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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 35
    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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Archived thread
2013-05-07 02:14:43 PM
5 votes:

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 12:43:44 PM
5 votes:
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 03:10:41 PM
3 votes:
They can try to regulate Bitcoins, but they shouldn't.  Let it collapse on its own.
2013-05-07 02:34:19 PM
3 votes:

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 02:27:20 PM
3 votes:

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 02:09:36 PM
3 votes:
Why is it asinine? This was inevitable. And necessary.
2013-05-07 02:02:26 PM
3 votes:

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 01:36:50 PM
3 votes:
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 12:07:32 PM
3 votes:
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 02:57:29 PM
2 votes:
I think bitcoin is the greatest troll in the history of the internet.
2013-05-07 02:43:45 PM
2 votes:

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 02:36:45 PM
2 votes:

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 02:29:35 PM
2 votes:

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 02:28:19 PM
2 votes:
BitCoin will never catch on because I don't understand it at all.
2013-05-07 02:23:37 PM
2 votes:

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 02:22:52 PM
2 votes:

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 01:43:18 PM
2 votes:
bwahahahahahahaha

*gasp*

hahahahahahahahaha

*faints, crashing into floor*
2013-05-07 12:48:41 PM
2 votes:
Like the gov isn't tracking it already.
2013-05-07 12:48:03 PM
2 votes:

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 12:25:47 PM
2 votes:
Good luck with that.
2013-05-07 06:44:32 PM
1 votes:
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 06:35:25 PM
1 votes:

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 06:22:03 PM
1 votes:

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 05:48:22 PM
1 votes:

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 05:17:14 PM
1 votes:

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 03:56:18 PM
1 votes:

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 03:49:17 PM
1 votes:

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 03:46:28 PM
1 votes:
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 03:14:51 PM
1 votes:

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 03:01:01 PM
1 votes:

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 02:57:17 PM
1 votes:
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 02:37:29 PM
1 votes:

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 01:58:57 PM
1 votes:
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 01:56:09 PM
1 votes:

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 01:56:01 PM
1 votes:
Who do you think created it?
 
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