back to article VC who wants to split California REVEALED as Silk Road Bitcoin slurper

Venture capitalist Tim Draper has revealed that he is the investor who snapped up nearly 30,000 Bitcoins seized from shut-down online drugs market Silk Road, having outbid all comers in an auction held by the US Marshals Service last week. The 29,656.51306529 Bitcoins nabbed from Silk Road's digital wallets were auctioned off as …

Still amazes me that US citizens accept a law in place which allows the seizure and sale of goods based on someone accused of commiting a crime, before that person is even convicted.

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Well they must be guilty of something - the trial is just an extra bit of entertainment

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> Still amazes me that US citizens accept a law in place which allows the seizure and sale of goods based on someone accused of commiting a crime, before that person is even convicted.

I wondered that myself.

So if he is acquitted, does he get all his BitCoins back?

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To be fair, these are the bitcoins from Silk Road itself. Further bitcoins (although not all of what DPR should have earned) were found on Ulbricht's computer. Those are being held, pending the outcome of his trial.

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Many jurisdictions have a provision for the seizure of the proceeds of crime that does not require a criminal conviction but still must go through the courts.

In New Zealand the "Crown" (government) only need to prove that on the balance of probability the assets are the proceeds of crime, rather than the more rigorous standard of beyond reasonable doubt required for a criminal conviction. This is commonly used to target people dealing in drugs or stolen property. Often the people up the chain who are organising for instance drug dealing never get their hands dirty so it is difficult to prove that they were selling drugs. Easier to show they have a connection to drug dealing and cannot provide a reasonable explanation of where the money/assets came from, therefore must have come from drugs etc.

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UK law is even worse - the government can seize your assets on the grounds that they are the "proceeds of crime" without needing to even charge you with a crime, let alone convict you of anything.

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@Paul 87

Progressives have no one to blame but themselves for that outcome. When you make a mockery of protecting citizens by turning loose criminals on the basis that it is better to release 10 mass murders than convict 1 innocent person of jaywalking, the citizens are prone to believing the authorities when they come and say "the only way we can stop The Mob is if we are granted these draconian RICO powers. Otherwise their lawyers will run circles around our underpaid prosecutors in court."

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Re: UK law is even worse

Actually that makes them exactly equivalent, because under RICO that's what they do. Most common use is in a drug sting. Regardless of who owned the property (including vehicles driven that may have been stolen) the feds can seize anything that was used to facilitate the deal. They've also started to use it in underage drinking convictions. If the police pick up Eddie Jr for drunk driving and he's in daddy's car, they just might seize daddy's car.

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How long before.....

someone hacks their systems and nicks all the coins??

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Very puzzling and disturbing.

These are bitcoins held by Silk Road for the customers/users? Not his personal bitcoins. So by a bit of a stretch, if the CEO of Paypal were charged with similar crimes, Paypal could be shut down and all assets or at least accounts could be seized???

IANAL, but something just doesn't feel right about this. There has (wishful thinking maybe) to be some innocents who are now collateral damage.

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Re: Very puzzling and disturbing.

That would only happen if it were claimed that Paypal is inherently a criminal enterprise, not just that the CEO has committed a crime. Pretty much everything being sold on Silk Road was illegal, which is what justified shutting it down and seizing its assets. Even if the CEO was using Paypal for money laundering or such, most traffic on that site is legitimate, so they'd only seize the related accounts, not everything.

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Re: Very puzzling and disturbing.

"These are bitcoins held by Silk Road for the customers/users? Not his personal bitcoins. So by a bit of a stretch, if the CEO of Paypal were charged with similar crimes, Paypal could be shut down and all assets or at least accounts could be seized???"

No. These Bitcoins were offered back to anyone who could prove ownership. No one came forward, and claimed them, so they were sold. This is sale of unclaimed property, not a sale of seized property. There is some more of that that will go for auction after conviction.

Since most of the money moving on the Silk Road was for illegal goods, claiming the funds was probably unwise for most of the owners, just like how money found during drug busts is never claimed either.

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Re: Very puzzling and disturbing.

>That would only happen if it were claimed that Paypal is inherently a criminal enterprise

PayPal IS an inherently criminal enterprise...

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Re: if the CEO of Paypal were charged with similar crimes

Depends on the circumstances. If the crimes are external to the operation of PayPal, then no they wouldn't be seized. BUT if the feds have sufficient evidence that PayPal is just a front organization for laundering drug money, yes they COULD.

IANAL either. It seems to me lawyers are the only ones who don't get the "something just doesn't feel right about this" feeling.

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Re: they'd only seize the related accounts

Well, that's what they tell us. That's not the way the law is written. And there have been cases in which assets have been seized and there isn't clear proof that the owner of the asset was part of the criminal activity. In the case of PayPal, because it involves so many people, I tend to believe they would limit the number of accounts seized, but not because that's what the law says or out of any goodness of their heart. I think they wouldn't do it because they don't want that many people to know how truly arbitrary the process can be. If enough people know that, there might actually be an outcry to change the law.

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Splitting California

Yes, get rid of the poor people and everybody else's average wealth will increase. It's obvious.

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Re: Splitting California

Just wait long enough and California will be split. Along the San Andreas fault line, possibly.

Sadly, this is not entirely a joke, and certainly not for people in California

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Re: " San Andreas fault line"

Someones been watching too many movies. The San Andreas fault is part of a subduction zone; so rather than splitting off and floating away, the two side of the fault line are being pushed together. Over time California will become smaller and much more mountainous as the edges Pacific Plate crumple up against the North American plate.

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Re: Splitting California

It's true, the poorer parts of California (and NY and MA, where I've lived) would be better off without the big cities which tend to leech off them. (Maybe that's why they're poor, eh?)

Also true that Bitcoin is more stable than some countries' currencies.

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Re: Splitting California

Despite the author's attempt to spin the movement, it's actually the "poor people" who want to jettison the parasites in "the rich" districts. Mostly because they are tired of having no representation in government.

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Bitcoins - if they last - are effectively real money rather than merely currency, so should have a far more stable value than modern currencies (which have been decoupled from any monetary standard). What gives "real" money its value is having the *inherent* property of being relatively scarce (but not too scarce) and difficult to make - so that no government (or person) can rapidly increase the amount in circulation. The value (in buying power) of the total amount of money in circulation remains constant, so as the amount in circulation increases, the value of a fixed amount decreases. If & when Bitcoins become a routine medium of exchange, variations in the exchange rate will reflect changes in the value of the currency being exchanged rather than the value of Bitcoins.

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