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back to article Wells Fargo gathers bank 'n' gov bigwigs to discuss Bitcoin 'rules'

America's biggest bank, Wells Fargo, has called together finance execs, virtual currency experts and US government officials to talk about the "rules of engagement" when it comes to virtual money Bitcoin. The bank's anti-money laundering chief, Jim Richards, has started a group to investigate potential Bitcoin services or …

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In other news, the bank of Netherlands iis now accepting Tulip Bulbs....

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Anonymous Coward

LOL ROFL LMAO

It's funny because... tulips!! Oh man, oh man that never gets old.

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Re: LOL ROFL LMAO

No, its funny cos its the same shit happening again.

At least you could eat or plant a tulip bulb.

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Re: LOL ROFL LMAO

"X went back to its original value, therefore Y which is completely different to X is going to go back to its original value"

Hmm, not convinced. As you say yourself, tulips are very different to Bitcoin. When it comes to being a currency, store of value, means of transaction, Bitcoin have all sorts of advantages that tulips completely fail at.

I don't think anyone disagrees that Bitcoin is a "bubble" in the sense that "current value is significantly propped up by speculation", but it is completely unclear as to whether Bitcoin may grow in use (and hence the value may become supported by actual use), or be doomed (and the value collapses to near nothing). I don't see that the latter is a certainty, as the tulip critics seem to imply.

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Re: LOL ROFL LMAO

>>>Hmm, not convinced. As you say yourself, tulips are very different to Bitcoin. When it comes to being a currency, store of value, means of transaction, Bitcoin have all sorts of advantages that tulips completely fail at.

The difference being that Tulips actually have a practical application that will allow it to store some value and allow it to be interchanged. A bitcoin is nothing but otherwise meaningless data, that only has value because someone is dumb enough to pay for it in real currency.

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No, what is REALLY funny to me is the WFB logo, which is kinda appropos...

No, what is REALLY funny to me is the WFB logo, which is kinda appropos...

The stage coach can contain a LOT of "cha-ching!", and if WFB gets to set or influence the rules, they'll be laughing all the way (back) to ... the(ir) bank, hahahaha...

How many other banks have a century+ old moniker/image harkening to the way money was once transported? Now, it'll seemingly be just digital wagons and digital coins...

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Unhappy

Re: No, what is REALLY funny to me is the WFB logo, which is kinda appropos...

I suspect you might be thinking of an older logo… The current one (since 2008) is not that funny:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wells_Fargo

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Anonymous Coward

this is a bad thing how exactly ?

there aren't any regulatory protections in the EU for consumers if exchanges or other Bitcoin repositories go out of business.

You mean they won't waste my tax dollars propping up a Bitcoin Bank ? I'm crushed.

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Holmes

Re: this is a bad thing how exactly ?

They only care when its their fake money, your fake money is of no concern to them, so no, The Government wont lift a finger for a currency that they don't issue, except to possibly ensure that exchanges based in the United States or wherever have certain standards.

Maybe it will evolve into something akin to the Credit Unions vs. the few remaining Savings and Loans vs. Traditional Bank Investments vs. Cryptocurrency Investment Banking. I have my doubts BTC and the like will last that long but hey, it might become a permanent and crucial part of the global economy.

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"...considering that Bitcoin has been linked to money laundering."

And so have dollars, euros, pounds, yen, lira, roubles, rupees, $insert_currency_here.

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@J.G.Harston

"...considering that Bitcoin has been linked to money laundering."

As have banking institutions (i'm looking at you HSBC...)

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Joke

Up Sticks ,this is a Hand Up !

Will we be able to obtain a digital horse and a digital Colt 45 to hold up

the digital stagecoach ?

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This is likely them trying to work out where bitcoins will most likely take off, what threat this poses to their business and where they can take advantage themselves.

I see international money transfer as the most likely "killer app" at the moment. For example person A deposits cash using the cash point in Canada and gets bitcoins which he sends to person B in Hong Kong. This transfer of bitcoins takes a maximum of 20 minutes after which they can go to the cash point in Hong Kong and withdraw Hong Kong Dollars. This can happen today since the cash points already.

Yes but price fluctuates but not by much in 20 minutes. This would take 2 or 3 days using the traditional banking system and think of all the people sending money home when working away.

As for fraud most of these cash points require ID verification and if someone receives or sends millions of dollars/pounds/whatever the usual "red flags" would be raised.

They will likely be brain storming for other business cases so they can account (or counter) them in advance. Also this is the US so bitcoin orientated lobbying is probably set to skyrocket in 2014 !

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Re: likely them trying to work out

Well that's the most direct part. But there's a bigger part behind that. The reason WFB is now the largest bank in the US is because the government "asked" them to take over a number of failed banks during the liquidity crisis. But despite the bailout, the government never really fixed the root cause of the crisis. So WFB is holding a lot of bad paper that they can't let look like bad paper. And they're trying to come up with ways to prop it up. Bitcoin are a good candidate. As someone else has noted, if they fleece bitcoin holders, the government won't care. But at the same time, they have to have a government seal of approval for what they do so they don't get caught up in RICO laws the next time the government busts an international drug lord.

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Re: likely them trying to work out

I don't think there is any way they can fleece bitcoin users/holders since the nature of the system is that you hold your own "keys" to your money in the private encryption key. People would need to give money to them which would only happen if there was something to gain. If you don't control your wallet then you can't make payments which defeats the point.

Maybe bitcoin savings or funds but it seems too early for banks to be getting into that.

One company has already started offering insured bitcoin storage though obviously they charge.

They could buy bitcoins and try to make money from the price fluctuation but a bank buying in would push the price up anyway. Unless of course they did a deal off the exchange, maybe buying the seize silk road coins which might be auctioned off at some point. Either way I think this would push the price up.

I think international drug lords tend to stick to USD (cash if possible).

The silk road was a special case pitched to the ordinary Joe and even then one they started to identify silk road wallet addresses they could unpick the whole network of payments via bitcoin's open and very public transaction log.

Bitcoin was started partly due to the banking crises as an alternative to traditional banking so it's interesting then that a bank which absorbed so much debt due to the liquidity crisis could get into bitcoin.

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bitcoins are useful....

Bitcoins have some great utility as a means of exchange of value. They are hard to forge, they are trivial to exchange. They can be exchanged over great distances without any third party needed to authorise and sanction that transaction. They are completely transparently traceable. What they are not because of their volatility, is a reliable store of value.

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Re: bitcoins are useful....

"What they are not because of their volatility, is a reliable store of value."

True but they could be one day, maybe 5 years or so when they are (hopefully) in more common use for general payments and transfers. A greater transaction volume (buying & selling) leads to greater stability.

No store of wealth is totally infallible though. Many people turn to Gold as being a steady earner but in the last year the USD price per oz has fallen from $1,668.62 to $1,241.69 Ok, it has peaked and then dropped down to it's July 2010 position so long terms holders are ok but I'm just saying it's more volatile than people expect.

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The Bitcoin system will be outlawed.

It is inevitable. Big Banking does not like competition. Big Banking has everybody's money in its vaults. Even worse, Big Banking is loaning the entire world the currency it needs to conduct trade. Even worse, the borrowed money has even less intrinsic worth than a virtual currency like bitcoins. The bitcoins are supposedly going to be avallable in a fixed quantity. There is no proposed limits on how much money our governments are allowed to borrow from Big Banking. As matters now stand, Big Banking could go right on lending money at an infinite rate for infinite quantities of cash, for guess what, an infinite amount of profit in the form of infinite interest payments.

Here is what I don't like about our available currencies. The Bitcoin system is not tenable because it cannot be made accountable. The person(s) behind are unknown and therefore cannot be brought to account if there is any wrongdoing--such as making more bitcoins than they promised.

The mainstream system is based not on intrinsic worth, but upon debts. Every note you see is just that--a note. In other words, all our currencies are nothing more than transferrable debt. The plain hard facts are that very little of the US dollars in circulation are actuall printed. The overwhelming bulk of them are merely entries kept in accounting computers.

Precious metals have their drawbacks as well. Gold is entirely too scarce and so narrowly traded that its market is subject to manipulation. Silver is actually an industrial metal and is in considerably larger supply than gold is, owing to its nature, but it too is rare enough that its market can be easily manipulated. The same goes for all the platinum group metals. There are no "precious" metals that are at one and the same time of sufficient worth and of adequate supply so that they are immune to hidden manipulation.

There is, however, an answer in an alloy. That alloy is bronze. Let us make our money out of bell metal and let freedom ring.

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