The FBI is auctioning off the bitcoins it stole from the Dread Pirate Roberts, the owner of the popular Silk Road website. The World Crypto Network is live to cover this monumental event. What will happen to the price? Will the transactions be approved or cancelled?
Yesterday I had the great pleasure of listening to two of my favorite people, Roger Ver of Blockchain.info and James Corbett of the Corbett Report Podcast talking about Voluntaryism and how Bitcoin can build the bridge to a future based on consensual interactions. The audio is excellent, and I was even flattered to hear that Roger even referenced me and my youtube videos with regard to Voluntaryism. Specifically, he was re-iterating my popular phrase regarding voting with your dollar:
“If Starbucks dropped bombs, I wouldn’t shop there. So why would I support the American Empire? The Empire does not require my consent.”
Their conversation ranges from Mises and Rothbard to Bitcoin and civil disobedience.
Issue 1 — Wikipedia unsure about Bitcoin Donations — This just makes no sense. Much like the EFF who years ago was “unsure” about Bitcoin, so they refused their donations, only to accept them later when they were much more valuable. Should Wikipedia accept Bitcoin Donations? Play devil’s advocate, is there any reason for them to refuse? Does this make any sense? —
Issue 2 — Amazon says No to Bitcoin, Walmart says No to Gyft — Tough week for Bitcoin and retail as Gyft had to retract their Walmart gift card service and Amazon flat out said no, citing “lack of customer demand”. Walmart is famously suing Visa over swipe fees and Amazon used to be a technology company — why would they both — say No to Bitcoin?
Issue 3 — Mainstream Media wakes up to Szabo lingustic evidence story. The Who is Satoshi Nakamoto story is back again, the media will never give this one up. This time they’ve got Nick Szabo, who at the very least participated in the white paper — but does that make him Satoshi Nakamoto? Does the media have their man?
Issue 4 — Dogecon, Gas Stations should accept Bitcoin and Ron Paul doesn’t think Bitcoin is “real money” — What’s more exciting for Bitcoin? The Dogecon — the world’s first alt coin convention going off Next Friday April 25th in San Francisco — Gas Stations that should accept Bitcoin — especially given the excellent development of the Bitcoin accepting Gas Pump by hero engineer Andy Schroder — or Ron Paul, the old goldbug who doesn’t get it. The Revolution he always dreamed of right at hand and he can’t understand it because he’s too old to email. — Ron, the Doge or Gas Stations Should Accept Bitcoin, which is a more exciting development for Bitcoin? —
A report last night on Chinese news site Sina Weibo led to a panic in the bitcoin market. Bitcon prices fell from $590 to $540 on the false news, before recovering to $580.
Bitcoin is an easy currency to buy and sell quickly on the internet. It’s no surprise that its price is quickly and dramatically affected by news on the internet, either true or false. The price follows the news every time, and things get sorted out later when the truth or falsehood of a story is revealed. Hopefully this market will mature and won’t be so volatile.
Exit Question — What’s the price — next week?
I expect Bitcoin to continue trading in it’s current channel, around $600 USD.
Issue 2 — BTC China Launches Litecoin Trading Thanks to Lee Brothers
Brothers United! Litecoin and Bitcoin now available together on BTC China and with no fees! Regardless of negative rumors, Chinese Bitcoinmania continues. Will it continue? Will other altcoins be next?
Bitcoinmania will continue in China! The Chinese don’t have as many options for investment as people from other countries, but their population are mostly savers. Because of this, they’re always looking for an opportunity to park their money somewhere safe. That’s why real estate has been a popular option. Now, with more possibilities for cryptocurrency trading and investment, the mania will continue. I predict we’ll see popular coins like Dogecoin, Nxt, or Mastercoin coming to BTC China next.
Exit Question — What’s the next altcoin to be added by BTC China? What will the next mania be?
Dogecoin. It’s got a slightly higher market cap than the competition at $43M
Issue 3 — Fr33aid Bitcoin Stolen
Fr33aid.com — the Bitcoin charity that provided direct aid to the Philippeans following the Typhoon has been hit by a different typhoon. Hackers! They emptied the accounts, taking all 23.5 bitcoins. What did Fr33aid do wrong? What can organizations like Fr33aid do better?
Fr33Aid is one of my favorite charities. Their work has inspired me to get more involved in direct action. Their email got hacked, so their 2-factor authentication was turned off, but there are some things Fr33Aid could have done better. We can all learn from this unfortunate experience.
They could have used an alias that isn’t so easy to guess. They could check the box in their Blockchain.info wallet settings that disallows access from Tor exit nodes. The 2 IP addresses that were used to reset the 2-factor authentication and then stole the bitcoins were both Tor exit nodes.
Fortunately, Fr33Aid did many things right. They saved their private keys offline in a manner that was separate from the device used for accessing the wallet. That enabled them to access the more recent donations they received.
Exit Question — Please donate to Fr33aid.com and help them recover from this loss. So far more than 1.8 Bitcoins have been raised to help Fr33aid through this tough time. I’m told in the future they plan to store their bitcoins securely — on paper.
I’ve made many donations to Fr33Aid in the past, and I’ll be glad to make many more donations in the future. If people aren’t familiar with the work they are doing to heal the world, please look into Fr33Aid.com
Issue 4 — Mt. Gox “finds” 200,000 Bitcoins
Ahhh, remember the other day when you reached in your couch cushions and found 200,000 Bitcoins worth more than $114 million dollars? A similar situation just happened to Mt. Gox — 200,000 of the 850,000 missing bitcoins have been recovered. Additionally their leaked trading database had it’s first of what will no doubt be many statistical analysis and they’re allowing users to login to view their now worthless balances. Your thoughts on the continuing Gox Situation?
How do coins get found? This whole situation stinks to me. Initially I had said it seemed to me like the government seized the coins in a civil forfeiture and then called for a gag order. Why can’t we get any clear answers? Something isn’t right.
Exit Question — Which phrase catches on and has real staying power — “getting goxed” or “doing a Karpeles”?
“Getting Goxed”. It’s shorter, it kind of sounds like a curse word, and Gox has been in the headlines. Karpeles not as much.
Favorite Story / Prediction:
Sean’s Outpost Celebrated its 1 year anniversary of accepting bitcoin! In that time, it’s been able to serve 60,000 meals. It’s also been able to purchase 9 acres of land, paid for in bitcoin, where the homeless can wash, eat, and sleep, far away from being bothered by police. They even use a dedicated Dogecoin account to feed the dogs of the homeless. Go Sean’s Outpost! Go Crypto!
Today I added Dogecoin and Namecoin to the list of crypto-currencies Peace News Now accepts. PNN is 100% viewer-sponsored and always has been since its inception in 2012. Please help to keep the message of peace pumping through the internet and airwaves by consistently opening your crypto-wallet to send a micropayment whenever you enjoy a blogpost or podcast. Until I can either get a PC or a Namecoin wallet that can work on a Mac, I am sending all of PNN’s Namecoin donations to the good folks at MeowBit.com for a very important project involving internet freedom. Thank you, if you’re one of the people who makes Peace News Now possible.
A reporter named Golan, from a blog called New Digital Money wanted to interview me regarding this year’s prospects for bitcoin. Here is a copy of my responses to his questions:
1. What will 2014 be for cryptocurrencies?
2014 will be a defining year for crypto currencies. The Texas Bitcoin Conference is already kicking off with huge success right now. Techies and investors are talking about ways to innovate bitcoin and make it easier for the masses to use. The BitShares Developer’s Conference in July will be host to another round of super-nerds gathering to compete on projects that use the block chain technology in new and imaginative ways. If I can use an example from recent history, 2014 will be like the year everyone got AOL on dial-up and could suddenly access the internet. The mainstream crowd could now access what was formerly a game for nerds. The nerds will continue to innovate in ways these people can’t see coming, because what they’re building more closely resembles the internet of today, with HTML5. 2014 will see bitcoin come into its own, adopted more into the mainstream, and set the stage for 2015, when people will be ready to embrace block chain technology to solve other real-world problems, such as escrow and encrypted email services.
2. Exchange services help or hurt cryptocurrencies?
Exchange services help crypto-currencies. They provide a market for people to trade for things they want. The more places people can buy and sell what they want, the more liquid the currencies. Liquidity is key for any market. Blockchain.info’s recent acquisition of a Real Time Trading Platform will spell good news for exchanges this year. Hopefully we’ll see a leveling out of the volatility when more price information is aggregated in one place.
3. Are (or will) cryptocurrencies in war with international cooperatives?
Cryptocurrencies are not at war with anyone or any thing. They simply exist as a tool for exchanging value, and people find them useful. War would imply some sort of aggressive force, such as the force required to compel people to pay taxes. No such force exists in any crypto currency created to date. All crypto currencies of which I am aware are traded on a purely voluntary basis. Therefore, the only people who use them are people who believe they are better off for doing so.
4. Is there a way to reassure governments that Bitcoin is not an enemy? If so, how?
I wouldn’t try to reassure governments that bitcoin is not an enemy. It may be, in some respects. It returns control over their money to the people. It gives individuals the freedom to send money to any other individual without being obstructed by laws or borders. Governments exist to control people, and bitcoin gives people an escape from some of those controls. Bitcoin is even more of an existential threat to governments than most people realize because 1) it is a sound currency introduced into a world of doomed fiat currency, and 2) the block chain technology will empower individuals to depend on code rather than individuals. Trust in many traditional ways will become obsolete, and with it, trust in politicians, lawyers, and bankers, too.
5. Who would you like to see (portrait) next to the Bitcoin logo (from any time in history)?
I don’t want to see an person’s face next to the Bitcoin logo. I trust in the soundness of the code and cryptography, not in individuals.
People think that the explosion in the number of “alt-coins” is a bad thing, but I say give me more! Each new alt-coin offers something different, building on the designs of their predecessors, and going through the endless trial and error of serving a market. Do crypto users want digital money with proof of work, or proof of stake? Questions like these may seem technical today, but this is how we describe the different features offered by the different currencies.
Unlike paper money, code-able money is an instrument, a tool that can be upgraded. It can be re-tooled and improved. All of this can be done without anyone having to turn in their old notes and get issued new ones. It’s an entirely new way to think about money, and in some ways, it’s old. It used to be that anyone could issue bank notes and trade them as currency. The banks with solid business practices thrived, while the banks with poor habits or little utility failed. Saying there are too many coins would be worse than saying there are too many flavors of ice cream, it is to cut off the possibility of ever innovating ice-cream into a sandwich or a root-beer float. The next big innovation in blockchain technology will come from experimentation in the alt-coin realm.
The magazine, which returned to print this week, returned to news stands with the impressive headline: “Bitcoin’s Face: The Mystery Man Behind the Crypto-Currency“. The author, Leah McGrath Goodman, claims she followed the trail all the way to the end, and found the elusive creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto. What do you think?
It turns out, Miss Goodman discovered, that Satoshi used his real full name on the bitcointalk.org forums. That’s odd for a guy who values his privacy. Oh, and he called the cops on the reporter when she wanted to come speak to him. That tells you he’s not afraid to have his name and house associated with a police report about bitcoin.
Satoshi’s supposed house
And while Ms Goodman’s article reads like a cheesy novella thriller, it actually lacks the type of compelling evidence that would seal the deal for crypto-junkies. Proof in the age of bitcoin means showing a signed message on the genesis block or some blocks known to belong to Satoshi.
Whether or not this reporter actually found what she was looking for is in dispute, but Gavin Anderson, lead developer for the Bitcoin team, tweeted his regret.
Reddit is abuzz with speculation with regard to the authenticity of these claims. Many are quick to point out that no definitive proof yet exists that can link this man to Satoshi’s known online identity. But why would Satoshi reveal himself? He must know that producing a figurehead for the currency will put him in the line of sights for angry governments disrupted by the blockchain technology. Some of the top comments on Reddit suggest “doxing” Ms Goodman as retribution.
However Ms Goodman has little to lose and everything to gain by becoming the focal point of hater nerd rage. People will buy Newsweek’s new print edition for its novelty and catchy cover story, television news will be talking about this for a few days, and the internet will be talking about this article for weeks. Whether or not it’s true, it will succeed as click-bait and as a story that everyone is talking about. Until the real identity of Satoshi is revealed with indisputable proof, I’m skeptical of the claim.
Yesterday I had the great pleasure of sitting down to talk with Jay Noone, a volunteer firefighter, tax resister, and freedom-to-travel activist based in Massachusetts. In the second hour, I spoke with Michael W Dean about the freedom of the internet and how MeowBit is making it easier to achieve.
Part 1: Jay Noone on Social Security Numbers and beating traffic tickets in court
Part 2: Michael W Dean on the future of internet freedom
http://meowbit.com/ MeowBit is Free Software for Windows that allows you to effortlessly view Dot-Bit websites. It works on your entire system: ALL browsers, plus e-mail, instant messenger, FTP, everything on your computer.