NYT on Bitcoin: Only "Criminals" Want Anonymous Cryptocurrency

Today at The New York Times online, under the headline "More Bitcoin Regulation Is Inevitable," this proclamation:

No one supports creating an anonymous bazaar for dealing in drugs and other illegal goods and services—except, perhaps, the criminals themselves.

While the rest of the piece is more or less boilerplate Bitcoin coverage, this is an odd interjection of the old "why do you need privacy if you have nothing to hide" canard. 

Bitcoin is technically psudenomyous, not anonymous, since there is a record of every transaction. But the idea that no one would want an additional layer privacy in their online purchases "except, perhaps, the criminals themselves," is odd.  

I talked about good reasons why ordinary people might want to keep information about what you're buying or selling private on Stossel awhile back:

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If you outlaw bitcoin then only outlaws will have bitcoins.

  • Almanian!||

    But only outlaws have Bitcoins NOW, right? So...

    I haz confuse.

  • Pavlov's Cat||

    They can have my bitcoins when they pry them from my cold dead computer!

    /hillbilly accent

  • ||

    I'm going to admit that at first glance I thought you wrote "if you outlaw bacon, then only Outback (Steakhouse) will have bacon."

    Since it didn't make any sense, I didn't question it.

  • Doctor Whom||

    How much personal financial information is Peter J. Henning going to post if the innocent have nothing to hide?

  • Pavlov's Cat||

    I like the anonymity of cash. I'm shocked so few others don't see it that way.

  • Rich||

    Beat me to it, PC.

    I fully expect to see cash outlawed before I snuff it.

  • GamerFromJump||

    Kinda weird that the so-called Communist country China runs mostly cash at the personal level.

  • R C Dean||

    That's the logical next question for the "But untraceable transactions are bad for law enforcement" line:

    "So, you favor getting rid of cash and outlawing cash transactions?"

    I'm sure I would be appalled by the number of people who would say yes, but I suspect most of the P. J. Hennings of the world just haven't thought it through. At all. And some of them might re-think. A few. OK, maybe a couple. Oh hell, never mind.

  • CE||

    Don't give them ideas.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Too late.

    Three percent is still too much if you ask Ulvaeus. A cashless society may seem like an odd cause for someone who made a fortune on "Money, Money, Money" and other ABBA hits, but for Ulvaeus it's a matter of security.

    After his son was robbed for the third time he started advocating a faster transition to a fully digital economy, if only to make life harder for thieves.

    "If there were no cash, what would they do?" says Ulvaeus, 66.
  • Cdr Lytton||

    Simon says http://fullyfilm.files.wordpre.....ionman.jpg

    (May not want to be eating while clicking on the link.)

  • AlmightyJB||

    There are two types of people. Bootlickers and criminals.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I often wonder how the NYT can suck up to the omnistate as hard as it does. But then when I picture it as an actual remora, it all makes sense.

  • ||

    I was thinking aardvark, but to each their own bestiality.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Too many Pink Panther cartoons as a child I presume.

  • ||

    You know, I never thought of that, but you might be on to something.

  • Rich||

    Transferring $1 million in cash to buy drugs in another country would be difficult because of the sheer bulk of that much money

    OTOH, transferring $1 million in cash to pay your federal income tax is simpler than using Bitcoin.

  • CE||

    It's not as bulky as you think. One million is only 10,000 Benjamins. Stack 500 together and it's only 20 stacks. I carry half that on weekends just for yard sales.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    So $848 close today?

    How do you fuckers buy a bitcoin? With Paypal?

  • R C Dean||

    I use Coinbase. Go to their website; they have instructions.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Hmm, not bad. I signed up and would have given you the $5 when applicable.

    So you can do fractional buys?

    Do you get a 1099 on gains?

    Thanks RC. You're a good egg.

  • R C Dean||

    So you can do fractional buys?

    No clue. I buy whole coins.

    Do you get a 1099 on gains?

    Beats me. You shouldn't on coins that you still own, as there is no realized gain on those. For coins that you have sold back? Dunno. Of course, if its a coin that you transferred in, they have no clue what you paid for it, so they couldn't issue a 1099. Which means I'll probably set up another account at another company and transfer my coins there when I'm ready to sell back.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    That is why I believe Coinbase insists on linking to a bank account - to report gains to.

    (I could be wrong)

  • SweatingGin||

    You can buy whatever fractional amounts you want. I have it do a scheduled buy of a fixed dollar amount regularly.

    Bank account is mostly for reversibility. It's essentially impossible to buy BTC with paypal or credit card, as those are reversible (and people saying you can are likely scammers).

    I've never sold back/traded, so I don't know how gains would go. There are exchanges for trading, too.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Ahh, now this is a reasonable comment (among others).

    May your shot glass remain full.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Why is the "buy" price only $807?

  • CE||

    Dealer mark-up.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    But the closing price was $848.

    It looks suspiciously like a dark trade.

  • SweatingGin||

    Oh, really isn't a close/open. It trades constantly world-wide.

  • Spiny Norman||

    "Psudenomyous" is my favorite new word.

  • Ken Shultz||

    If the left continues to insist on defining themselves as being against individual freedom on every issue, I think we should let them.

  • OldMexican||

    But the idea that no one would want an additional layer privacy in their online purchases "except, perhaps, the criminals themselves," is odd.


    The idea is indeed odd; however, the fact that these journalists entertain such notion tells you that they pretty much agree with Cass "Goebbels" Sustein's idea that someone who prefers more liberty to only some must be a "paranoid libertarian," so don't wonder too much why they would think only criminals would want to use Bitcoin (in my opinion, only fools would use it instead of cash, but that's the Austrian economist in me...)

    Anyway, Bitcoin provides just a pittance of additional anonymity but not enough to compete with straight cash.

  • Agammamon||

    I wouldn't think its got anything to do with whatever you do in the privacy of your own bedroom with Austrians.

    *I'm* distrustful of it simply because its (like all fiat currency) value is based solely on the trust that it will allow you to buy things in the future.

    The only reasons I prefer dollars is simply the longer history they have as a stable currency - a history bitcoin doesn't (can't yet) have.

    They aren't any more manipulatable than dollars (and in some was less so). But even government currency is only as good as the government backing it - see Venezuela, Argentina, Zimbabwe, Thailand, etc.

  • GILMORE||

    "No one supports creating an anonymous bazaar for dealing in drugs and other illegal goods and services—except, perhaps, the criminals themselves."

    OMG YOU MAKE SOMETHING ILLEGALS AND MAGICALLY YOU GET CRINIMALS DOING IT???

    Lets translate to what they really mean

    "No one supports creating Someone created! an anonymous bazaar for dealing in drugs and other illegal where goods and services are exchangedexcept, perhaps, the criminals themselves and that totally sucks because how is government supposed to regulate and tax activity like THAT!? holy shit its a nightmare for us top-down-economic-control-freaks, lets make it ILLEGALS! and call them all CRIMINALS! for a start... "

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Of course, if its a coin that you transferred in, they have no clue what you paid for it, so they couldn't issue a 1099. Which means I'll probably set up another account at another company and transfer my coins there when I'm ready to sell back.

    Nice.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Agammamon||

    Yes, because the local sparrows are just that dangerous.

  • Agammamon||

    In any case, needs more spikey bits.

  • Agammamon||

    Now I get all savantish - it covers exactly the parts of the cat that don't need to be covered. Needs to cover throat/neck, face/ears, chest, and forelegs.

  • np||

    ... scratch ... scratch.. what the.. goddamn humans!

    /cat

  • toasted||

    If an anonymous market is a tool for criminals then what is government?

  • toasted||

    If an anonymous market is a tool for criminals then what is government?

  • RishJoMo||

    Rock & Roll never forgets dude.

    www.Anon-Works.com

  • Todd Walton||

    Concerning this line: "Bitcoin is technically psudenomyous, not anonymous, since there is a record of every transaction."

    I think the word you meant was "pseudonymous". And also, I don't think having a record of the transaction implies pseudonymity. You'd have to be able to relate one transaction to another for pseudonymity.

  • GamerFromJump||

    If you don't want to be monitored at all times, you must be up to something. -- MonsterGov

  • Vampire||

    The dollar only survives by forcing an exchange partner to accept a media of exchange against their will through legal tender laws. When folks talk about the dollar being backed by the full faith and credit of the government I'm amazed at how sheep like their brain functions. Yet if I brought Monopoly money with me, and asked that person to sell their house in exchange for the those Milton Bradley dollars, they would refuse. So what changes when I bring 535 politicians with me? Suddenly it is magically backed by them and the new law they had written. So all of the sudden they're magically exchangeable.

    The biggest criminals are the politicians and the central banks. Free individuals would have abandoned the dollar (and other fiat currencies) long ago. Politicians like FDR made sure to threaten folks in order to steal their gold. For they and the bankers will do everything they can to preserve their beloved paper, and that includes using violence.

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