trade amongst themselves you can buy in too if you're will to assign the same amount of worth to it. We know that both WOW currency and Bitcoins have a real world worth because people sell both on the open market and people buy them. Prices fluctuate due to supply and demand.

It's a fun little exercise in economics.

[blog.kaseya.com image 600x400]

The history is fascinating.

Does the floor even serve a purpose now or is it just tourists, nostalgic old suits, and the CEO du jour ringing a bell.


That is an excellent question.
 
2013-05-08 04:54:30 AM

relaxitsjustme: ProfessorOhki: StoPPeRmobile: The Stealth Hippopotamus: Dr Dreidel: How is it not "commerce among the several states", which the Feds have explicit authority to regulate? It's at least as much "commerce" as growing (or not growing) crops is, which means SCOTUS has effectively decided this question already.

Well would the same be said of WOW currency as well? As I understand it Bitcoins are a lot like that. A group of people assign worth to these and trade amongst themselves you can buy in too if you're will to assign the same amount of worth to it. We know that both WOW currency and Bitcoins have a real world worth because people sell both on the open market and people buy them. Prices fluctuate due to supply and demand.

It's a fun little exercise in economics.

[blog.kaseya.com image 600x400]

The history is fascinating.

Does the floor even serve a purpose now or is it just tourists, nostalgic old suits, and the CEO du jour ringing a bell.

That is an excellent question.


Answer: Sort of but it sounds like it's on the way out  http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2011/04/04/nyse-sale-speed-demi s e-floor-trader/
 
2013-05-08 05:51:02 AM
For one thing - I see many people here who seem to think they know far more than they actually know.  This is made very clear by the posts.  I'll not waste my time pointing to anyone in particular, because I could point to quite a few of you.

I'm especially amazed at the people who think the CFTC has the authority to "regulate" Bitcoins.  Let alone the ability to do so.  Putting aside the insurmountable technical problems for now - no US agency has the "authority" to regulate Bitcoins any more than they have the authority to regulate the Frank, Yuan, Pound, Yen, Denaro, etc, etc.  The US Government is not actually a one world government who decides all matters around the world.  They can regulate the US Dollar, yet not other currencies which are not rooted here.

It is the same problem I have with them thinking they own the entire internet.  Bitcoin is not owned by ANY government, let alone the US Government.  A US governmental agency can say whatever they like, and nothing they say matters in the slightest.  It only serves to demonstrate the arrogance that causes much of the world to resent us.

Also Bitcoin is a currency only in that there are people and companies willing to accept it as payment for products and/or services.  It is also much like using cash, only online.  I don't see people who prefer to use cash being called crazed Libertarians...

But by chance if some of you are overly paranoid about the scare US Government finding your bitcoin stash and going Al Capone on you - just use Truecrypt.  Problem solved.

 
2013-05-08 06:05:39 AM
Someone needs to figure out how to make guns currency.
 
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