back to article EFF backs away from Bitcoin

The Electronic Frontiers Foundation in the US has decided it will no longer accept donations via Bitcoin. While not itself a member of Bitcoin, the organization had been accepting donations via the currency through an account set up by an anonymous third party. However, only coincidentally following the Bitcoin Mt Gox hack-and …

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  1. Arctic fox
    Childcatcher

    Cites concerns? I should bloody cocoa!

    "It cited questions about the legal standing of the crypto-currency with relation to “securities law, the Stamp Payments Act, tax evasion, consumer protection and money laundering”."

    I have noted that *some* people here seem to get a little upset when one points out that an "untraceable currency" is, (how shall we put?) open to abuse. Indeed it is fairly obvious that that is its major attraction for some people given that it is in most other respects a *highly* risky investment proposition for any honest citizen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yay for another "nothing to hide" canard.

      A somewhat overly selective quote and a handy veiled villification in one comment. Well done sir.

      Not quoted but in the original press release it does say that the EFF likes to help other people with their freedom, and doesn't like distractions like having to defend themselves. So, it says, it's naturally a bit leery about becoming a target itself. That, in the face of a lot of untested and absent case law, is what drove the decision; not any agreement with moral values in those laws or anything.

      Why yes, "untraceable currency" is indeed open to abuse. Leaving aside that bitcoin does not quite fit that description, would you care to argue that getting robbed of a big stash of government-issued bits of stamped metal and/or bits of colourfully printed paper would be any different?

      Would that happening to you also rob you of the presumed default state (as in, until proven guilty) of being a "honest citizen"? And if not, why would bitcoin do that in your eyes?

    2. nederlander
      Mushroom

      something is open to abuse?!! Shut.. down.. EVERYTHING

      Money was never intended to be a means of identification. A ten pound note is no more traceable that a bitcoin, presumably then, anyone who uses a tenner must be a shady scoundrel?

      1. Zippy the Pinhead
        Stop

        @ nederlander

        While cash money is basically untraceable it's still legal tender and good for all debts public and private. Bitcoin cannot make that make that promise and its a promise that it never will be able to fulfill. First it's not legal tender and it's also not good for all debts public or private.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Actually, no

      Some of us merely pointed out to you that:

      1. Owning bitcoins does not make you a tax evader

      2. You have a complete lack of understanding of the tax system.

      3. You do not have to declare your assets on a tax form.

    4. Arctic fox
      Happy

      Dear me.........

      .......I do appear to have touched a raw nerve or two, hmm?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Touched a raw nerve

        Not really. I guess it's just that some people here do not like acts contra natura, and they hold the belief that certain orifices were never really meant for talking out of.

        Zealots, the lot of them!

  2. El Cid Campeador
    WTF?

    Wha?

    "Notarized documentation??" You mean like a stamp on my monitor? Sure... right next to my blonde secretary's whiteout!

    1. Elmer Phud
      WTF?

      Eh?

      I just don't understand this at all.

      (especially the 'blonde secretary' bit)

      So, WTF? to the WTF?

    2. Old Handle

      It does sound a bit funny

      But I assume what they mean is that if all else fails, and no one can prove ownership of an account otherwise, they will accept a notarized statement, probably "under penalty of perjury" proclaiming yourself to be the rightful account holder. That way at least if it's later proved you aren't, someone can sue your pants off. And keep in mind, that Mt. Gox accounts held not just bitcoins, but dollars as well.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    R.I.P.

    Bitcoins R.I.P. surely...?

  4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Ah ha ha ha... SHEEPLE FAIL!

    EFF cites questions about the legal standing of the crypto-currency with relation to <various law and control-freak bullshit valid for the hoi polloi>

    Yep, that makes sense. It's like a traveller in some dictatorship deciding that it would be a good idea to take a car for a trip to a nearby city, then deciding that after all, it won't because there are concerns about having the correct paperwork to show the blue-clad ones, there is actually no officially approved reason for the trip, and it may well be against the law forbidding wasting gasoline, too. And, oh, there is no reasonable explanation for the provenance that wad of paper money that he wanted to blow on this.

    1. Identity

      It's not dead

      — it's just pinin' for the fjords!

  5. trstooge
    FAIL

    Looks like the BitCoin author wasn't that smart after all...

    First the fact that anyone stealing you single bitcoin file has basically stolen all your bitcoins and now this...

    Can't believe Bitcoin has been praised for so long as something supposedly so smart.

    The number of holes in the entire Bitcoin ecosystem seems staggering.

    Good move by the EFF to stop accepting these: not only is Bitcoin super-shaddy but also under-architected.

  6. Mme.Mynkoff
    Trollface

    It's obviously a conspiracy...

    ... by the fractional reserve banking system

    ... and probably the Bilderberg group, which met at the weekend...

    ... and probably lizards, too.

    In fact, definitely lizards. Their scaly claw prints are all over this.

  7. DrXym Silver badge

    Oh dear oh dear

    I wonder how many MtGox users through some sense of stupidity, paranoia or criminal intent have been registering with throwaway email addresses or (worse) mailinator like services. That might explain why MtGox can't unlock some accounts given that they can't send confirmation emails (that the perps can read), and they can't allow people to use their old password (that the perps have cracked).

    The funny part is when these accounts are eventually unlocked they might discover that a mass selloff (caused by all the various woes of late) has wiped out the value of bitcoins leaving them with nothing. For accounts that have USD values associated with them I wonder also if MtGox can just keep the cash if no one comes to claim them.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    title-coin

    I'd still like to know what would happen to the supply of bitcoins in the event a wallet becomes irretreivable for whatever reason such as corruption of the file or the user just ceasing to use the service without cashing in their coins?

    Would this constantly reduce the available pool of coins leading to extreme scarcity of liquid funds? I mean, they shouldn't be allowed to simply zero off a persons stash.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Scarity of liquid funds?

      And how exactly would you differentiate the scarcity of liquid funds resulting from bitcoin wallets evaporating and the scarcity of liquid funds resulting from somebody dumping a 1000 bitcoin block?

    2. Old Handle

      Pretty much

      Ideally it seems like there would be some way of detecting "lost" coins and reissuing new coins to miners to keep the supply steady, but there isn't. So instead the remaining coins became scarcer and therefore (assuming anyone wants them at all) more valuable. The good news is they can be divided down to something like 0.00000001 BTC, so theoretically the system is still workable even with only a few very valuable Bitcoins.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why is that such a big concern?

      It seems like I keep hearing about that aspect. Physical money can be lost or destroyed too, can't it? But seemingly everywhere I go, someone brings that up.

      Or is it always you, alphaxion?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        title

        The difference being more physical money is printed to keep the market liquid and so can replace the currency that is slowly lost in the system. Being able to subdivide each coin would delay the problem, but when the currency is designed to only ever have a set amount in circulation then digital wastage is a problem that will only become compounded over time.

        Unless everywhere you go is here and the KoL forums then it's more than just me asking. In fact, I just copied and pasted my comment from that initial post to here in order to get the opinions from a different section of people.

        Instead, I find that I'm being stalked ;P

  9. Mark McC
    Headmaster

    Mt. Gox?

    It's impressive how some tactical punctuation can turn Magic: The Gathering Online Xchange into something vaguely professional sounding. Pity their site and recent actions shattered any illusion carefully-placed full stops might have created.

  10. David Hicks

    Bubble, Bubble, toil and trouble...

    Bitcoin is in a speculative bubble. A serious one. It is pretty much only used to speculate and trade. There is virtually nothing you can actually use it for that approaches normal economic activity. Most of the currency seems to be in private hoards.

    I don't imagine that the value will crash immediately the exchange opens up again, but I do expect it will crash when the current wave of media attention wanes due to press/public boredom. Unless a real economy starts to function in bitcoin it is not and never will be an actual currency.

    The fact that most of its proponents are all treating it as an investment says a lot. Expect tears before bedtime.

    And that's even if the current rash of hacks, breakins and trojans subsides.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Bubble, Bubble, coin and rubble...

    Fixed it for you.

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