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back to article WikiLeaks party flirts with Oz law by taking Bitcoin gifts

Any hope Australian 'net libertarians might harbour that the crypto-currency Bitcoin somehow dodges electoral donation rules is a delusion. The debate has been sparked by the Wikileaks Party, the only high-profile party in Australia to accept Bitcoin for donations (it can't be called a “major” party yet, since this is its first …

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Boffin

Just Because Bitcoin can be anonymous

Doesn't mean it has to be anonymous

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Re: Just Because Bitcoin can be anonymous

Just get everyone to donate a maximum of $12 099.99. Problem solved.

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Bitcoin was never meant to be anonymous

The central idea behind Bitcoin is the distributed transaction log which is accessible to everyone. Every transaction is stored there till infinity.

This is the opposite of anonymous. It's pseudonymous at best. It was never meant to be that. What it was meant to work without any central instance and to be as democratic as possible.

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FAIL

Re: Just Because Bitcoin can be anonymous

"Just get everyone to donate a maximum of $12 099.99. Problem solved."

The point about such restrictions in a democratic system is to prevent unfair competition. The Freetards and others of that ilk seem to believe that everything offline can be dispensed with, including police interviews of suspects, and now it seems donations... ...with the added exception, namely that digital donations are exempt from, oh, let's see, the regulations capping donations to political parties, income tax, legal investigations where tax dodging and even donations to terrorists are concerned, not that I am saying this list overlaps the current discussion, but it does illustrate the extent to which such contorted thinking goes. It is analogous to debates in theology; was Jesus here or only in seeming? The debate centres on the transfer of energy from an immaterial body to the corporeal, which under the principle of the conservation of energy cannot be so.

If it interacts with the material it is material; similarly, if you interact via the digital medium with things in flesh space, then you are subject to the laws in flesh space, and that includes the ceiling or cap imposed on donations to political parties of all kinds. Otherwise that way lies the sorts of troubles that have dotted political history, especially where the minority impose a tyranny on the majority.

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What's the big deal?

"setting out the total amount or value of all gifts"

So it's the same any any other gift. Just list the value.

As for being anonymous so is a shoe box full of cash, gold bars...

So it's not bitcoins that are the question, it's do they accept anonymous gifts over the limit in any form.

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Re: What's the big deal?

In fact one has to go out of one's way to make bitcoin anonymous, just like any other currency.

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Boffin

Re: What's the big deal?

http://zerocoin.org/

Admittedly, one might call it "going out of the way", especially since it is not yet implemented.

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Re: What's the big deal?

But bitcoins theoretically give you a money laundering advantage. It's problematic to launder $100,000 through small cash donations. That involves either lots of people (problems with leaks even at 10 people) or lots of repeated fundraisers. Bit coins is just some dude (dudette?) sitting in his/her underwear in front of an iPad firing up his bot net to send donations in the amount of $25 each until the target number is reached.

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Anonymous Coward

What would you expect?

These folks are losers, unethical and many are probably criminals.

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Facepalm

Re: What would you expect?

"These folks" being? The Australian libertarians, the Wikileaks party, Bitcoin users, the AEC? Exactly whom are you attempting to defame here?

Or perhaps by "these folks" you mean people who go out of their way to remain anonymous whilst simultaneously attempting to sway others' opinions? If that's what you mean, I think I'm beginning to see your point...

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Re: What would you expect?

""These folks" being? The Australian libertarians, the Wikileaks party, Bitcoin users, the AEC? Exactly whom are you attempting to defame here?

Or perhaps by "these folks" you mean people who go out of their way to remain anonymous whilst simultaneously attempting to sway others' opinions? If that's what you mean, I think I'm beginning to see your point..."

No, you do not. To begin with the right to anonymity in political pamphleting are a part of the US constitution, and the right to vote without disclosing whom you voted for are similarly sacrosanct, just like the holding of political and other beliefs remain the private property of the individual, though thought crime and the use of conditioning sessions (diversity education as a tool to implement and protect Labour's clandestine immigration programme, which was at odds with their manifesto commitment and thus contract with the nation).

Thus anonymity and politics have a perfectly respectable history, even if the US can arguably be described as having in some respects departed from the path and constitution/constitutional rights laid down by the founding fathers, including as they do the right to anonymity in political pamphleteering to which you evidently take exception.

It is, on the other hand, an important part of the regulation of political parties and their financing that donors above a certain size of donation have to be declared publicly. This gives the public the right to voice concerns, it gives them confidence in the political system. Similarly, donations are not permitted above a certain ceiling or cap, for the precise reason that political parties can be bought (see my point concerning the disclosure of rich donors) by rich individuals, or by dint of many individuals coming together and taking over a party, or branch of it. The recent scandal of the Tower Hamlets branch of the Labour party is an example; it is, you may be pleased to hear, in 'special measures', something which would happen if the Trotskyite SWP tried to again take over the Labour party, as happened before and during Neil Kinnock's time as leader.

Anonymous detractors? No, they are not a problem and are rightfully enshrined in the the US constitution; they might even in a mature German constitution have contributed to keeping Schickelgrüber out of power. Furthermore, a mature democracy with mature, confident political parties should more than welcome anonymous criticism, but also be able to withstand it by merely pointing to the truth because, at the end of the day, the truth is its own best defence. Your remarks are of the 'we must protect the children' variety.

People have a right to anonymously criticise and pamphleteer, both in the US and the UK as well as many other democratic countries, for precisely the reason that they are afforded the ability to without fear level just and valid criticisms at parties such as, e.g., the BNP and prevent them from gaining sufficient seats as would enable them to inflict themselves on the like of me; you? About you I do not care, precisely because of your evidently undemocratic, intemperate attitude to democracy that would expose those who do not feel safe in criticising extremists.

Besides any of which you are as far as I am concerned anonymous. I don't know you and I do not know if you are using your meatspace name. Thus, from the perspectives of the classic criticisms from the history of political thought that I have levelled at you, your remarks are weak and do not pay attention to the truths, the things in themselves and are, rather, a form of argumentum ad hominem, particularly the 'defame' remark. We've seen all about Assange's criminal record on 17 counts, and there is little doubt that the material in Wikileaks' possession was not handed over voluntarily by the bodies from whom it was taken, nice though your volte-face was.

Wikileaks was founded by a convicted criminal (Domscheidt excepted, and he left Assange do note), convicted on 17 counts. The man went through the Pentagon's air force computers, Australian corporate computers, university computers, and even went through the computers of the police unit investigating him. There is much else to be said about Assange that is unpleasant, including his recent attempt at gaining $1 million for an interview, the pay wall saga, his 80,000 salary (how 'charitable' of him), the sum he took from a publisher for having his story printed, subsequently withdrawing from the process but not returning the money whilst saying the company had no right to print. Oh yes, Wikileaks, founded on 100% pure ethics. No criminals here, uhuh. The lack of supervision, the high handed way he purportedly deals with his 'staff', the lack of protection when he exposed the GPS data on Afghan informants and his cavalier attitude to them, these are the sorts of things that I would expect when a convicted criminal sets up shop as a journalist with moral pretensions.

HTH.

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Anonymous Coward

Bitcoins?

The collection of arseholes who are Australia's major political parties should be paid in Shitcoins!

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Thumb Up

Bitcoin donations are transparent

You can easily query the bitcoin blockchain to view all the transactions/donations to the Wikileaks Party donation address:

https://blockchain.info/address/1LCBp3nAeauWwtL9kbD5qkfzZ8DFjFvw8N

Transactions that do not meet the disclosure requirements shoud be able to be returned to the senders public key/address. I hope they go one step further - I would like a spot on their webpage that allows people to 'claim' bitcoin donations they have sent.

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The real problem is volatility

$13000 one day could be $6000 or $20000 by the end of the week, depending on how many articles the press have done about bitcoin on slow news days.

The second real problem is spending them - nobody accepts them in any useful sense - again thanks to that volatility. If my printing supplies cost $, I need to cover their cost in $, not magic beans.

Good luck to them and all - wikileaks has lost so much credibility by not dumping Assange the moment he jumped bail and started slinging faeces at the very courts that had spent time and money hearing him. A wikileaks party has to pedal furiously just to stand still the more they tie personality in with service.

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Re: The real problem is volatility

But volatility is also the solution, just wait a couple of hours till it down before you withdraw

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Yeah but...

OK, so they should report who made the donation. But Bitcoin makes it easy to donate bitcoins anonymously. So how would they report on information they don't know about?

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