Many people who study the financial crisis which started in 2008 know about "MERS", or "Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems"
- a company / database containing over 62 million mortgages.
(The word "mortgages" may be unfamiliar to some non-English speakers - since it is not a cognate with most other languages. In French, they say "hypothèques", or "hipotecas" in Spanish, "Hypotheken" in German, etc).
The goal of MERS was to "optimize" the process of transferring "title" (legal ownership) of real-estate mortgages, from one owner to another.
But instead, in the 2010 "foreclosure crisis", MERS caused tens of billions of dollars in losses and damages - due to the "ususual" way it handled the crucial "ownership data" for real-estate mortgages - the data at the very heart of the database. https://duckduckgo.com/?q=%22foreclosure+fraud%22+%22robo+signing%22+MERS&t=h_&ia=web How did MERS handle this crucial "ownership data" for real-estate mortgages?
The "brilliant" idea behind MERS to "optimize" the process of conveying (transferring) mortgages was to separate - and eventually delete
- all the data proving who transferred what to whom! Hmm... that sounds vaguely familiar. What does that remind me of?
SegWit separating and then deleting the "chain of (cryptographic) signatures" for bitcoins
sounds a lot like MERS separating and then deleting the "chain of (legal) title" for mortgages
So, SegWit and MERS have a lot in common:
- SegWit is a "clever innovation" brought to you by clueless / corrupt AXA-owned Blockstream devs;
- MERS is a "clever innovation" brought to you by reckless / corrupt Wall Street bankers;
- SegWit and MERS both work by simply deleting crucial "ownership data" for transactions.
Of course, the "experts" (on Wall Street, and at AXA-owned
Blockstream) present MERS and SegWit as "innovations" - as a way to "optimize" and "streamline" vast chains of transactions reflecting ownership and transfer of valuable items (ie, real-estate mortgages, and bitcoins).
But, unfortunately, the "
bat-shit insane approach" devised by the "geniuses" behind MERS and SegWit to do this is to simply delete the data
which proved ownership and transfer of these items - information which is essential for legal purposes (in the case of mortgages), or security purposes (in the case of bitcoins).
- SegWit allows deleting the "chain of (cryptographic) signatures" for bitcoins - ie, SegWit supports deleting the cryptographic data specifying "who transmitted what bitcoins to whom" (as originally specified in Satoshi's whitepaper defining Bitcoin);
- MERS (Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems) allowed deleting the "chain of (legal) title" for real-estate mortgages - ie, MERS supported deleting the legal "notes" specifying "who transmitted what mortgages to whom" (as previously tracked by banks / mortgage lenders / originators / notaries / land registries / "cadasters", etc.)
So, the most pernicious aspect of SegWit may be that it encourages deleting all of Bitcoin's cryptographic security data
- destroying the "chain of signatures" which (according to the white paper) are what define
what a "bitcoin" actually is. Wow, deleting signatures with SegWit sounds bad. Can I avoid SegWit?
Yes you can.
To guarantee the long-term cryptographic, legal and financial security of your bitcoins:
- You should avoid sending / receiving / holding Bitcoins using the dangerous, new "SegWit" addresses. (As far as I understand, "SegWit" bitcoin addresses all start with a "3".)
- You should just use safe, "normal" Bitcoin addresses - and avoid using unsafe "SegWit" addresses. (If I understand correctly, all "normal" Bitcoin addresses still start with a "1", while "SegWit" addresses always start with a "3".)
- You can also use Bitcoin implementations which encourage using "normal" Bitcoin addresses. (As far as I understand, implementations such as Bitcoin ABC, Bitcoin Unlimited, Bitcoin Classic are being deployed mainly to support "normal", "non-SegWit" Bitcoin addresses - as well as market-based (bigger) blocksizes and (lower) fees.)
- You can avoid Bitcoin implementations which require SegWit. (As far as I understand, SegWit2x, UASF/BIP148 are being deployed mainly to support "SegWit" Bitcoin addresses - as well as centrally-planned (smaller) blocksizes and (higher) fees).
Details MERS = "The dog ate your mortgage's chain of title".
SegWit = "The dog ate your bitcoin's chain of signatures."
Wall Street-backed MERS = AXA-backed SegWit
- By deleting / losing the "chain of title" for mortgages stored in the MERS database (in the name of "innovation" and "efficiency" and "optimization" being pushed by "clever" bankers on Wall Street), MERS caused a legal and financial catastrophe for mortgages - by making it impossible to (legally) prove who owns which properties.
- By deleting / losing the "chain of signatures" for Bitcoins stored in SegWit addresses (in the name of "innovation" and "efficiency" and "optimization" being pushed by "clever" devs at AXA-owned Blockstream), SegWit could end up causing a financial (and possibly also legal) catastrophe for Bitcoin - by making it impossible (or at least more complicated in many cases) to (cryptographically) prove who owns which bitcoins.
It is probably no coincidence that:
How is AXA related to Blockstream?
- Clueless, corrupt bankers from Wall Street used MERS to recklessly delete the "chain of (legal) title" for people's mortgages;
- And now clueless, corrupt devs from AXA-owned Blockstream want to recklessly use SegWit to delete the "chain of (cryptographic) signatures" for people's bitcoins.
Insurance multinational AXA, while not a household name, is actually the second-most-connected "fiat finance" firm in the world.
AXA's former CEO Pierre Castries was head of the secretive Bilderberg Group of the world's ultra-rich. (Recently, he moved on to HSBC.)
Due to AXA's massive exposure to derivatives (bigger than any other insurance company), it is reasonable to assume that AXA would be destroyed if Bitcoin reaches trillions of dollars in market cap as a major "counterparty-free" asset class - which would actually be quite easy using simple & safe on-chain scaling - ie, just using bigger blocks, and no SegWit.
So, the above facts provide one plausible explanation of why AXA-owned Blockstream seems to be quietly trying to undermine Bitcoin...
Do any Core / Blockstream devs and supporters know about MERS - and recognize its dangerous parallels with SegWit?
- by supporting the most ignorant developers and "leaders" (lying Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell and CEO Adam Back, drooling authoritarian idiot Luke-Jr, vandal Peter Todd, etc);
- by supporting a massive campaign of propaganda, censorship, and lies (on forums like r\bitcoin and sites like bitcointalk.org - both controlled by the corrupt censor u/Theymos) to try to force SegWit on the Bitcoin community.
It would be interesting to hear from some of the "prominent" Core / Blockstream devs and supporters listed below to find out if they are aware of the dangerous similarities between SegWit and MERS:
Finally, it could also be interesting to hear from:
Core / Blockstream devs might not know about MERS - but AXA definitely does
While it is likely that most or all Core / Blockstream devs do not know about the MERS fiasco...
...it is 100% certain that people at AXA (the main owners of Blockstream) do know about MERS.
This is because the global financial crisis which started in 2008 was caused by:
The major financial media and blogs (Naked Capitalism, Zero Hedge, Credit Slips, Washington's Blog, etc.) covered MERS extensively:
- CDOs - collateralized debt obligations
- MBSs - mortgage-backed securities
- MERS - the company / database Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems which "lost" (deleted) millions of people's mortgage notes - leading to "clouded titles" which made possible the wave of foreclosure fraud and robo-signing, which eventually cost the "clever" banks tens of billions of dollars in losses.
So people at all the major "fiat finance firms" such as AXA would of course be aware of CDOs, MBSs and MERS - since these have been "hot topics" in their industry since the start of the global financial crisis in 2008.
Eerie parallels between MERS and SegWit
Read the analysis below of MERS by legal scholar Christopher Peterson - and see if you notice the eerie parallels with SegWit (with added emphasis in bold, and commentary in square brackets):
Loans originated with MERS as the original mortgagee purport to separate the borrower’s promissory note, which is made payable to the originating lender, from the borrower’s conveyance of a mortgage, which purportedly is granted to MERS. If this separation is legally incorrect - as every state supreme court looking at the issue has agreed - then the security agreements do not name an actual mortgagee or beneficiary. The parallels between MERS and SegWit are obvious and inescapable.
The mortgage industry, however, has premised its proxy recording strategy on this separation, despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding that “the note and mortgage are inseparable.” [Compare with the language from Satoshi's whitepaper: "We define an electronic coin as a chain of digital signatures."]
If today’s courts take the Carpenter decision at its word, then what do we make of a document purporting to create a mortgage entirely independent of an obligation to pay? If the Supreme Court is right that a “mortgage can have no separate existence” from a promissory note, then a security agreement that purports to grant a mortgage independent of the promissory note attempts to convey something that cannot exist.
Many courts have held that a document attempting to convey an interest in realty fails to convey that interest if the document does not name an eligible grantee. Courts around the country have long held that “there must be, in every grant, a grantor, a grantee and a thing granted, and a deed wanting in either essential is absolutely void.”
Note that I am not arguing here that SegWit could be vulnerable to attacks from a strictly legal perspective. (Although that may be possible to.)
- MERS separated (and eventually deleted) the legal information regarding the "conveyance" (transfer) of ownership of "realty" (real estate)
- SegWit segregates (and allows eventually deleting) the cryptographic information regarding the sending and receiving of bitcoins.
I am simply arguing that SegWit, because it encourages deleting the (cryptographic) signature data which defines "bitcoins", could eventually be vulnerable to attacks from a cryptographic perspective.
But I heard that SegWit is safe and tested!
Yeah, we've heard a lot of lies from Blockstream, for years - and meanwhile, they've only succeeded in destroying Bitcoin's market cap, due to unnecessarily high fees and unnecessarily slow transactions.
Now, in response to those legal-based criticisms of SegWit in the article from nChain, several so-called "Bitcoin legal experts" have tried to rebut that those arguments from nChain were somehow "flawed".
But if you read the rebuttals of these "Bitcoin legal experts", they sound a lot like the clueless "experts" who were cheerleading MERS for its "efficiency" - and who ended up costing tens billions of dollars in losses when the "chain of title" for mortgages held in the MERS database became "clouded" after all the crucial "ownership data" got deleted in the name of "efficiency" and "optimization".
In their attempt to rebut the article by nChain, these so-called "Bitcoin legal experts" use soothing language like "optimization" and "pragmatic" to try to lull you into believing that deleting the "chain of (cryptographic) signatures" for your bitcoins will be just as safe as deleting the "chain of (legal) notes" for mortgages:
The (unsigned!) article on CoinDesk attempting to rebut Nguyen's article on nChain starts by stating:
Nguyen's criticisms fly in the face of what has emerged as broad support for the network optimization, which has been largely embraced by the network's developers, miners and startups as a pragmatic step forward. Then it goes on to quote "Bitcoin legal experts" who claim that using SegWit to delete Bitcoin's cryptographic signatures will be just fine:
Marco Santori, a fintech lawyer who leads the blockchain tech team at Cooley LLP, for example, took issue with what he argued was the confused framing of the allegation. And:
Santori told CoinDesk:
"It took the concept of what is a legal contract, and took the position that if you have a blockchain signature it has something to do with a legal contract."
Stephen Palley, counsel at Washington, DC, law firm Anderson Kill, remarked similarly that the argument perhaps put too much weight on the idea that the "signatures" involved in executing transactions on the bitcoin blockchain were or should be equivalent to signatures used in digital documents. And:
"It elides the distinction between signature and witness data and a digital signature, and they're two different things," Palley said.
"There are other ways to cryptographically prove a transaction is correctly signed other than having a full node," said BitGo engineer Jameson Lopp. "The assumption that if a transaction is in the blockchain, it's probably valid, is a fairly good guarantee." There are several things you can notice here:
Legal experts asserted that, because of this design, it's possible to prove that the transaction occurred between parties, even if those involved did not store signatures.
For this reason, Coin Center director Jerry Brito argued that nChain is overstating the issues that would arise from the absence of this data.
"If you have one-time proof that you have the bitcoin, if you don't have it and I have it, logically it was signed over to me. As long as somebody in the world keeps the signature data and it's accessible, it's fine," he said.
Who's right - Satoshi or the new "Bitcoin experts"?
- These so-called "Bitcoin legal experts" are downplaying the importance of signatures in Bitcoin - just like the "experts" behind MERS downplayed the importance of "notes" for mortgages.
- Satoshi said that a bitcoin is a "chain of digital signatures" - but these "Bitcoin legal experts" are now blithely asserting that we can simply throw the "chain of digital signatures" in the trash - and we can be "fairly" certain that everything will "probably" be ok.
- The "MERS = SegWit" argument which I'm making is not based on interpreting Bitcoin signatures in any legal sense (although some arguments could be made along those lines).
- Instead, I'm just arguing that any "ownership database" which deletes its "ownership data" (whether it's MERS or SegWit) is doomed to end in disaster - whether that segregated-and-eventually-deleted "ownership data" is based on law (with MERS), or cryptography (with SegWit).
You can make up your own mind.
Personally, I will never send / receive / store large sums of money using any "SegWit" bitcoin addresses.
This, is not because of any legal considerations - but simply because I want the full security of "the chain of (cryptographic) signatures" - which, according to the whitepaper, is the very definition of what a bitcoin "is".
Here are the words of Satoshi, from the whitepaper, regarding the "chain of digital signatures":
We define an electronic coin as a chain of digital signatures. Each owner transfers the coin to the next by digitally signing a hash of the previous transaction and the public key of the next owner and adding these to the end of the coin. A payee can verify the signatures to verify the chain of ownership. Does that "chain of digital signatures" sound like something you'd want to throw in the trash??
- The "clever devs" from AXA-owned Blockstream (and a handful of so-called "Bitcoin legal experts) say "Trust us, it is safe to delete the chain of signatures proving ownership and transfer of bitcoins". They're pushing "SegWit" - the most radical change in the history of Bitcoin. As I have repeatedly discussed, SegWit weakens Bitcoin's security model.
- The people who support Satoshi's original Bitcoin (and clients which continue to implement it: Bitcoin ABC, Bitcoin Unlimited, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Classic - all supporting "Bitcoin Cash" - ie "Bitcoin" without SegWit) say "Trust no one. You should never delete the chain of signatures proving ownership and transfer of your bitcoins."
- Satoshi said:
We define an electronic coin as a chain of digital signatures.
Who do you think is right?
- So, according to Satoshi, a "chain of digital signatures" is the very definition of what a bitcoin is.
- Meanwhile according to some ignorant / corrupt devs from AXA-owned Blockstream (and a handful of "Bitcoin legal experts") now suddenly it's "probably" "fairly" safe to just throw Satoshi's "chain of digital signatures" in the trash - all in the name of "innovation" and "efficiency" and "optimization" - because they're so very clever.
Finally, here's another blatant lie from SegWit supporters (and small-block supporters)
Let's consider this other important quote from Satoshi's whitepaper above:
A payee can verify the signatures to verify the chain of ownership. Remember, this is what "small blockers" have always been insisting for years.
They've constantly been saying that "blocks need to be 1 MB!!1 Waah!1!" - even though several years ago the Cornell study showed that blocks could already be 4 MB, with existing hardware and bandwidth.
But small-blockers have always insisted that everyone should store the entire blockchain - so they can verify their own transactions.
But hey, wait a minute!
Now they turn around and try to get you to use SegWit - which allows deleting the very data which insisted that you should download and save locally to verify your own transactions!
So, once again, this exposes the so-called "arguments" of small-blocks supporters as being fake arguments and lies:
- On the one hand, they (falsely) claim that small blocks are necessary in order for everyone to be run "full nodes" because (they claim) that's the only way people can personally verify all their own transactions. By the way, there are already several errors here with what they're saying:
- Actually "full nodes" is a misnomer (Blockstream propaganda). The correct terminology is "full wallets", because only miners are actually "nodes".
- Actually 1 MB "max blocksize" is not necessary for this. The Cornell study showed that we could easily be using 4 MB or 8 MB blocks by now - since, as everyone knows, the average size of most web pages is already over 2 MB, and everyone routinely downloads 2 MB web pages in a matter of seconds, so in 10 minutes you could download - and upload - a lot more than just 2 MB. But whatever.
- On the other hand, they support SegWit - and the purpose of SegWit is to allow people to delete the "signature data".
- This conflicts with their argument the everyone should personally verify all their own transactions. For example, above, Coin Center director Jerry Brito was saying: "As long as somebody in the world keeps the signature data and it's accessible, it's fine."
- So which is it? For years, the "small blockers" told us we needed to all be able to personally verify everything on our own node. And now SegWit supporters are telling us: "Naah - you can just rely on someone else's node."
- Plus, while the transactions are still being sent around on the wire, the "signature data" is still there - it's just "segregated" - so you're not getting any savings on bandwidth anyways - you'd only get the savings if you delete the "signature data" from storage.
- Storage is cheap and plentiful, it's never been the "bottleneck" in the system. Bandwidth is the main bottleneck - and SegWit doesn't help that at all, because it still transmits all the data.
So if you're confused by all the arguments from small-blockers and SegWitters, there's a good reason: their "arguments" are total bullshit and lies. They're attempting to contradict and destroy:
- Satoshi's original design of Bitcoin as a "chain of digital signatures":
"We define an electronic coin as a chain of digital signatures. Each owner transfers the coin to the next by digitally signing a hash of the previous transaction and the public key of the next owner and adding these to the end of the coin. A payee can verify the signatures to verify the chain of ownership."
- Satoshi's plan for scaling Bitcoin by simply increasing the goddamn blocksize:
Satoshi Nakamoto, October 04, 2010, 07:48:40 PM "It can be phased in, like: if (blocknumber > 115000) maxblocksize = largerlimit / It can start being in versions way ahead, so by the time it reaches that block number and goes into effect, the older versions that don't have it are already obsolete." https://np.reddit.com/btc/comments/3wo9pb/satoshi_nakamoto_october_04_2010_074840_pm_it_can/
[See the comments from me directly below for links to several articles on MERS, foreclosure fraud, robo-signing, "clouded title", etc.]
- The the notorious mortgage database MERS, pushed by clueless and corrupt Wall Street bankers, deleted the "chain of (legal) title" which had been essential to show who conveyed what mortgages to whom - leading to "clouded titles", foreclosure fraud, and robo-signing.
- The notorious SegWit soft fork / kludge, pushed by clueless and corrupt AXA-owned Blockstream devs, allows deleting the "chain of (cryptographic) signatures" which is essential to show who sent how many bitcoins to whom - which could lead to a catastrophe for people who foolishly use SegWit addresses (which can be avoided: unsafe "SegWit" bitcoin addresses start with a "3" - while safe, "normal" Bitcoin addresses start with a "1").
- Stay safe and protect your bitcoin investment: Avoid SegWit transactions.
Indeed, virtual currencies are nothing new to the Chinese. For example, more than 100 million people on the social platform QQ have used the Q coin for more than 10 years. And after China’s state-run China Central Television, or CCTV, ran a half-hour-long documentary on bitcoins, downloads of apps for processing and “mining” bitcoins soared in the world’s second largest economy.
Bitcoin, long the plaything of the Western ubernerd, now appears poised to grow substantially in China and other markets, like the euro zone, where government meddling in native currency valuations has left many distrustful of the money in their bank accounts.
Americans don’t have this problem -- yet. And that may be a problem in itself. According to bitcoin proponents, if the U.S. tries to ignore the nascent currency, writing it off as a financial fad with less value than the seemingly stable dollar, Americans risk ceding to the Chinese and others control of the future of what could be the most disruptive force in monetary exchanges since the credit card. In turn, the dollar and the ability of the U.S. to navigate global currency conflicts could be seriously weakened.
“Here’s the bottom line: Bitcoin has much higher popularity outside the U.S. and much higher potential outside the U.S.,” observed Andreas M. Antonopoulos of the Bitcoin Foundation. “If you go to an American and say, ‘Hey, there’s this new thing, bitcoin,’ they say, ‘Well, what’s wrong with the dollar?’ That question is different in other countries.”
Bitcoins are a finite, Web-based currency created in 2009 by a group of hackers working under the nom-de-Internet Satoshi Nakamoto. Exactly 10,952,975 bitcoins are in circulation, all of which have been purchased on exchange networks or mined. The currency is mined using software that processes transactions on the bitcoin network, adding groups of transactions, called blocks, to the chain. Miners are paid about 25 bitcoins per block. That digital money can then be used to purchase a variety of goods online, from legitimate software to heroin on the infamous virtual black-market Silk Road.
Bitcoin surged in value to $266 last month, thrusting the currency into the mainstream spotlight as investment poured in from sources as diverse as the hapless Brothers Winklevoss (of Facebook infamy) and Union Capital Ventures principal Fred Wilson (an early investor in Zynga, Twitter, and Kickstarter). Suddenly, everyone was talking about buying bitcoins. But the bubble burst in late April, and in the U.S. at least, bitcoin faded from the news. That was not the case in China, where Antonopoulos said downloads of bitcoin clients have eclipsed those in the U.S.
Bitcoins are mined in several steps. After downloading a bitcoin client, such as Coinbase (which serves as a wallet in which to store the bits of code that constitute the digital money), miners often join pools where they share computing power to decode algorithms in which bitcoins are hidden. The concept of bitcoins and bitcoin mining is cryptic for many people, even some otherwise forward-thinking American investors. The irony is that, for now, American startups are leading the bitcoin charge, and the U.S. government was the first to issue guidance on using the currency as payment -- a seemingly tacit recognition of bitcoin’s validity as legal tender. Why China Poses A Threat
Feng Li, the IDG partner who chose to fund Coinbase, said the Chinese have yearned for access to a virtual currency since the central government cracked down on the use of Q coins.
Q coins were introduced in March 2002 by Tencent Holdings Ltd. (HKG:0700), the parent company of the country’s most popular instant-messaging service, QQ , and they currently average an annual transaction value of more than 1 billion yuan ($163 million). That value is growing at about 15 to 25 percent each year.
Q coins, purchased with yuan, are predominantly used to buy virtual products and services in QQ and its related online games and social media. Originally, Tencent regulations prevented Q coins from being traded between users or converted back to yuan, but allowed users to trade points and purchase Q coins with their game accounts, then use the black market to convert them into cash. That caused concerns at the People’s Bank of China, China’s central bank. In January 2007, converting game points to Q coins was banned, and Tencent reiterated that Q coins constitute a product, not a currency, which seemed to satisfy the concerns.
“There has already been proof with the Q coin,” Feng said of the Chinese likeliness to start using bitcoin. “It’s been very well circulated and very well adopted.”
Already, shops on Taobao -- the Chinese equivalent to eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY), owned by Alibaba.com Ltd. (HKG:1688) -- accept bitcoins as payment for goods, as does the similar service, Tencent’s PaiPai.com.
The Chinese are embracing bitcoins in other ways. The first bitcoin fund began to raise money in June, with the goal of raising 20 million yuan. The fund’s investment threshold is 10,000 yuan, and it will mature in four years.
Q coin’s popularity isn’t the only reason bitcoin has appeal in China. As it turns out, China is the perfect place for bitcoin mining. While much of the developed world is well into the transition from personal computers to mobile devices, China’s PC market is still thriving, which provides the necessary computing power to run a successful business converting electricity into mined coins. Price caps on electricity already create wasteful use of energy in China, so running a code-crunching computer for hours on end isn’t as costly an investment as it would be in the U.S. And so-called “gold-mining” or “gold-farming” businesses already exist in China’s cybersphere. None of that will come as a surprise to any “World of Warcraft” player: Gamers in Chinese urban sweatshops are known to sit in front of glowing blue screens for hours, slaughtering players in the game for their spoils or mining gold deposits found in the sprawling milieu of Blizzard Entertainment’s international blockbuster. Those treasures are then sold to players in the game for real money.
China has a heavily controlled currency, which also makes bitcoin attractive.
“The more controlled the currency is, the harder the transactions are, the more friction there is in the national currency, the more appealing the coin is,” Antonopoulos said, noted that the most appealing place to use bitcoin would be a country whose economy is a veritable train wreck -- like Zimbabwe, except that the southern African nation lacks the necessary technology. “I would say China is perfect,” he said. “It’s got the penetration, it’s got the smartphones, it’s got the Internet and the people are familiar with virtual currencies. And, it’s got the not-as-appealing national currency.” Regulation In The U.S.
Guidance issued in March by the U.S. Treasury Department said that companies issuing or exchanging online cash, including bitcoin, would be subject to the same scrutiny as traditional firms such as the Western Union Co. (NYSE:WU) to prevent money laundering.
Less than two months later, the Department of Homeland Security proved that edict had teeth.
Federal officials obtained a warrant Tuesday to seize an account tied to Mt.Gox, the Tokyo-based exchange company that handles about 80 percent of all bitcoin trades. Authorities accused Mt.Gox’s U.S. subsidiary, Mutum Sigillum LLC, of failing to register as a money-services company with the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. An account held by the online-payments firm Dwolla was subsequently seized.
Many feared the warrant execution could cast a chill over the bitcoin industry as a sector centered on a borderless, decentralized money came under the scrutiny of the federal government.
That proved not to be the case, Coinbase’s Ehrsam said. “For bitcoin to go mainstream, or as it goes mainstream, it will be used in a higher and higher amount of transactions,” he said, adding that Coinbase is registered as a money-services firm. “There’s no way there will be all this money flowing through an unregulated system.”
Chris Larsen -- the CEO of OpenCoin, a fellow San Francisco-based payment platform that processes most national currencies as well as bitcoin and its own virtual cash, Ripple -- agreed. “They definitely are regulating them, [and] we actually think that’s a really good thing for the industry,” he told IBTimes. “I thought the guidance was a good idea. One of the things the guidelines seem to make clear for the first time is that a virtual currency could be used for goods and services.” The Price Of Regulation
But such regulation is a slippery slope, said Jerry Brito, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
Perhaps it begins with measures to prevent money-laundering, he said. But what measures would the government take to prevent the untraceable currency from being used for child pornography or human trafficking?
“Bitcoin has the potential to be a disruptive technology that would be beneficial to the economy, and we don’t want to kill off that potential to get at the other potential for bad stuff,” he observed. Brito, who plans to speak next month at a conference on virtual currencies organized by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, added: “We’re already the first country to enforce money-laundering laws against bitcoin. But the U.S. would be shooting itself in the foot if it went too far [with regulations] and either outlawed bitcoin or made the legal guidelines impossible to comply with.” Will China Step In?
So far, Chinese bitcoin merchants have little to fear. For many, the CCTV segment on bitcoin seemed to be a signal from Beijing, which heavily controls the channel’s content, that the currency is worth exploring.
Some of those interviewed speculated that the Communist Party wants to see bitcoin stockpiled in China, allowing the government to invest in it if, or when, the dollar is shaken from its perch as the world’s reserve currency.
It remains to be seen whether -- or, more likely, when -- China will intervene in the trade of bitcoin in its own economy. But for the U.S. to experience widespread adoption of the currency, which is considered a necessary step for gaining a grasp on the bitcoin market, limited government control will have to allow the money, like the Internet that birthed it, to develop organically.
Bitcoin, it could only be solved by employing a trusted ledger-keeping third party. Bitcoin’s invention is revolutionary because, for the first time, the double-spending problem can be solved without a third party. Bitcoin does this by distributing the necessary ledger among all the users of the system via a peer-to-peer network. Jerry Brito, executive director at Coin Center, responded to the question in an article on Monday. There he makes the radical conclusion that there are no “individual, atomic units of Bitcoin” existing on the ledger. A Primer on Ontology A popular misconception about Bitcoin is that there are individual coins that can be tracked on the blockchain like dollar bills with serial numbers. Sometimes Right by Jerry Brito. is compose a new transaction message to be broadcast on the network for validation and inclusion in the blockchain by a miner. BITCOIN A Primer for Policymakers BY JERRY BRITO AND ANDREA CASTILLO Mercatus Center George Mason University 3351 Fairfax Drive, 4th Floor Arlington, VA 22201-4433 (703) 993-4930 mercatus.org Bitcoin is the world’s first completely decentralized digital currency. Bitcoin’s invention is revolutionary because for the first time the double-spending problem can be solved without the need for a third party. Bitcoin does this by distributing the necessary led-ger among all the users of the system via a peer-to-peer network. Every transaction that occurs in the bitcoin economy is registered
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