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Venezuelan Police Arrest Eight Bitcoin Miners in Two Weeks, and the Country's Leading Bitcoin Exchange Suspends Operations

Authorities uncover a warehouse with 11,000 mining computers drawing enough electricity "to power a whole town."

Venezuelan police have arrested eight bitcoin miners in the last two week, and the country's leading bitcoin exchange announced yesterday that it's suspending operations because its bank account was revoked. The recent spate of incidents is causing members of the country's bitcoin community to take new measures to conceal their activities.

Yesterday the Policía Nacional Bolivariana (PNB) announced that two men identified as Adan Erick Tapia Salas, 37, and Edwald Antonio Tapia Salas, 31, were arrested in Caracas. PNB officers caught the two men through the online marketplace MercadoLibre, where they were attempting to sell bitcoin mining equipment. Bitcoin mining and the buying and selling of computer equipment isn't illegal in Venezuela, and it's not clear if the authorities have filed formal charges in the case.

In a separate incident, the PNB raided a warehouse in the city of Valencia last Friday with 11,000 bitcoin mining computers. They arrested Eusebio Gómez Henríquez, 51, and Andrés Alejandro Carrero Martínez, 35, who were accused of cybercrime, financing terrorism, stealing electricity, and exchange fraud.

An official statement linked the two men to a criminal network operating from PolanTwo bitcoin miners arrested in Venezuela ||| Policía Nacional Bolivariana (PNB)Policía Nacional Bolivariana (PNB)d. As the Venezuelan bitcoin news site CriptoNoticias reports, apparently the basis for this claim is that many of the discovered mining computers were purchased from a Polish seller, who advertised them through the online forum BitcoinTalk in August of 2015.

One of the arrested miners, Andrés Carrero, attended Miami Dade College and worked on and off in commercial real estate sales in the Miami area for over a decade before "disappearing about a year ago," according to the leasing manager at his former company. Carrero also ran a company called North American Merchant Services headquartered in Coral Gables, Florida, which offered foreigners the opportunity to set up mining computers in his operations center in exchange for a revenue split.

In yet another incident, agents from the Cuerpo de Investigaciones Científicas Penales y Criminalisticas (CICPC) arrested four bitcoin miners in the town of Charallave on January 25.

The discovery of the massive mining facility in Valencia is causing a backlash that's making it harder for Venezuelans to exchange bitcoins for local currency. SurBitcoin, the country's leading exchange, announced yesterday that its bank account was being revoked and that users should withdraw their money from the service immediately to avoid losing funds. The company says it expects to be operating again in "approximately two weeks." In the meantime, it encouraged customers to use the peer-to-peer trading site LocalBitcoins.

Seized warehouse with 11,000 bitcoin miners in Venezuela ||| Policía Nacional Bolivariana (PNB)Policía Nacional Bolivariana (PNB)Rodrigo Souza, the founder and CEO of the company that runs SurBitcoin's exchange platform, attributed the temporary closure to the recent arrests in Valencia. "When it was found that there were 11,000 mining computers consuming the energy to power a whole town at a time when there are severe electricity shortages, it triggered a reaction," he said. "We were not contacted by the government, but our bank is revoking our account because it doesn't want to be involved. We are currently reaching out to other banking partners."

Prior to January 25, Venezuela's only known bitcoin-related arrests occurred in March of 2016, when three men were detained in separate incidents by the Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional (SEBIN). (They've all since been released.) With the recent incidents, there are now three separate law enforcement agencies that have arrested bitcoin miners in Venezuela.

Bitcoin is proving to be a potentially life-saving technology in a country experiencing severe shortages of food and medicine. Many Venezuelans are using the internet-based currency to circumvent the country's currency countrols and import essential goods, including groceries and pharmaceuticals. Bitcoin also provides a way for Venezuelans living abroad to send money home to their relatives.

Bitcoin mining, an energy-intensive process in which computers solve complex equations and get rewarded in newly minted currency, is unusually profitable in Venezuela because electricity is heavily subsidized by the socialist government.

As I argued in a January 2017 feature story, bitcoin mining in Venezuela is turning "socialism against itself."

For more on the impact cryptocurrency is having in this crumbling South American nation, read "The Secret, Dangerous World of Venezuelan Bitcoin Mining" from our January 2017 issue.

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  • mashed potatoes||

    OT: Trumps going after the Jews! BAAANNNNNNNNOOOOOOONNNNN!

    http://www.jpost.com/Israel-Ne.....nts-480446

  • Lee wishes he made the list...||

    Unless Trump is setting up a situation where the PA violates another agreement, providing an excuse to remove them from the map. He isn't going to settle anything.

  • John Titor||

    Oh obviously. But Israeli-Palestinian peace has been the magical foreign policy unicorn U.S. Presidents have chased for years.

  • Lee wishes he made the list...||

    Hubris. I think Trump's got plenty.

  • Pan Zagloba||

    Wow, that's the last thing I expected him to say. I was sure his attitude was "fuck off, I'm not interested" rather than "unlike previous six presidents, my plan is totally gonna solve everything!"

  • Idle Hands||

    You have to admit it would be funny if Trump were able to successfully negotiate a two state solution. I mean hilarious. Like keep me sustained for decades funny.

  • The Other Kevin||

    it would be, because you know there would still be a lot of people calling him the new Hitler.

  • John Titor||

    I think Lee's right, it's hubris. They mention in the article that Trump sees it as 'the ultimate deal' so of course he's going to try and find an answer so he can wave it around as proof of his ability.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    This is great. He could potentially get mired in this for years, keeping him busy from fucking up our lives.

  • KDN||

    As the dealmeister supreme, Trump is perfectly capable of negotiating this deal while doing his damnedest to fuck up our lives.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Why are these settlements considered to be a bad thing? I thought having a bunch of people move in from another country was teh awesome.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Because they usually end up bulldozing somebody's olive grove.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Bulldozing olive groves is just part of their culture, so it should be welcomed in the name of multicultural diversity.*

    But what you're saying is that this is merely an issue of property rights, nothing more? Seems like that could be fairly easily resolved.

    * I'm kidding

  • mashed potatoes||

    Private property and these settlements are usually accompanied with walls, security fences and check points that turn the Palestinian territory in to swiss cheese. So even if your farm doesn't get tore up because of the new construction, getting to your land may take three checkpoints that are only open certain times a day. same with schools, shopping, etc..

  • Fatty Bolger||

    That's inconvenient, but wouldn't the increased economic activity brought on by the newcomers offset any new inconveniences experienced by the existing population?

  • Dan S.||

    The "Settlements" are treated differently under the law than Palestinian areas, with Israeli Jews being given rights there that Palestinian Arabs don't have. If it was just about property rights, maybe that could be resolved, but it isn't. For example, Israel was terribly upset not long ago that products of the "Settlements" would not be labeled "Made in Israel" when sold in the EU.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    As libertarians I'm sure we all applaud the EU's efforts to make sure that everything is labeled properly. Is that really the kind of thing you meant by "rights", or was that just a poor example?

  • Pan Zagloba||

    I dunno, as libertarians we get angry when GMO foods have to be labelled. Is that any different?

  • Zeb||

    This is different because both sides want to use labeling as a political tool. No one is on the side of "call it whatever you want".

  • Dan S.||

    I guess it was a poor example, maybe I should have just left that last sentence off, as I almost did. But it illustrates how Israel thinks of these "settlements" as extensions of itself, as distinguished from surrounding areas.

  • Michael||

    +1 gold star

  • {|}===[|}:;:;:;:;:;:;:>||

    You're not wrong. Property is the nexus of all the issues between them, and exclusion is the sine qua non of property. If you can't prevent an up-armored D9 from rolling, at will, through your house or olive grove there is very little basis for you to claim a property in either. The Israeli settlements have a superior claim in right over the displaced by virtue of their continued success in excluding the former claimants and future takers. The Israelis don't want to say it this way because it tends to upset the softheaded. The Palestinians don't want to admit it because it weakens their bargaining position and would increase internal pressures to actually put up a fight to oust the Israelis as opposed to constantly begging others to win the fight for them.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Sounds like a "might makes right" philosophy you are promoting there.

  • {|}===[|}:;:;:;:;:;:;:>||

    Perhaps at first pass it might look that way, but to reach that conclusion we'd have to lay out what our premises are first and you'll have to unpack for me what that aphorism really means. If you're arguing that the power to use force inherently justifies the use of force I disagree.

  • Pan Zagloba||

    Ironically, most of the pants-shitting is usually about extra apartments being built in East Jerusalem suburbs, with no new territory taken.

  • mashed potatoes||

    well under the original terms back in the day, Jerusalem was suppose to be the capitol of the Palestinian state so they feel losing is stripping their chances of statehood..

  • Pan Zagloba||

    Which terms back when? Original partition plan had it under international control. Jordanian troops held the eastern part (including Jewish quarter) in 1948, then booted the Jews and promptly annexed the whole thing. Israel took the eastern part in 1967 and moved the capital to the (now single) city.

    Oslo peace accords? Nope.

    It was understood that several issues were postponed to permanent status negotiations, including: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders, relations and co-operation with other neighbours, and other issues of common interest. The outcome of these permanent status negotiations should not be prejudiced or pre-empted by the parties.

    Palestinians claim it as their capital, yes. That is all.

  • Libertarian||

    Meh. Let me know when there's a headline like this, and I'll be interested: "Bitcoin miners trapped in mine collapse. Authorities mull digging new rescue tunnel."

  • Florida Hipster||

    It's cheaper just to bulldoze over the mine.

  • Pan Zagloba||

    I've seen server rooms where being trapped was a genuine risk.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    I think it's more likely bitcoin miners would get trapped in an infinite loop through an improperly configured spanning tree and a TTL field accidentally set to infinity.

  • UnCivilServant||

    That was not an accident, we changed the TTL for debugging purposes.

  • Dan S.||

    I presume the TTL stuff mentioned are not 7400-series logic chips. So what is it, acronyms seem to always be changing.

  • Unreconstructed (Sans Flag)||

    Time To Live - the number of hops a packet will take before no one tries to send it any more.

  • ||

    I think it's more likely bitcoin miners would get trapped in an infinite loop through an improperly configured spanning tree and a TTL field accidentally set to infinity.

    Most of them are kinda de facto stuck in an infinite paradox of value loop IMO.

  • dschwar||

    Why am I suddenly thinking Red Dwarf wasn't as unreal as it seemed?

  • Jerryskids||

    Damn, those guys should have disguised their bitcoin operation with a bunch of grow lights and pot plants and the cops wouldn't have suspected a thing.

  • Microaggressor||

    How long before this comes to America?
    Whenever hyperinflation kicks in?

  • Authoritarian Fries||

    Maybe sooner than you think now that it appears the republicans have embraced socialism. Their tax on imports would support uncompetitive American businesses at the expense of consumers and competitive American businesses.

  • kbolino||

    Taxing imports is not laissez-faire and not libertarian (although it fits within a classical liberal framework just fine), but that doesn't make it socialist. Many socialists support tariffs but they also breathe air. Breathing air is not generally considered socialist despite this fact.

  • John Titor||

    Tariffs are also historically pretty damn common in American history, but a lot of that has to do with tariffs being one of the primary ways to fund the government before the income tax. Several founding fathers argued in favour of tariffs, the most well known being Madison's Report on Manufactures.

  • kbolino||

    I would absolutely be okay with a repeal of the 17th Amendment and a return to a primarily* tariff-funded government. The income tax has played a significant part in turning what was once a burden shouldered by most Americans, that of paying for the cost of their (Federal) government, into a political exercise in collective punishment and gamesmanship.

    * = In this fantasy, we also have amendments banning peacetime debt and forcing tariffs to be uniform

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Fuck that. Fund everything through user fees. Don't use the roads? Don't pay for the roads. Don't use the military? Don't pay for the military. I personally don't need any nuclear warheads to feel safe and sure as hell hate paying for the upkeep of all those missile silos.

  • kbolino||

    User fees would be great, but they're even more of a pipe-dream than tariffs replacing the income tax, at least as a primary source of funding (the gov't loves to tack fees on top of taxes, but to replace taxes with fees? perish the thought).

    I remember reading awhile back about how the #1 problem with health care in some African countries was that they were charging user fees. This was taken utterly seriously and it was considered a matter of urgency that the government step in and address this "problem".

  • John Titor||

    Can you provide me with a step-by-step argument as to how you won't use the military if you don't pay for it?

    "Oh, well, we were going to stop this cruise missile, but it's going to land in the suburbs where 3/5 homes it hits don't pay for the military, so fuck 'em."

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    "Oh, well, we were going to stop this cruise missile, but it's going to land in the suburbs where 3/5 homes it hits don't pay for the military, so fuck 'em."

    It's best to be careful with that kind of reasoning, John. It is similar in kind, if perhaps not degree, to the arguments used to justify all kinds of government programs, such as a single-payer system for health care. I mean you don't want little kids dying from lack of health care, do you?

    This has been addressed in the ancap literature and many solutions were proposed. Here are some:

    1) Defense spending is way overestimated. We do not know what the true cost of defense actually is. Only a market-based user fee for defense would establish a baseline. It would most likely be so much lower than current spending, most people would not see it as a big burden to pay.

    2) Charity could pay for those not able or not willing to pay for themselves.

    3) Defense could be tied to insurance and other contracts may not be available to those without defense insurance.

    4) Social pressures would force most to contribute.

    And so on and so forth. Obviously this is a big topic but if you really are interested, read some of the relevant ancap literature.
  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Oops, forgot to close my tags. Sorry!

  • John Titor||

    It's best to be careful with that kind of reasoning, John. It is similar in kind, if perhaps not degree, to the arguments used to justify all kinds of government programs, such as a single-payer system for health care.

    That's not the argument I'm making though, I'm making the argument that it's actually impossible to 'not use the military if you don't paid for it' without promoting inefficiency or an arbitrary line between 'payers' and 'non-payers'. I'm just aware of how the military functions and every solution you're providing (I'd appreciate some reference material if you have it) seems to promote many, many problems for the military actually doing its job.

  • John Titor||

    Defense spending is way overestimated. We do not know what the true cost of defense actually is. Only a market-based user fee for defense would establish a baseline. It would most likely be so much lower than current spending

    You have to actually define what your defensive strategy actually is before you're even close to making that assessment. And market forces do not determine sound strategy. Sure, third generation fighters are cheaper, and would likely be cheaper in a 'free market' system, but it doesn't mean anything when fifth generation fighters blow four times their costs' worth of third generation from the sky. Whether people find it a burden to pay is a separate issue, and is the classic free rider problem.

    Charity could pay for those not able or not willing to pay for themselves.

    Not a military argument so I'll pass on this, slightly skeptical on people paying for this rather than, say, Toys for Tots. Also, unreliable military funding is not particularly a good idea.

  • John Titor||

    Defense could be tied to insurance and other contracts may not be available to those without defense insurance.

    You don't want any military to have to factor in insurance knowledge into every tactical and strategic decision. That extends decision making time and also results in inferior strategy based on financial, rather than military results. Costs will actually go up simply due to the need for an even bigger bureaucratic machine behind the military to factor all this in. We've already got lawyers having to sign off on airstrikes in my country, and trust me, it has negative effects on our efficiency.

    Social pressures would force most to contribute.

    I live in a country that constantly underfunds its military, still expects results, and does not have a groundswell of demand for further funding. I'm skeptical of this point to say the least.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Underfunds its military? I don't remember Canada being invaded recently. Seriously, how do you know Canada underfunds its military? By what metric? How do you know it is not overfunding it?

  • John Titor||

    Underfunds its military? I don't remember Canada being invaded recently. Seriously, how do you know Canada underfunds its military? By what metric?

    Experience, and by basic knowledge of how our campaigns have gone recently in Afghanistan and peacekeeping operations. Equipment that went through wear-and-tear of a decade of fighting in Afghanistan has not been replaced. Air force is badly outdated, but at least there's a discussion about modernizing. In terms of defensive metrics, Canada would be militarily unable to defend its territorial waters if Russia decided to fuck with us. And frankly it's shameful to expect the U.S. to cover for us.

    If we ever fought in symmetric warfare instead of against developing world peasants with AK-47s/74s/whatever taking pot shots we'd get our asses kicked. That's an ineffective military.

  • Zeb||

    It would probably be better than income tax. Assuming the federal government gets a whole lot smaller. Tariffs that could fund the current government would really cause some damage.

    I'm not firmly attached to the idea, but I'm inclined to think that some kind of general sales tax would be better than income tax or tariffs. Better than income tax because it would be more distributed among the population and would require less disclosure from individuals about their personal finances and activities. In my opinion, the massive invasion of privacy, and ridiculous record keeping requirements needed to implement an income tax are some of the greatest evils of the current tax system. And better than tariffs because it would interfere less with trade. If tariffs were low enough, though, that could be as good or better.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Agreed, but they don't make any damned sense now. Even accepting that we're not going to get free trade, a trade protection regime is a bad idea.

  • kbolino||

    Agreed, but they don't make any damned sense now

    Ceteris paribus, yes. Coupled with a decrease in regulatory burdens and a lowering of other taxes, the net effect may be just what is promised, domestic economic growth. But that is an essential caveat. A tariff hike doesn't magically put more money in the average consumer's pocket to offset the higher prices. Even if it results in higher employment, it does so by because of the higher cost of living. If you get one of these new jobs, great. The problem is that not everybody will get a job.

  • Pro Libertate||

    And the robots are still coming.

  • kbolino||

    A tariff on essential elements for the robot revolution, like rare earths and PCBs, would not only change the cost calculus to disfavor it somewhat, but also move at least some of the employment generated by it stateside.

    Everything I just said still applies though.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yeah, I was thinking about the regulatory hurdles that face or will face robotization/automation as they become increasingly consumer-facing. Could be a mess.

  • kbolino||

    Could be a mess.

    Money is changing hands and the government is not getting (enough of) its cut. You better believe there will be regulations. After all, who but government can protect you from the threat of robots serving you scalding coffee? But nobody works for free, not least of all your noble public servants.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Let's roboticize them.

  • Konima||

    I think kbolino is just John Titor playing a slightly dumber version of himself.

  • kbolino||

    Wouldn't you have to be at least as intelligent as one of us to tell which is the dumber one?

  • Swiss Servator||

    Man, how would we make it through the day without your penetrating insight and wit??????

    TELL US MORE, O WISE ONE!

    Or, not.

  • John Titor||

    I'm pretty sure kbolino predates me on this site. But then again I am a time traveler so maybe kbolino is actually Future Me or Alternate Universe Me, it's been known to happen.

  • Entelechy||

    The perps will cop a National Hero plea , claiming bitcoin shores up the Bolivar by being exchangible for toilet paper

  • Authoritarian Fries||

    Many Venezuelans are using the internet-based currency to circumvent the country's currency countrols and import essential goods, including groceries and pharmaceuticals.

    I was wondering why a govt would arrest people for economic activity that produces value and then you explained it at the end.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Ihre papiere, bitte.

  • Swiss Servator||

    *quickly stuffs several rolls of toilet paper into satchel*

    Danke, mein Herr.

  • The Last American Hero||

    How many divisions does Satoshi Nakamoto have?

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Do you mean how many corporeal bodies Satoshi has? Quite a few.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    When we said "free" we didn't mean "free-free".

  • BearOdinson||

    I get that the "non-negatives" of bitcoin are anonymity, and that it isn't a govt printed fiat currency. But I don't see the positive in and of itself.
    And what is the "mining" process, and what the hell does it have to do with generating more bitcoin?
    I mean, the thing with gold, was that it was almost a universally desired. It is corrosion resistant, soft (but can easily be hardened with alloying elements), is a very good conductor etc. IOW: inherent properties that people generally find attractive. And that it is rare.
    What are the universal properties of bitcoin that make it attractive? Why should I give someone a cow, or a goat, (or a blow job) for some amount of bitcoin?

  • DOOMco's Ref Chipper||

    The mining is a function to verify each transaction. This is the official FAQ

  • Password: pode$ta||

    The mining is just a huge amount of calculations to keep the blockchain secure and consistent. For now, whenever a block is solved (every 10 minutes IIRC), the owner of the computer that solved it first gets an amount of bitcoin, essentially as a service charge to maintain the bitcoin system.

    "In the future," the idea is that the system will ween itself off of the mining-for-bitcoin strategy and move to a market-oriented solution, although I don't remember how that's supposed to happen.

  • BearOdinson||

    So basically
    1: do extensive calculations for bitcoin
    2:
    3: profit

  • Pan Zagloba||

    Excellent business plan! We gotta get some venture capital now.

  • Swiss Servator||

    How about a whole lot of Canadian Tire money?

  • Pan Zagloba||

    Feck off, that's me retirement fund!

  • Pan Zagloba||

    Feck off, that's me retirement fund!

  • Password: pode$ta||

    And BTC is absolutely just fiat. But it's a fiat with a stable value that nobody directly controls, albeit not intrinsically valuable.

  • DOOMco's Ref Chipper||

    Yeah, I wouldn't call it fixed, but it would be a lot more obvious when they raise the number of coins.

  • thrakkorzog||

    Well yes, but you can say that all currency is essentially fiat currency.

    Even precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum are really only valuable because everybody thinks they are valuable. Outside of some narrow industrial uses, they're mostly just shiny rocks. Albeit shiny rocks worth many pieces of paper.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    There is no such thing as "iintrinsically valuable." What are you, some kind of communist, or worse, an Objectivist?

  • kbolino||

    On the topic of Objectivist theories... I do think there's some merit in their notion of value. The problem is that I've never seen anyone explain it well (and I too will probably do a disservice to it). Basically, the idea is that while value is not intrinsic, it is not arbitrary either. Value is what two people agree it is (the buyer and the seller), but at the same time, pairs of value-agreeing agents will often reach similar conclusions about value despite no direct coordination between them. This obviously varies across time and space, though, which makes it hard to argue there is objective value (the term Objectivists use) even though there is obviously a degree of consistency. Everybody would agree that you're not going to get gas for $0.50/gal right now anywhere in the U.S. and that nobody is paying $10/gal for gas, either (at least, not the most common kind of gas that people buy). So in this time and place, gas must have value greater than $0.50/gal and less than $10/gal even though you might be paying $1.99/gal for it and I might be paying $2.39/gal for it.

  • Swiss Servator||

    "The value of a thing, is what that thing will bring"

  • Microaggressor||

    What are the universal properties of bitcoin that make it attractive?

    The same properties that make any non-defaced currency attractive.

    1. Store of value
    If I accept payment in oranges, those oranges are going to rot if I don't use them soon enough. Bitcoin won't. In fact, bitcoin could very well increase in value. There is no entity on earth that can print more bitcoins than the hard cap.

    2. Problem of wants
    I have a cow that I want to sell. You are trying to buy my cow, but all you have to trade are goats. I don't want any fucking goats. Sell your goat to somebody who wants it, so that you have currency you can give to me for the cow. I'd rather have the currency than your goats, for reasons #1 and #3.

    3. Ease of transactions
    Bitcoins are relatively easy to transfer, can be cut into tiny pieces, and don't have to be fed like goats do. And lots of people will accept them (at least we're moving in that direction).

  • Zeb||

    Before the 20th century, gold was pretty much just rare and beautiful. Bitcoin isn't beautiful (maybe if you are a very nerdy mathematician or computer scientist), but it's inherently rare. As I understand it, there is a finite number of bitcoin that can possibly exist.

  • John C. Randolph||

    I was in the lobby of a hotel two days ago, and I overheard a guy walking around near me who was on the phone with his credit card provider. Apparently, they had caused him some inconvenience and embarrassment a charge that their computer software thought was "out of his normal patterns", and he was getting handed off from minion to minion instead of getting through to anyone who could actually solve the problem.

    It occurred to me that it's probably not going to be collapsing regimes like Venezuela that ultimately drive the mass adoption of bitcoin, but rather the ability of Bitcoin to operate without vendors like banks and credit card companies.

    -jcr

  • DOOMco's Ref Chipper||

    I hadn't thought of that.

  • ||

    It occurred to me that it's probably not going to be collapsing regimes like Venezuela that ultimately drive the mass adoption of bitcoin, but rather the ability of Bitcoin to operate without vendors like banks and credit card companies.

    Except you're conflating different fiscal tools. Bitcoin is, for all intents an purposes, an 'M0 product' if you will. Your credit card is MB and your bank offers products and services across the range M0, MB, M1-M3, and MZM. Even if all 12 or 20M bitcoins were mined tomorrow and we'd divided down as low as the blockchain can computationally handle. Visa would still be able to offer you credit based on demonstrated assets/income and people would still be able to inflate/deflate your purchasing power without regard for bitcoin (much like we can do with the M0 supply now).

  • ||

    Venezuelan Police Arrest Eight Bitcoin Miners in Two Weeks, and the Country's Leading Bitcoin Exchange Suspends Operations

    Unpossible! I have it on the best of authorities that bitcoin will make political dissidents, at home and abroad, bulletproof and supplant any and all forms of currency or other medium of exchange on Earth. Mother Nature herself, with her four-nucleotide stranglehold on the exchange of genetic information, should be quaking in her boots!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    It's funny how people don't realize (or forget) that if the state doesn't want you to do something, they can just start arresting everyone they see or catch doing it.

    Yes, I get the long term aggregate results will probably lead to a government losing its grip, but as I've said before, they can sure do a lot of damage and hurt a lot of people while they flail around maintaining their grip and cause good people to run for the shadows.

  • ||

    My contention, since the beginning, was that bitcoin was a serious flop or at least strongly over-sold in this regard. It was a parlor trick where essentially free people were made free-er by playing a shell game with the couple of percent overhead on their purchasing power and sold as a tool that would fundamentally change liberty.

    There are dozens of relatively stable authoritarian hellholes around the world. Bitcoin seems to have trouble maintaining its grasp on a seemingly unstable hellhole.

    Fundamentally, bitcoin needs more and more advanced infrastructure to exist and function than cash/fiat and, when implemented 'appropriately' is more thoroughly authoritarian than cash/credit/barter.

    I freely admit that I could be wrong. That bitcoin could be implemented in a freedom-generating fashion. I think it would have far more to do with the society involved than bitcoin itself. However, until (e.g.) American bitcoins find their way into and then liberate Cuba (or whatever), it's, as I said, a bit of rich and free country's shell game(s).

  • Pan Zagloba||

    Better yet, not everyone. Random, arbitrary punishment is even more frightening. Just make sure it's publicized.

  • Swiss Servator||

    That sounds like....the voice of experience.

    *gets sad*

  • Pan Zagloba||

    You should be - my late 80s/early 90s upbringing is coming in very, very handy. I am, however, glad I learned to love Big Robby.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "When I was a kid, I watched Speed Racer, which was basically about a guy who burned fossil fuels and hit anyone to disagreed with him." -- Adam Carolla.

  • Putrid Meat||

    OT: Was looking to contact RC Dean, but since he's 'out'... Anyway, RC - you said you maybe lurking; if so
    and you don't mind answering a work-related question (regarding Tucson medical facilities) from a fellow Tucsonan
    and random person from the internet, it would be great if you could drop me a line at putridmeat@NO.SPAM.PLEASE.comcast.net Or if any of you know how to get in touch with RC in meat-space could forward. Thanks.

    Oh, and on all the crap about Reason going off the rails; I've been reading/lurking (maybe one or two odd posts before the
    dark night of registration) from the inception of reason.com. Print subscriber in the late 80's/early 90's, on and off contributor. Didn't contribute this past year given what I saw as relatively poor election coverage (cough-dalmia-cough)
    and the SJW-tinged rico-ness. Anyway, I'm bailing on my lurking as well. Dead grandma journalism, quoted 'muslim ban', the apparent complete lack of ability to cover goings on from a well established solid understanding of small-l
    libertarianism ("to be sure violence is bad, but....", "you simply can't just stop Obama-care, if the government doesn't do something to replace it, we'll all be dooomed..."), bah - not worth the time spent reading it. Good luck to ENB, Stossel, 2chilli, etc. And thanks to all of you (SugarFree, Warty, and MikeM excluded) for the entertainment and insight!
    -K

  • AlmightyJB||

    Well we can't have people living in a country with vast oil reserves using electricity now can we.

  • kbolino||

    Look, that oil belongs to the people of Venezuela. You can't just have the Venezuelan people using their oil!

  • Pan Zagloba||

    You monster, you want them all to die from Global Climate Change in Warming!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Venezuela looks like a tailor-made case for alternative energy, yet it's not taking off there. I wonder why.

  • SalmaG||

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