Bitcoin

Why the FBI Is Afraid of Bitcoin

And why you shouldn't be

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Nick Gillespie went to the Bitcoin 2021 Conference in Miami this weekend, which gives Matt Welch, Katherine Mangu-Ward, and Peter Suderman a chance to ask about whether bitcoin really poses a "threat." They also discuss homelessness and residual coronavirus-restriction absurdities, all on this Monday's Reason Roundtable.

Discussed in the show:

0:22: What coronavirus restrictions are extraneous or absurd at this point?

8:22: Nick describes the bitcoin conference.

14:28: Peter discusses the G7 corporate tax agreement.

26:08: Elon Musk's weird relationship with bitcoin.

34:47: Ransomware is not the new 9/11.

48:39: Weekly Listener Question: How does a Good Libertarian deal with the homelessness issue? People end up homeless for all sorts of reasons, and all present strong arguments for government intervention of one type or another. But oh, the costs! What say you?

56:16: Media recommendations.

This week's links:

Send your questions to roundtable@reason.com. Be sure to include your social media handle and the correct pronunciation of your name.

Today's sponsors:

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Audio production by Ian Keyser.
Assistant production by Regan Taylor.
Music: "Angeline," by The Brothers Steve.


NEXT: Andrew Doyle: Free Speech and Why It Matters

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  1. Nothing is going liberaltarians way. And it’s China doing the bitcoin beatdown.

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  2. Weekly Listener Question: How does a Good Libertarian deal with the homelessness issue? People end up homeless for all sorts of reasons, and all present strong arguments for government intervention of one type or another. But oh, the costs! What say you?

    In no particular order:
    o Homeless people can camp anywhere, no restrictions.
    o Surrounding homeowners may respond… with deadly force, if any of the denizens of said camps violate the nap– against said property owners.
    o Everything is a safe injection site, no funding required. Shoot your legal heroin (or whatever concoction you choose), no intervention required. If you overdose, surrounding property owners have a right to douse your body in gasoline and set it alight to alleviate the smell.

    1. I want a pony, but he also won’t win election.

      No one is EVER going to vote for homeless people shooting up heroin on their sidewalks.

      I don’t want flaming corpses, either. So that’s not exactly a compromise.

      1. You know a news story I’ve never seen? Dog bites homeless man.

      2. No one is EVER going to vote for homeless people shooting up heroin on their sidewalks.

        And you’d be wrong about that.

  3. Bitcoin is for suckers. Better to invest in Dutch tulips as a method of barter.

  4. https://twitter.com/disclosetv/status/1401974162860687364?s=19

    JUST IN – FBI tracked and recovered millions in cryptocurrency paid to Colonial Pipeline ransomware hackers.

    US feds seized $2.3 of $4.4 million Colonial Pipeline ransom from a #Bitcoin wallet pursuant to an order from a federal court.

    1. So, DarkSide’s Bitcoin wallet key was still set to “password”, or what?

      1. Brings up quite a few questions

    2. Another win for civil asset forfeiture?

      Assuming they actually knew who they took the bitcoins from which is probably about 50:50. Hey, at least they had a court order.

  5. At 50:53 the mangu girl says “this is why you shouldn’t have public property”.

    But in a previous edition of this podcast that was about big tech “restricting speech”, the mangu girl said private restriction of speech is fine because that person “can always go to the public street corner and talk”.

    So, if there was no public property, would there still be a place for free speech (that wasn’t subject to private control)? If all private actors said you couldn’t say something or other, where could you go to say it (assuming that you didn’t have any property of your own to say it from)?

    1. I imagine the response would be something like “a demand for a service represents an unmet market opportunity, so a private actor will step forward and present a platform for completely free speech”. And we kinda-sorta have that now, with Parler and Gab.

      1. And we kinda-sorta have that now, with Parler and Gab.

        We’ll just ignore Parler being taken off the internet for a month, and the certificate authority revoking Gab’s domain name because we’re all friends here.

  6. If Mangu married Florida Man would she be Mangu Dindu?

  7. Bitcoin is only a threat to the Federal Reserve and lazy FBI agents who can’t be assed to do their jobs properly.

    I’m not going to bother listening to what is probably a pile of steaming received wisdom, but I’m guessing that in the end this crew probably blames it all on Trump or conservatives somehow.

  8. Bitcoin is a threat to anyone who uses computers or anyone that uses energy.

    Bitcoin miners will use more and more of both until basically the entire energy and industrial output will be dedicated to mining bitcoin.

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  10. Why would anyone be afraid of the reserve currency for transnational extortion and ransom schemes?

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  12. Blockchain money would be improved with transparency. The ability of anyone to trace any transaction. Computers easily give us this amazing power. The secrecy of bitcoin all but guarantees the interest of the FBI and every other police agency.

    1. You can already trace any transaction since they’re all in the chain. What you would have a difficult time doing is tracing all transactions by any individual to figure out how many tokens they have or who that individual is inasmuch as anyone can buy a token no ID, no credit check, no past or current address, etc. required. It isn’t impossible but it isn’t easy.

      Essentially Ripple does this but it’s a permissioned blockchain where only those with permission have access to all the data, a walled garden if you will. That’s probably why it seems popular with financial institutions. After all, in this commercialized ad driven world, ‘knowing where the money is’ is where the money is.

  13. The homelessness issue was not caused by libertarians. There are more important things for libertarians to do then fix other people’s mistakes.

  14. Bitcoin is a threat to those who can’t produce anything that a bitcoin holder would trade his/her bitcoin for.

  15. I want to have a pony, but he won’t lose the presidency.
    Nobody will ever  vote for people who are homeless who do use heroin on their streets.
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    o Surrounding homeowners may respond… with deadly force, if any of the denizens of said camps violate the nap– against said property owners.
    o Everything is a safe injection site, no funding required. Shoot your legal heroin (or whatever concoction you choose), no intervention required. If you overdose, surrounding property owners have a right to douse your body in gasoline and set it alight to alleviate the smell.

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  19. How does the FBI force the recovery of the Bitcoins?

    I can understand how they can track them, but how do they force them out of the target wallet and get them back to the victims?

  20. For the FBI, its about control. Their control

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