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Poker table with Bitcoin symbol, symbolizing unlawful trade

Bitcoin’s Four Drivers: Part One – Unlawful Trade

85

Swarm Economy

Swarm Economy

Bitcoin stands to streamline the world’s unlawful trade. This is one of its four key drivers, providing an almost-perfect anonymity, untraceability and laundrability — at least, it is leaps and bounds above anything else available today.

It is certainly not hard to have opinions on a technology that stands to streamline gambling, drug trade, and arms trade. But the facts stand — when people want to hide an activity from government, and are given a technology that enables them to do so, then it is very likely that those people will use the technology to hide that activity.

BITCOIN’S FOUR DRIVERS
This is an article in a series on what Falkvinge identifies as Bitcoin’s four drivers. This is the first article, on unlawful trade. The others are international trade, merchant trade, and investment (coming July 5).

So isn’t this unlawful trade… well… bad?

The ramifications for society are huge, and not necessarily entirely negative. Like I wrote before, who are congresspeople, senators, and members of parliaments to determine what other people may trade with each other? They took that right to themselves, inheriting it to themselves from the previous monarchies — they were never given it by anyone. When the masses have a means to circumvent these enforced opinions, I would not be surprised if people started to ignore these self-granted legislator’s edicts en masse to make them effectively unenforceable.

I think Bitcoin and cryptocurrency stands to challenge and has the potential to topple the very notion of unlawful trade, just like the printing press challenged and toppled the notion of unlawful speech.

Think about that for a moment. We stand at a point in time where the law can be reigned in substantially by the development of technology.

And let’s not forget to compare regulated and free speech in retrospect: although free speech means we have to put up with a whole lot of nonsense, lies, and American Idol in this age, I think few would argue that it wasn’t worth it. At the time when regulated speech was challenged, people were not so sure; radical ideas were chopped off quickly. So were heads.

In any case, arguing whether technical developments are good or bad is a quite pointless endeavor. One might as well discuss whether it’s good or bad that blueberries grow in the forest. At the end of the day, they won’t care but keep on growing anyway.

Growth potential

Let’s push moral issues aside a bit and look a things from a purely economic perspective instead. It is undisputably a driver for Bitcoin, after all, so let’s not get ourselves occupied whether we like its color or not. I outlined a bit of Bitcoin’s growth potential in this field in my post where I described why I invested in Bitcoin.

Between 5% and 30% of the world’s money supply of about 75 terabucks are in circulation to support unlawful trade. The guesstimates vary due to the nature of the subject. Let’s assume 5%, and then let’s move on to guesstimate that 10% of those 5% is in high-tech trade that would be early adopters of Bitcoin (the kind of merchants capable of building intercontinental undetectable submarines).

Let’s assume that these merchants move about one-sixth of their trade to Bitcoin over the coming years to explore it and use it for long-distance transactions. That would mean 15% of 10% of 5% of 75 terabucks enter the Bitcoin ecosystem, which comes down to about 60 gigabucks. The current value of Bitcoin in circulation is roughly 6.5 megacoins times 20 bucks, coming to about 120 megabucks.

Thus, the value used to trade in the Bitcoin ecosystem stands to multiply by about 500x in the next few couple of years — counting this uptake driver alone. Now, this doesn’t automatically mean that the value of one bitcoin will rise by 500x as the market is more complex than that, but it’s a good estimate of where we’re heading.

Next: international trade and merchant trade. Those uptake drivers are much, much larger (not to mention currently legal).

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About The Author: Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. He has a tech entrepreneur background and loves whisky.

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85

  1. #bitcoin has the potential to topple the NOTION of unlawful trade, just like printing press gave us free speech: http://is.gd/xCHEJM

  2. RT @Falkvinge: #bitcoin has the potential to topple the NOTION of unlawful trade, just like printing press gave us free speech: http://is.gd/xCHEJM

  3. RT @Falkvinge: #bitcoin has the potential to topple the NOTION of unlawful trade, just like printing press gave us free speech: http://is.gd/xCHEJM

  4. RT @Falkvinge: #bitcoin has the potential to topple the NOTION of unlawful trade, just like printing press gave us free speech: http://is.gd/xCHEJM

  5. RT @Falkvinge: #bitcoin has the potential to topple the NOTION of unlawful trade, just like printing press gave us free speech: http://is.gd/xCHEJM

  6. RT @Falkvinge: #bitcoin has the potential to topple the NOTION of unlawful trade, just like printing press gave us free speech: http://is.gd/xCHEJM

  7. RT @Falkvinge: #bitcoin has the potential to topple the NOTION of unlawful trade, just like printing press gave us free speech: http://is.gd/xCHEJM

  8. RT @Falkvinge: #bitcoin has the potential to topple the NOTION of unlawful trade, just like printing press gave us free speech: http://is.gd/xCHEJM

  9. RT @Falkvinge: #bitcoin has the potential to topple the NOTION of unlawful trade, just like printing press gave us free speech: http://is.gd/xCHEJM

  10. RT @Falkvinge: #bitcoin has the potential to topple the NOTION of unlawful trade, just like printing press gave us free speech: http://is.gd/xCHEJM

  11. Bitcoin’s Four Drivers: Part One – Unlawful Trade http://is.gd/xCHEJM [what I like of @falkvinge: the less politically correct politician]

  12. RT @Falkvinge: #bitcoin has the potential to topple the NOTION of unlawful trade, just like printing press gave us free speech: http://is.gd/xCHEJM

  13. 15

    #bitcoin has the potential to topple the NOTION of unlawful trade, just like printing press gave us free speech: http://is.gd/xCHEJM

  14. 16
    Brazos

    Things have happened: Bitcoins sent last 24h 5,808,172.00 BTC

    That number can be wrong. If not then is very powerful.

  15. 18

    Falkvinge: Bitcoin’s Four Drivers: Part One – Unlawful Trade http://bit.ly/ltZd7z

  16. 19

    #bitcoin has the potential to topple the NOTION of unlawful trade just like printing press gave us free speech http://t.co/k9FkC4L < awesome

  17. 20

    Bitcoin’s Four Drivers: Part One – Unlawful Trade http://is.gd/xCHEJM [what I like of @falkvinge: the less politically correct politician]

  18. 21

    > Things have happened: Bitcoins sent last 24h 5,808,172.00 BTC. That number can be wrong. If not then is very powerful.

    It’s highly misleading. All of it is a big long chain starting from this.

    http://blockexplorer.com/tx/8ed9092f3fa0b6844103545dce5ab3d7b8f2ab8ab509f764a64511cfc10a496e

    It’s really a 50000 BTC transaction, it just got artificially expanded because of the way change works – if you get 50000 BTC from one transaction and send 50 BTC, the transaction gets listed as (input) 50000, (output 1) 50, (output 2) 49950, the 49950 going to a new address created that your wallet controls. Thus, transaction volume really doesn’t say much except as a long term measure.

  19. 22
    ForFreedom

    Oh well, so the first “driver” is … wait for it … to facilitate criminal activity! Great! If that happens then governments couldn’t hope for a better and more powerful excuse to essentially shut it down (and yes, it can be shut down, make exchanges/markets illegal and you can kiss bitcoin goodbye on any meaningful scale).

    I do not necessarily claim that facilitating “criminal activity” is always a bad thing, governments always criminalize anything that threatens their power. The point is that if it gets marginalized in that way, it looses the war for public opinion and therefore widespread adoption and is easily attacked by gov without substantial opposition because most people consider it justified.

    The only way to make Bitcoin successful is to make best effort to adopt non-controversial uses as its primary function. Of course it’s going to attract criminal activity because of its properties but this should be widely resisted for the sake of PR until it gets established as a legitimate currency.

    All these ideological rants about how trade should be free of government interference no matter what is going to be useless when it gets successfully marginalized in the eyes of the public. Please, keep a little longer term vision and see the wider picture … we need strategy to make this successful, not shortsighted knee-jerk ideological outbursts.

    Unless visible non-controversial uses of Bitcoin outnumber the controversial/illegal ones at least 10:1 it has no chance of success. It’s going to be tough PR war even without illegal markets, it’s practically impossible with open support of them.

    • 22.1
      Rick Falkvinge

      Unless visible non-controversial uses of Bitcoin outnumber the controversial/illegal ones at least 10:1 it has no chance of success

      Um, kind of like file sharing?

      • 22.1.1
        ForFreedom

        So you call all the draconian laws, arrests, raids, enormous fines for sharing a song with your friends, censorship tools, disconnections from the net and similar things to come a “success”?

        I guess you could call it that if you’re an oppressive regime looking for convenient excuses to clamp down on internet freedom. Seriously, there is nothing “successful” to the current situation with file-sharing. Yes, it is hard to stop – the more of a reason to enact even more draconian laws in the eyes of gov and they’re quite successful. This is no path to take …

        The example of file-sharing actually exactly goes to show my point, that’s exactly the fate of Bitcoin if most of its use is illegal. No legitimate merchant is going to touch it because of its association with that, big sites – exchanges/markets will get hunted down and shut down just like trackers and p2p sites are. Only those willing to risk arrest will provide any bigger services. In the process a lot of laws will get enacted that criminalize virtual currencies in general, that’s going to be tragedy as once enacted they’re virtually impossible to repeal – is this your great vision for Bitcoin?

        Add to that that Bitcoin is much more vulnerable because of inherent need for more trust and centralization than bittorrent and it becomes just an underground curiosity perceived as a currency of criminals by the general public – bravo! I do not think that’s what we want … the point where it gets marginalized to the extent that file-sharing is, we can call RIP Bitcoin.

        I really do not understand this fixation on illegal and criminal uses when there are so many non-controversial great uses of decentralized digital currency. And to list it as a first great “driver” is really just dumb thing to do no matter what one actually thinks of such uses.

        Read that article after yourself and ask who are you really helping by writing it? It’s perfect reference for anybody who wants to shut it down to cite and show why it should be shut down. Think about it, why not rather encourage non-controversial uses? Why start with criminals? I don’t get it Rick, there is a campaign to associate Bitcoin with criminals – and you’re playing right into that … whether consciously or not you’re preparing a ground for its downfall.

        Please reconsider your approach. Thanks.

      • 22.1.2
        Misha2Kota

        100% agree with ForFreedom.

        File sharing is in fact ridiculously criminalized in most countries right because its technological superiority over attempts to control and thus illegal usage gives the authorities excuses they want. And this is a major PR battle, not ONLY a matter of technology.

        In the long run (decades?) I think things will inevitably go their right way regardless of current state and ridiculous laws, But in the long run, as Keyenes said, we are all dead.

      • 22.1.3
        Rick Falkvinge

        Misha2Kota, ForFreedom:

        Then do like me, rally political support, and have the laws changed — or at a minimum, make technoluddite politicians feel the heat under their feet and the threat of not being reelected.

        That threat works remarkably well.

      • 22.1.4
        Rick Falkvinge

        You should never fear the law, nor those who seek to bind you. Only you yourself can accept limits.

      • 22.1.5
        Misha2Kota

        I sure will support you and guys like you. But I am and advanced computer geek and you’ve got my support by default unless you really screw something up.

        At the same time, regular folks are very very easily brainwashed, and you shouldn’t easily give even more opportunities to do that. Currently I live in the USA, and here when somebody hears the word ‘BitTorrent’, the logical reaction is to call the police.

      • 22.1.6
        Stefan

        Big difference though:
        People get pissed off at how the governments act regarding file sharing. How would people react if the governments would act in a similar manner when the people will _lose_ their money if the gov does so?

        I don’t lose any money if a bittorrent tracker gets shut down. Taking a huge chunk of my life savings from me is a totally different matter… Which most likely is what the situation would be for a lot of people by the time the governments see BC as a problem.

      • 22.1.7
        ForFreedom

        “Then do like me, rally political support, and have the laws changed — or at a minimum, make technoluddite politicians feel the heat under their feet and the threat of not being reelected.”

        I totally agree with that and that’s what I’m doing. The issue here is the methods and strategy one uses. I would never follow this blog if I didn’t agree with what you said above.

        The point is that encouraging and advocating for/supporting criminal uses of an emerging technology can be hardly considered as rallying political support, wouldn’t you agree? It’s the exact opposite … and that’s what I raised in my comments, the kind of articles like this one hurt adoption, provide excuses to act against it and damage public opinion – the exact opposite of what we want and what you yourself just written. Advocating for hard core black market is no way to have the laws change – or at least surely not in the direction we would want.

    • 22.2

      I’m pretty sure the non-controversial portions are coming in parts two and three. Wait for those.

      My first instinct is that maybe the illegal stuff shouldn’t have been part one, just purely for PR reasons, but I don’t know exactly where Rick’s going with this, so maybe it’ll make sense as a whole.

      • 22.2.1
        ForFreedom

        “PR reasons” are the entire point of my comments so yes. As I said – no matter what is your opinion of particular illegal uses, it is dumb to openly advocate for them (unless public opinion is overwhelmingly on your side which it certainly isn’t in this case).

        After reading pieces like this, accepting Bitcoin can be perceived as support for such philosophy and illegal uses -> no merchant can afford that kind of publicity -> we loose.

    • 22.3
      jaime

      100% agree with this comment

  20. RT @falkvinge Bitcoin’s Four Drivers: Part One – Unlawful Trade http://is.gd/xCHEJM #bitcoin #gambling

  21. RT @Falkvinge: #bitcoin has the potential to topple the NOTION of unlawful trade, just like printing press gave us free speech: http://is.gd/xCHEJM

  22. Falkvinge :: Bitcoin’s Four Drivers: Part One – Unlawful Trade http://is.gd/xCHEJM #BitCoin #money #cash #crime

  23. 23
    Well, really?

    “who are congresspeople, senators, and members of parliaments to determine what other people may trade with each other? They took that right to themselves, inheriting it to themselves from the previous monarchies — they were never given it by anyone.”

    Well, really? Aren’t the members of parliaments, like, elected? By the people?

    Outlawing of certain trades is (at least in a part) due to the fact that the people wants it that way.

    • 23.1
      Rick Falkvinge

      I’m sure you can think of a law that Congress or Parliament is not allowed to make today, but that was reality 200 or maybe just 50 years ago.

      • 23.1.1
        Dave

        What do you mean? Parliaments in democracies today have been given the right to make laws from the people of the country. They haven’t taken “that right to themselves” and what happened 50 or 200 years ago is irrelevant. If drugs are illegal it’s because several tens of percents of the people in the country think they should be.

        Of course you can have an argument if 40 or 60 or 80 percent of the people should have the right to forbid the rest to do things they like to, but that’s still far from “inheriting it to themselves from the previous monarchies” or such other crap. Very strange view on modern democracies on your part.

      • 23.1.2
        zomg

        Democracy is bullshit, nothing new.
        I didn’t give anyone right to put me in jail for trading.

  24. RT @Falkvinge: #bitcoin has the potential to topple the NOTION of unlawful trade, just like printing press gave us free speech: http://is.gd/xCHEJM

  25. 24
    Bitman

    My prediction: Bitcoin will have its niche but will not go main stream. Because it still need to be converted to “real currency” to determine its own “real” value. It has no intrinsic value of its own but a derived one.

    Also, because of its controlled rarity (mining), its going to pose HUGE liquidity problems to support micro-transactions in a big way due in part to deflation and unstable Bitcoin exchange market pricing due to speculation (speculators love BIG bets)

    • 24.1
      Stefan

      No normal currency has its own non-derived value these days. Or do you mean something else? What’s the value of 1 USD, apart from people agreeing that it’s actually worth 1 USD?

      • 24.1.1
        Bitman

        Thats a Fiat currency (legal tender) guranteed by the US government, that its worth (value) is what it’s stated on the paper its printed on.

      • 24.1.2
        Rick Falkvinge

        Bitman: That was before 1971, when you could trade in your US dollars for gold. Specifically, 35 dollars for an ounce of gold. That’s long gone.

      • 24.1.3
        Dave

        Rick: No, the other way around. Now, the USD is guaranteed by the US government and the US economy. Which you may or may not trust.

        The old gold standard is, well, old. It’s a part of an old paradigm that very few believe in. Only a small group of right-wing nuts, actually.

      • 24.1.4
        Bitman

        Please don’t confuse Fiat currency with Gold. The gold standard (Fixed at 35 USD) was for INTERNATIONAL currency trade settlement among trading nations. The GOLD standard was abandoned in favour of Floating rate.

      • 24.1.5
        Don Kongo

        Here’s the interesting part: the US government may guarantee that the bill is worth what is printed on it, say 1 USD – but that only means it’s worth whatever 1 USD is worth. Not that it will always be worth what you sold to get it. If 1 USD becomes (practically) worthless, then the government guarantees nothing more than that your bill worthless.

        Governments does do a bit more though, they do try to keep the value of the currency somewhat stable by controlling rates and whatnot, but they do not guarantee any specific value.

        Which means, in the end, that it’s exactly like BitCoins, it only have the value we all kinda agree that it has. Just like everything else. It varies a lot, and we do change our minds a lot, an it’s all open to manipulation, but in the end, anything is worth what we think it’s worth.

        It’s really a very easy concept.

  26. 25
    Shiver

    I think it’s going to fly, but I do think it will be many years before it’s mainstream and no longer a geek thing.

    If they tried to make it illegal there would be a huge backlash. If proBTC people joined an organisation like http://www.avaaz.org which currently has about 9.3million members at the time of writing, and could persuade them to run one of their very successful campaigns, not only would it help bitcoin, it would dramatically boost avaaz, which would in turn give the people more voice on other issues.

    Anyhow, the use of Namecoin and Tor to name just two things would make legality irrelevant, as it would likely become a parallel economy. I think the Linux adoption curve would be a reasonable comparison. Windows isn’t dead, but there’s a very healthy alternative out there in Linux, and corporations have adopted it to a degree.

    • 25.1
      Rick Falkvinge

      GNU/Linux is a good comparison. It’s the #1 operating system now (via its Android incarnation).

    • 25.2
      Bitman

      Of course Bitcoin is illegal as a currency anywhere in the world. It has not gained legal recognition nor protection (no legal recourse if one is scammed, like if MtGox decided to shut down one day and run away with all its clients money). So the stake is high. Its the gamblers terrain. Thread with caution.

      Any government may not like Bitcoin. For one thing, it cannot be controlled. For another, it’s not taxable. BUT they may use it themselves to move their Stash Funds around anonymously !

      • 25.2.1
        Dave

        Why can’t one have legal protection if one is scammed or otherwise stolen from? Isn’t theft of *anything* that has value illegal? Physical assets, virtual assets, in-game assets, intellectual property assets, all currencies, bonds… Its even illegal to steal things that have no apparent value.

      • 25.2.2
        Bitman

        Of course you have your legal rights to sue and be sued by others who have caused you harm or make you suffer a financial loss.

        Now, consider this case: you lost financially trading “illegal” Bitcoin currency. In most countries, counterfeiting currency is a crime.

        I am not a lawyer, but I believe many laws are out of sync with digital technology (other than Patent and IP Laws) and may treat virtual currency as “counterfeit” money. So if you try to sue the scammers or its promoters you may end up being prosecuted by the authorities for illegal trading in “counterfeit” currency.

      • 25.2.3
        Bitman

        Am I jumping the gun. Read the following news article by the Guardian, UK: Headline

        ” LulzSec rogue suspected of Bitcoin hack
        More than $9m of online currency was stolen in weekend attack on Bitcoin currency exchange that could cost members of Anonymous and LulzSec thousands of dollars each”
        by James Ball of guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 22 June 2011 21.25 BST

        Now let me quotes some relevant parts : ” Late on Sunday MtGox was compromised when a hacker tried to sell more than 400,000 Bitcoins – 6% of all the virtual currency presently in circulation – for an initial price of $17.50 each, which would have netted $7m at a constant price. … MtGox says access to its site was gained after a financial auditor’s computer was hacked, and insists its site was not compromised.

        But Amir Taaki, who runs the rival Bitcoin exchange Britcoin.co.uk, disputes this chain of events. Developers working on his site, which runs on much of the same software as MtGox, found a security hole several days before the hack was carried out. He says MtGox was notified publicly and privately of the problem.

        “Due to the recent events at MtGox.com, we at Britcoin have decided to move our servers to a new location,” read a Britcoin statement. “MtGox suffered an SQL injection [a form of hacking attack that creates direct access to databases and files] which means access to the site’s funds were in the hands of the malicious hacker. As such, until we see evidence to the contrary, for security reasons we are assuming that MTGox has none of its clients’ Bitcoins.” ”

        Now, it would be interesting to know whether the clients will be able to legally claim their loss for Mt. Cox. This is the real (deal) test case. Time will tell.

      • 25.2.4
        Scary Devil Monastery

        “Of course Bitcoin is illegal as a currency anywhere in the world.”

        No, that isn’t the way it works. Any form of quid pro quo is completely legal as long as the goods or service being exchanged is legal in itself.

        Bitcoin has no guarantee by a vested government. That’s all.

        Since whatever is not explicitly forbidden is explicitly allowed people can still legally invest “real” money in Bitcoin today.

        “no legal recourse if one is scammed, like if MtGox decided to shut down one day and run away with all its clients money).”

        Not quite right there either. Fraud is fraud and the law honestly doesn’t care whether you invested your money into apples, stock bonds or another form of currency. MtGox can run away with your money? Yes, but so can your local banker and any online service you pay for.

        If anything Bitcoin actually provides better security than what your own credit card company does.

  27. RT @Falkvinge: #bitcoin has the potential to topple the NOTION of unlawful trade, just like printing press gave us free speech: http://is.gd/xCHEJM

  28. RT @Falkvinge: #bitcoin has the potential to topple the NOTION of unlawful trade, just like printing press gave us free speech: http://is.gd/xCHEJM

  29. RT @Falkvinge: #bitcoin has the potential to topple the NOTION of unlawful trade, just like printing press gave us free speech: http://is.gd/xCHEJM

  30. RT @Falkvinge: #bitcoin has the potential to topple the NOTION of unlawful trade, just like printing press gave us free speech: http://is.gd/xCHEJM

  31. RT @Falkvinge: #bitcoin has the potential to topple the NOTION of unlawful trade, just like printing press gave us free speech: http://is.gd/xCHEJM

  32. RT @Falkvinge: #bitcoin has the potential to topple the NOTION of unlawful trade, just like printing press gave us free speech: http://is.gd/xCHEJM

  33. 26
    Mark

    There is no such thing as ‘unlawful trade’. There is only illegal trade. Unlawful refers to the ancient law-of-the-land in western countries (and others), and is brought to life in acts of Parliaments such as Crimes Act 1958 (Australia). To break the law of the land, or these covering acts, you have to hurt someone physically, steal, or commit fraud in your contractual agreements, Legality is subject of contractual agreement between the consenting citizen’s legal entity and the State. Therefore, if you call yourself a citizen of a particular state, you are consenting to the statutes (corporate policy) of that state. If the trade of cow dung is decreed illegal in the contract by acts of parliament, then you are breaking the contract by selling cow dung. This is illegal under the contract, but not unlawful in the law of the land. I bring this distinction up because it is an old chestnut in the law society, and the ambiguity is important to keep all the citizens thinking that they MUST consent to these statutes.

  34. 27
    Mark

    Clarification: It is unlawful as far as it seen as breaking the contract.

  35. RT @Falkvinge: #bitcoin has the potential to topple the NOTION of unlawful trade, just like printing press gave us free speech: http://is.gd/xCHEJM

  36. 28
    PoulGrym

    @Falkvinge: It’s interesting that already SweClockers.com is acting on believing bitcoins are breaking the Swedish law. Thus suspending users whom suggests for miners to send there bitcoins to family and friends. Telling them the suspension reason is suggestions to tax fraud.

    Are you Mr.Falkvinge by converting most of your money in the bank to bitcoins committing tax fraud? What does the law say?

    • 28.1
      Rick Falkvinge

      I think SweClockers are misguided in this case.

      First, nothing is tax fraud as long as you tell the tax authorities what you did. Absolutely nothing. This is the most important part.

      Second, it is an investment like any other. When you convert it back to SEK, you pay a capital gains tax on your profit, if any; nominally 30%. Seen this way, it is no different from buying a Picasso that appreciates in value. Or perhaps a rare garbage can. No difference.

      Third, there is no tax on gifts in Sweden. Calling gifts tax fraud is just misinformed.

      Fourth, the interesting part comes if BTC really succeeds, and you never convert it back but use it directly for currency. It is possible that the capital gains tax doesn’t trigger in this case, as you never realize your profits — at least not in the way the tax code envisioned. It was not written for the case that a new currency may partially replace SEK. What would the tax authorities say if you were trading a Picasso painting for a rare garbage can? How about BTC for food?

    • 28.2

      Sweclockers.com must really hate their users. They should learn that they are not the police and not a court.

  37. 29
    Reply-Reply

    Rick, thank you for helping to frack up the BTC image even more.
    Good job! Well done.

  38. RT @falkvinge Bitcoin’s Four Drivers: Part One – Unlawful Trade http://is.gd/xCHEJM #bitcoin #gambling

  39. RT @falkvinge Bitcoin’s Four Drivers: Part One – Unlawful Trade http://is.gd/xCHEJM #bitcoin #gambling

  40. 30

    You said: “Let’s push moral issues aside a bit and look a things from a purely economic perspective instead.”

    This sentense seem to imply that economics is immoral. Also what purpose does it serv to push “moral issue aside” in any discussion ?

  41. 31
    Dean

    Silver reserves served to enhance the Manhatthan project……Gold provides good insulation in the vacuum of space,……Electronics and Materials Science applications of the future depend on mining in the real world……texture,smell and physical space won’t be converting anytime soon..Gases propel the universe……….matter shapes the outcome……….if I can’t see it,hold it……….or fold it…….I don’t mould it!!!

  42. 32
    Ola

    Rick, if I could give you a firm handshake, I would. One day our world may remember you for this. Let the liberation of the masses begin.

  43. 34
    Elmo

    Arguing that governments have no right to control trade since they only inherited this right from monarchies who acquired it by force is a very hypocritical way of defending free trade of private property. This is the case because private property is just as much a time-honored institution which is ultimately and historically based on brute force and cannot be legitimized simply through being passed on from generation to generation. The inception of private property has just as little (if not less) basis in an overall societal decision as does governmental control of trade.

  44. 35
    Magnus

    Related. I once had a discussion with someone who argued for a cashless society, this person also was a bank employee. I asked him: Why do you argue for your own unemployment? He did not understand of course, so i had to explain.. If banks do not handle cash, only digital money, then we do not need banks any more since it is all about sending bits over the net. That kind of work is what IT companies are good at, not banks. Then i asked him if he was taking classes in programming.. he was not.

    Bitcoin may or may not be the future, but banks are infact doing what they can to make them self superfluous, putting them self on the waste dump of history. They do this in several ways, even alienating their own customers, with a mix of fear and greed as the driving force.

  45. [...] as Bitcoin’s four drivers. This is the third article, on merchant trade. The others are unlawful trade, international trade, and investment (coming July [...]

  46. [...] as Bitcoin’s four drivers. This is the second article, on international trade. The others are unlawful trade, merchant trade, and investment (coming July [...]

  47. [...] identifies as Bitcoin’s four drivers. This is the fourth article, on investment. The others are unlawful trade, international trade, and merchant [...]

  48. 36
    michael

    Would you please consider changing the mega and giga bucks to million and billion, etc? It’d make your, otherwise great, articles more accessible to the general public. Heck, I’d share this with others, but there’s no way I’m going to when they’ll think I’m also that geeky. lol Sorry. Otherwise, these articles on bitcoin have been been great to read! A well thought out series.

  49. [...] it is a reasonable enough number to be in the right ballpark. Based on my four earlier estimates (one, two, three, four), I think it is reasonable that bitcoin captures a 1% to 10% market share of this [...]

  50. [...] it is a reasonable enough number to be in the right ballpark. Based on my four earlier estimates (one, two, three, four), I think it is reasonable that bitcoin captures a 1% to 10% market share of this [...]

  51. […] it is a reasonable enough number to be in the right ballpark. Based on my four earlier estimates (one, two, three, four), I think it is reasonable that bitcoin captures a 1% to 10% market share of […]

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