Online Cash Bitcoin Could Challenge Governments, Banks

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by nightrace, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. nightrace
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    nightrace Registered Member

    http://techland.time.com/2011/04/16/online-cash-bitcoin-could-challenge-governments/
  2. CloneRanger
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    CloneRanger Registered Member

    Hopefully it fares better & lasts longer :) than egold did.

    Never heard of it until you posted it so :thumb:
  3. Addendum
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    Addendum Registered Member

    Supposedly there's only going to be 21 Million Bitcoins ever. How on earth is that supposed to work?
  4. dw426
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    dw426 Registered Member

    This should help https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/FAQ. The idea itself makes sense, but there is a whole host of issues.

    1. Maybe no one is thinking this far ahead, but you may not want to be challenging banks and governments. So, you have a boatload of Bitcoins, congrats...now have fun finding places that take them. Remember that government you wanted to bypass? Yeah, they're still here, and they just restricted Bitcoin use in various ways. "But, but, anonymous!"...no my naive little one. You forget you're paying real money for Bitcoins, which means somebody has your information that the government can find and put under the nice hot light and grill to give you and anyone else up.

    It also means...you should have seen this coming...that hackers will still be working happily, faking vendor sites and coming up with all sorts of cute ways to take not only your real money *insert Wicked Witch voice*..but all your pretty Bitcoins too! Remember, we're still dealing with the Internet here, with all its regulations, all its NSA/FBI/whatever spying. You aren't going to be able to bet on overseas websites either (legit ones at least), the companies will know you're a red-blooded American boy and promptly give you the heave -ho. No central server means jack, Kad has no central server, but start sharing kiddie porn or doing any major pirating, and they'll still knock down your door eventually.

    Bitcoin is just another in a long line of ideas to try to get around things that you just can't.
  5. SteveTX
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    SteveTX Registered Member

    xb will accept bitcoins, as will many other service providers we do business with. even the EFF accepts bitcoin donations.

    Exchangers.

    Don't forget the roving mobs of muggers on the street who are robbing people for cash. In reality, we have to worry about real banks stealing people's savings and hyperinflating currency with the help of governments. If bitcoin can take the power to devalue money out of the already known crooks, all power to them even if it is more inconvenient.

    Remember how they outlawed cash because it is anonymous and people could use it to buy even illegal things? I don't remember that either.

    Bitcoin has some inherent properties that are different than the failed digital currencies, and would combine well with systems like Open Transactions. I for one embrace our new bitcoin overlords.
  6. noone_particular
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    noone_particular Registered Member

    If I'm understanding it correctly, this needs to run on many PCs (the more, the better) 24/7, much like Tor in order to work properly?
    They haven't outlawed it, but a lot of places have either made it difficult to use cash or insist on a credit card too (like satellite TV in this area), which I question the legality of. After all, cash is supposed to be legal tender for all debts, public and private. Others want a phone number to tie to the transaction, making it traceable, even for your groceries or a lousy 2X4 at the lumber yard.

    I for one support the idea of anonymous currency. What I do with my money is no ones business but mine, and I will take whatever steps are necessary to keep it that way. I wonder how long (if ever) it will take before local businesses accept Bitcoin.

    On a side note, we're getting quite a few "take back your freedom" apps for different things, Tor and Bitcoin for instance. As valuable as these can be, they're all dependent on services we can't control or replace, the electricity that runs the computers and access to the internet itself. Until we have a viable alternative to the internet that isn't controlled by government or big money, these will only get so far before they start interfering with them (packet inspection, port and protocol blocking, etc).
  7. dw426
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    dw426 Registered Member

    That's exactly what I keep trying to say. No matter how many workarounds, tools and such that someone names off, inevitably you're trusting someone other than yourself. Just because cash isn't outlawed, doesn't mean it isn't subject to regulation. Bitcoin will suffer the same fate if it becomes big enough to make a real impact (it won't. Something will happen and it'll fall just like e-gold and the rest). Whether or not the online world runs on Bitcoins, won't make a difference if the non-virtual world shuns them. Yay! I can get that super-duper VPN service from Xerobank!...crap, forgot I still need to eat, pay off my house, car, keep my lights on and all that nice jazz. Bitcoins won't pay for that, I don't care how optimistic you get. By the way, where will I deal with these "exchangers" pray tell? The U.S? I don't think so. The Arabic nations? They're a bit busy right now being dying countries. China, Russia, Africa?...Heh, that's pretty funny.

    Look, while I get the idea, and can appreciate it, we've got to keep the real world in mind here.
  8. CloneRanger
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    CloneRanger Registered Member

    So our big topic today is BitCoin. You called this a "crypto currency."

  9. CloneRanger
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    CloneRanger Registered Member

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/‘we-are...g-bitcoins-in-the-next-12-to-18-months-’.html
  10. Dermot7
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    Dermot7 Registered Member

  11. x942
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    x942 Registered Member

    I can really se this being shutdown and / or made illegal for 2 reasons (at least):

    1) How can a government tax bit coins? They cant. And since it's not "real" money they can't arrest you for tax evasion.

    2) "National Security" - Anyone can use them just wait until arms deals go down with bitcoin. OR for that mater a fork of bitcoin designed to be more anonymous and only between arms dealers etc. now replace arms dealer with any illegal activity. How do they cash in? same way bitcoins do now and they can even "Wash" them easier too.
  12. PJC
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    PJC Very Frequent Poster

    I wonder that, too. :doubt:
  13. hugsy
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    hugsy Registered Member

    woooooow. what kind of a fascist country do you live in :eek:
    Anyway, if someone doesn't want to take my money, (without me giving him my fingerprints, phone number, photo, first born child, and a blood sample), i just turn around and take my cash somewhere else. Competition is really happy about that.
    In words of Djay form Hustle&Flow: "Let's give it some of my sweet juices on it... and tell me you ain't gonna take that." :)
  14. Dermot7
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    Dermot7 Registered Member

    The concept of one's right to choose to pay by cash has been greatly eroded and influenced in recent years, mostly by the desire of businesses, Local Authorities etc to save on admin/processing costs, and add more security and traceability, for their own purposes and usage.
    Any misconception regarding the level of "fascism", heavy surveillance/control of populace extant most everywhere is misplaced and utopian imo, and we are all targets for propaganda and manipulation, even if we don't fully recognise or accept this yet.
  15. noone_particular
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    noone_particular Registered Member

    The USA. Going to a competitor is a fine idea, until you realize that the competitors are doing the same thing.

    Bitcoin is another example of the growing discontent people have with the system. Looking at just this issue, it's easy to dismiss statements about fascism as being paranoid, etc. To those who believe this to be the case, I ask that you start looking at the big picture. This is the beginning of a war for control between big money and government and the people, who are getting sick of having everything we do, buy, look at, visit, etc monitored, recorded, and to a growing extent, controlled. It's people who are tired of government serving business and big money at our expense. It's being either kept out of mainstream news or twisted to look like isolated groups behaving like traitors. You need not look any farther than Wikileaks for an example. Look at some of what's been exposed by anonymous and lulzsec that's being ignored by mainstream news. Right now, governments are looking at what's happened in several countries, where people have overthrown corrupt dictators and are afraid that it could happen here. The primary purpose behind all this "control" is to preempt such a thing. BitCoin is just one of several tools that they fear, because it puts control back in our hands. Open your eyes! Look at the present, then look at history. We've been down this road before. History shows where it leads. The big difference is technology and the internet, which is a 2 edged sword for both sides.
  16. x942
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    x942 Registered Member

    Where are you buying from? When I was in the states I was able to use cash for EVERYTHING. Same goes here in canada (although I prefer to use debit). The only time I ever had an issue is when I went to a hotel; They annoyingly want you to give them a CC but I don't have one.
  17. CloneRanger
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    CloneRanger Registered Member

    @ noone_particular

    :thumb:

    History is "sort of" repeating itself, always seems to do so as "They" never learn :thumbd:

    Except this time there is a LOT more to "play" for, & it Will be Very different to Anything that's gone before, & get MUCH worse in All sorts of ways for Most people in the world, before WE can regain what IS ours & has been stolen/robbed etc from us for SO long.

    Get yourselfs FULLY prepared in EVERY way for a Very bumpy ride, because it's Already started & "They" have no intentions of halting it. In fact they are doing Everything they can to accelerate things. Look around people, what do you already see/hear/read/know = not good is it !
  18. noone_particular
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    noone_particular Registered Member

    OK
    Local super market, uses store cards for discounts. Last several times I've been there, paying cash, they asked for it. They're apparently instructed to try to talk you into getting one. Card is tied to your phone number. Shortly after my spouse got one, we started getting the telemarketer calls, in spite of being on the do not call lists.

    The 2 big chain lumber yards in town. Both want a phone number when you check out. They say it's for warranty and returns, which begs the question "what's the receipt for?" You can refuse, but it nearly doubles the time you'll be holding up the line. The other local lumber yards went out of business.

    Competing satellite TV companies in town. Neither will install the service unless you use a credit/debit card to "secure" the equipment. My DSL/VOIP provider wanted a credit card to "cover" the VOIP modem, although I'd been a customer for over 2 years. They backed down when I told them I'd cancel the service.

    Half of the products sold via TV advertizing will only accept plastic.

    I can buy most of what I want with cash, but it gets old telling these people that they don't need my phone number or other personally identifiable info every time I purchase everyday items.

    In a lot of ways, Bitcoin reminds me of the old barter system, which I believe is illegal because government and big money couldn't get their "cut" without an exchange medium to set value. BitCoin will also face this problem. As much as I like the idea, I can't see it becoming viable until those things we need to survive, like food and fuel can be paid for with them.
  19. Baserk
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    Baserk Registered Member

    According to a BitCoin user, his BC-wallet has been stolen, probably due to a trojan on his Windows box (and lack of encryption on his side).
    25.000 Bitcoins, aprox. $465000 is gone. Bitcoin forum link.
  20. noone_particular
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    noone_particular Registered Member

    It wouls appear that BitCoin still needs some work. Even then, it's back to the same problem that's always faced users. It doesn't matter how strong an application or an encryption program or algorithm is, or how resistant it is to attack. In the end, it's no better than the OS it runs on. If that OS is Windows and uses a default-permit based security policy, you're just asking to be wiped out. I highly doubt that there's any pre-made malware that targets BitCoin, which will make signature based detections worthless. It's also debatable if AV vendors would even try to detect such malware.

    There's one more point that I feel potential users of BitCoin need to consider. The fastest way for them to kill BitCoin would be for its users to lose money via theft and lose all confidence in it. This is just the type of system that the powers that be would target with official malware for the purpose of killing it. Big money and governments will definitely oppose BitCoin and quite likely will coerce AV and anti-spyware vendors into not detecting malware that targets BitCoin. I wouldn't be surprised if they label BitCoin a terrorists tool (terror as in threatening their bottom line) and make the detection of any "official malware" that targets it an act that supports terrorism.

    In theory, the idea of anonymous currency is good and I'd gladly support it, when it works. IMO, there needs to be a couple of basic changes before it becomes possible. First, it should be integrated into Tor or connect via Tor. The traffic would still be encrypted and government would be much less likely to directly attack Tor since they use it too. If it remains an identifiable, stand-alone target, it's doomed. If it's designed as an add-on for Tor and it's traffic made to be indistinguishable from Tors, it would be much harder to target.

    The wallets need to be encrypted by the BitCoin app itself. It needs to be OTFE, with the wallet decrypted only when needed, then automatically re-encrypted with the key immediately wiped.

    The big change needs to be with the users. If at all possible, they shouldn't be running this on Windows. If they must, IMO a default-deny security policy should be considered mandatory on it.
  21. mvario
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    mvario Registered Member

    Interesting and informative interview with Bitcoin guys:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwNfBgwbqng&feature=player_detailpage#t=431s
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwNfBgwbqng

    It was from before the theft incident, but one of the guys even says he see the equivalent of banking trojans for Bitcoin happening.

    @noone_particular: totally agree. The weak spot is on the user side, but Btc really should encrypt the wallet by default and only open it, with a password, when a transaction is being made.

    That said, I'm sure the bad guys will develop a trojan that grabs that password. Ultimately the user is going to have to keep his computer secure or risk theft.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  22. CloneRanger
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    CloneRanger Registered Member

    @ Baserk

    Thanks for the news & links :thumb:

    I read the first page of posts on there & the 15th, which was the last before i logged off, probably more since.

    If i had been robbed of around $500,000 i KNOW i'd sound a LOT more ****ed off than he "appeared" to ? Even 0.1% of that = $500 would Really annoy me. Maybe he's a multi Millionare & won't be made homeless etc by the theft, or it wasn't All his $ ?

    This is BitCoins "USERS" worst nightmare, NOT BitCoin itself, as it was NOT BC's fault, but his. As noone_particular suggests though, greater security inbuilt to BC would make a BIG difference. I would hope that from now on, that's what should happen.

    Another angle on this, which was sparked off by the "guys" unusual attitude to this, is it "could" have been deliberately targetted by, "You know who". Not directly of course, but by hacker/s that have sold out to "Them" Why ? well if it makes people a lot more wary about dealing in BC's and/or not even getting invloved, and/or getting out, then that saves "Them" a lot of bother down the line.

    Of course it "could" indeed be just a lucky hack on the "guys" comp by a clever hacker/s ? Smells a bit iffy to me though !

    *

    @ mvario

    Just seen your post :thumb:
  23. x942
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    x942 Registered Member

    Makes more sense now :thumb: I get pressured to by those cards to. Last time I said no and I told the manager if I am ever asked again I will go elsewhere. Not being the first to complain they have slowed down on pushing their cards. The only card I have is for Costco because you have to be a member to shop there :/
  24. Baserk
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    Baserk Registered Member

    I agree that his reaction to losing the equivalent of almost half a million dollars appeared rather 'light' to me also.
    And I had the exact same idea; "For real? You loose >$450K and you only react like 'Darn/Gosh/Crickey'?"
    Multimillionaire, superb self control or simply not the whole truth...(I'd probably be bat**** crazy mad and on the verge of a perm ban).
    And not even encrypting the wallet.dat file sounds ludicrous. Like carrying around $500K in your back pocket while buying groceries or something...o_O
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2011
  25. hugsy
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    hugsy Registered Member

    I just say NO, i don't want it, i don't have a phone, i don't have a card, i don't have a bank account (there is no law that i need to have one), i don't know my birthday, my name is Jack Mindyourown, my address is 1st street Australia or Austria don't know really, i have a cash i want to buy what you are selling, if my money is not good enough, then i turn around and leave or demand for a manager and give him the same. Usually the first -no- works 99,99% of the time, the cash adds it up to 100%.

    Any solution that gives back the anonymity is great, if it works for 100 years it's cool, if only for 1 year that's cool too.