I wonder if the shutdowns last week played any his decision? Maybe he saw a large drop in volumes after the darknet markets were shut down and realized those use cases were much larger than he imagined.
As a positive claim, rather than a normative one, it has to be possible to observe that services like this have their great practical impact on criminals. Making such a positive claim can't "hurt the cause of privacy". If the cause of privacy wants to be taken seriously, it will need to grow up and stop demanding that people accept false sets of facts.
Would you say that the industry that use bitcoin mixers is bigger and involve more illicit money than the spam/scam/malware industry that use email?
To have a honest discussion, how would we measure the benefits and drawbacks of a bitcoin mixers? One way to measure the drawbacks is to look at how much money is involved in the by criminals, but I suspect that the collective of criminals that use email to conduct crime is bigger and involve much more money than those that use bitcoin mixers, so it seems we need to also measure the benefits. How would we do that? Redirecting the question to researchers and have them conduct anonymous surveys of legitimate users of such service?
This is pretty much why I think credit cards are unfairly one-sided, and is a big advantage to crypto-currencies like bitcoin. CC are as easy as possible for the consumer, but it's up to the business to guess if the consumer is authorized to use it, and there's no good way to be sure. Some people are going to be unfairly shafted. Oh and credit card networks can do things like shut off access to WikiLeaks if the US government asks them to. The system mostly works for most people in western countries - but it is very flawed.
At my company we use Stripe as our payment processor, which has their own fraud detection called Radar. But still, a bit under .1% of our transactions are fraudulent.
Credit card fraud is honestly a great business, even if they know you're doing it, the police wont do anything, and the merchant has to cover the cost and pay $15 for the privilege of being defrauded.
Sorta related, turns out there are anti-fraud services for fraudsters https://krebsonsecurity.com/2013/11/anti-fraud-service-for-f...
Professional VPNs are probably fine.
But assuming you don't want to:
1) Validate against the standard checksum formulas (this catches legit typos)
1c) Regardless of what happens next, send an order confirmation and play dead.
1d) If it fails any of the following steps, send a politely worded "issue with the order" e-mail and to contact you (after 24 hours). Use a reason that sounds generic rather than credit card specific.
2) Check GeoIP and compare against potentially geographic space. (this catches VPNs, etc. For instance, shipping to a US freight forwarder from a Russian IP is likely highly probably fraud. The customer can call/e-mail you if they get caught in this.)
2b) Services like https://www.maxmind.com/en/minfraud-services qualify for this.
3) Check address locations against known US freight forwarders / PO boxes / UPS Stores / etc. Force additional customer verification, like for IP addresses.
4) To validate repeat card usage, fingerprint cards that were successfully charged and you didn't receive a chargeback after the window closes:
You can use Stripe/Braintree tokens or your own implementation.
5) If it fails step 4:
5a) Run whatever business heuristics/signals that might be true for your customer base. Too specific to get into really.
5b) Actually charge the card and see what happens. If its declined by the credit card company, send the generic contact e-mail.
Some fancy online card processors will do this for you automatically. Otherwise, there's companies that do this logic for you, and work across processors.
Ultimately, we should all get out of the business of transferring money by just entering credit card numbers, which are easy t copy. Many parts of the world are already moving to systems that require 2fa, and fraud rates drop like a rock. Good luck convincing US banks and online retailers to change everything to do this though.
They used to use a password, but that risks people putting their bank password into some dodgy shopping site.
VISA's implementation: https://www.visaeurope.com/making-payments/verified-by-visa/
Beyond that, I'm not sure what that person is talking about.
Anyone accepting donations via PayPal
This is not correct, in my experience - largest constituency for many gift cards is merchandise resellers. I myself have purchased in the mid 5 figure range of gift cards and I've met people who've spent in the 7 figure range.
If you're in the Amazon world I'm sure you know of them, but if not I'd be happy to put you in touch (contact info in profile)
For volume gift cards, it's all about the discount. There's no way I would buy gc at no discount and have to pay cash, as PY offers last I checked.
If it ceases to exist, the good uses disappear too.
Indeed it is. Could you please elaborate?
His comment isn't equating privacy and criminality, it's acknowledging that some, if not a majority, of the profits of his service came through being an enabler to criminal activity. He's being realistic on the subject, you're the one who isn't.
I made a comment recently about why bitcoin developers think that privacy and fungibility is important: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14678032
One terrorist attack that was enabled by Signal? Should Signal then be destroyed?
Draw the line and we can debate that.
We, as citizens, need to do our part to keep perspective in the wake of attacks. Yes, they're scary, but they're rare and we should be able to endure them without getting hysterical. But I agree with our founders that we have certain inalienable rights that don't go away just because someone might be a criminal. And while privacy isn't explicitly enshrined in our bill of rights, it's completely within the spirit of that document. Aviation engineers don't try to get the coefficient of gravity changed. It's an immutable constant that's part of the framework in which they do their work. Privacy should, likewise, be an immutable constant that's part of the framework in which law enforcement tries to prevent and solve crime.
There are no immutable constants, gravitational or otherwise, in the world of human ideas. If you want me to agree with you that it's preferable to die than to be noninvasively and incidentally spied upon, it helps that cause not at all simply to say the truth of your perspective on the matter is as ineluctable as gravitation - this rather fails to convince.
We don't win by compromising ourselves and fighting at their level. We win by being true to ourselves and being strong in the face of adversity. The more we can be ourselves, the stronger we'll be.
But what constitutes our desired selves is exactly the discussion. That's the "line" that I was asked to draw and I absolutely drew it for myself and I made that clear. I wasn't arguing that privacy is an immutable construct, I was arguing that law enforcement should view it as such because I feel it's fundamental to our value system. You don't see an aviation engineer arguing that gravity shouldn't exist just to make his job easier. He or she embraces that constraint and adapts as best as possible. Similarly, I'd like law enforcement to just embrace that privacy is an expectation in a free country and work within that reality. Others are free to disagree with me about the true nature of our desired society. For them, privacy may not be an hard and fast requirement. For me it is. That's my line.
Perhaps it creates a necessity. Dying to uphold a principle is fine and good, and very much easier when you get to have the principle and someone else has to do the dying.
Noninvasively spied upon? Having your privacy violated is invasive, by definition. Having a situation where one centre of power has extensive information on the private details of practically the entire population is an extremely dangerous situation, because knowledge is power, and that level of asymmetry in knowledge can (and I would argue will) lead to the population at large being exploited by those within this centre of power.
And how did we go from dealing drugs to terrorism? Time out dude, time out.
Remove your objection of force here to stay on topic.
> if not a majority, of the profits of his service came through being an enabler to criminal activity. He's being realistic on the subject
In the same way Signal would be an enabler of terrorism.
Let's call both equivalent. Crime = crime.
Is encryption (or even the concept of privacy) then unethical because some benefit from it wrongly?
Bottomline: Just because we realize that people commit crime with tools not intended for crime should we then outlaw those tools?
To add something: When you're running such a service and care about the right to privacy, you should try to minimise its use for illegal purposes whenever possible.
It's quite counterproductive to glorify that criminal activity as some sort of heroic effort in defence of privacy rights, and gloating about it with a sort of haha-cant-stop-the-terrorist-inyourface. Because, yes, if your privacy tool becomes useful enough for that clientele to cause significant harm, people will start supporting its ban.
GP asked "where do you draw the line?" to a person who didn't make any normative claim at all.
However, strong and valid arguments against privacy don't make privacy not worth fighting for if you believe there are stronger arguments for it. I do. I assume you do based on your stance.
The world isn't black and white, so suggesting people shouldn't surface valid arguments (on either side of any issue) is more harmful in the long run. We need all the valid arguments, from as many people as possible, that we might make informed decisions on these important issues.
You can state an /opinion/, such as: "I believe the majority of that site's users were probably criminals."
Edit: My point is that "criminality" is a meaningless concept without context. Also, it lumps too many things that are clearly distinguishable.
People mentioned here are criminals by any reasonable definition of the word: illegal drugs, weapons, ordering hitmen, identity thefts, cc frauds, etc. The linked thread outright mentions few of these as the reason for closure. This isn't some moral dilemma.
I don't believe there could even be much legitimate use of bitcoin without mixers, people won't be willing to disclose that much information about themselves to everyone in the world.
Bitmixer.io guy/girl and others over there call them criminals and say they do illegal things (i.e.: weapons and drugs) using Bitcoin and mixers. Your distinction is really a moot point and being so pedantic serves no one and just looks stupid.
It's just like with Tor, government agencies want you to believe that it is used mostly for "criminals", but it isn't.
I fell to government propaganda? Which government's? American? Mine? I dislike both. Did the owner of Bitmixer fall to government propaganda too? They could see what their service was used for and decided there was too much sketchy stuff.
I support vpn, tor, bitcoin, etc. on principle but I have no idea (and it doesn't change my level of support no matter what the answer is) how much of it is used for legal or illegal but moral (China, dictatorships, etc.) stuff and how much for just crime (guns, drugs, hitmen, fraud, etc.) and I'm pretty sure you don't either.
Perhaps you fell to Kool Aid instead and are blind to all the abuse these enabled too?
A crime is a crime only if some authority says that it's a crime. Why should everyone on the Internet be subject to US law (and law of subservient US client states)? There is no law on the Internet except for the raw exercise of skill and power. Consider the NSA, for example. Or the Russians. Or Google and Facebook, for that matter.
There's a revolution going on. Freedom is coming, perhaps. Or failure and subjugation, if the kleptocrats win. Time will tell.
As for why people use tor - you can monitor tor metrics and read news from the countries where you see growth, you'll notice that most users come to tor just to circumvent censorship.
A crime is a crime, no matter the status of its perpetrator, there are lists of "unsolved crimes" where the criminal(s) responsible are still at large and/or unknown.
As for saying so-and-so by name being criminal, that might be slander if they weren't convicted but saying "people who commit crimes are criminals" is absolutely correct and always true, by definition of these words.
Why would there be a phrase "convicted criminal" if it was a tautology and "criminal" itself included the need for conviction in its definition?
Crimes become crimes only when perpetrator is caught and convicted? You can't call clearly illegal things like buying firearms with erased serial numbers or ordering weed and cocaine crimes just because the person doing it did not the caught (yet)?
Do you really think someone does not become a criminal the moment they order a kilo of crack, only the moment they get convicted?
If someone was clearly murdered would you also say they weren't actually murdered until the murderer himself is caught and convicted too? Murder is a crime after all and crime only is confirmed when the criminal is convicted, not when it happens. Can you trample all around the body or is it called a "crime scene" and restricted by the police the moment the prematurely dead body is found?
You are ridiculous, exactly the kind of nutjob (even pulling the "government propaganda" cards on me and the owners of bitmixer for calling drug traffickers criminals) people associated with privacy tools and the kind governments can point at to discredit these tools in people's eyes.
Not only that. The government must establish jurisdiction, or obtain the cooperation of whatever government has jurisdiction.
Indeed, they are.
> ... even though they were never prosecuted. ...
Moreover, even though jurisdiction was never properly established. And even if relevant laws are morally repugnant, and enacted by kleptocrats abusing their power.
> People who use those services are not uncaught criminals, this is just government propaganda, ...
Worse than propaganda, it's unprovoked aggression, by the powerful against the weak.
> they are legitimate users.
Most of them are, I believe.
If Internet users have the power to make their own law, their definition of criminality will be as "reasonable" as any other.
Edit: Amish users have the right to forgo Internet use. US/EU users have the right to forgo drugs and porn illegal under US/EU law. Same for Saudi users and Saudi law. But no one government has the right to rule the Internet.
In vast majority of countries even possession of drugs is illegal. Drugs trafficking and owning large quantities is usually illegal even in countries where possession for personal use is legal.
Weapons are even worse because of how liberal USA gun laws are compared to the rest of the world. There are many countries where the process to get a gun is much harder and full of bureaucracy and requires registering with the police.
Do you seriously want to make an argument that all of these guns and drugs are all Portuguese and Czechs buying 1g of coke or 10g of weed at a time, Swiss and Americans buying guns that are legal in their countries, registered with the police, etc.?
Don't be ridiculous. Tor and Bitcoin are used by criminals and it's not a coincidence.
And then there is the morality argument. Bitmixer owners felt their service was used by criminals (their words) and it left such a bad taste in their mouth that they shut it down on their own, there was no legal system involved. I can get behind that choice if that is really their reason. It's not like being an asshole is illegal but many (most) people still hate assholes and won't help them in any way. Just because something is legal (and again - drugs and weapons usually aren't) doesn't mean it should be done, applauded and enabled by convenient websites.
It is criminality in this case. It's called money laundering. Like it or not, it has been illegal since money has existed for very good reasons.
The point of Cryptocurrency is not to enable anonymous money laundering by criminals. It is in fact the exact opposite: to shine light on the entire system, as the OP stated.
It would probably not be hard for an interested party to piece together a good deal of an individual's transaction history given a couple of known btc addresses, especially if they don't follow the practice of generating a new address for every transaction (e.g., they, or one of their transaction partners, is a site that says "Send btc to this address to donate/buy/whatever").
And that's without law enforcement powers. Imagine what would happen if the fuzz link an address a few levels up the chain to a drug transaction. How long can bitcoin remain "dirty" and subject to confiscation as proceeds from illegal conduct? I don't really want to be a test case for that.
When I use a credit card, I know that my bank and the vendor have those records, but I also know that a random person is very unlikely to be able to get to them. In that sense, bitcoin is much less private than your ordinary centralized transaction methods; at least in that case, you have some idea who is able to review your records.
Thus, it is a good idea to "mix" coins, IMO. Third-party mixers are useful because the blockchain also contains metadata about each transaction, including the IP address of the node that relayed the tx, timestamps, etc. and it takes a lot of manual effort to get enough steps away that it's not obviously just sending money back and forth to yourself (less some network tx fees each time). It's hard to self-mix well.
NB. When I say 'coinbase' I mean coin generation from mining reward. Not the company. (I hate that they deliberately chose a name to confuse new users)
It's good to be made aware of the term, I've surely seen it mentioned before and read it as the company.
How does deliberately mixing your coins with the proceeds of illegal conduct help that situation at all? I don't think the government will consider mixing to be a magical crime eraser. Mixers will be the test case.
This was on HN a while ago: https://www.americanbanker.com/opinion/money-laundering-is-f...
As far as this being the "point" of cryptocurrency, it's rather silly to suggest the point is to massively increase traceability in transactions. Maybe that's just a limitation of Bitcoin.
But isn't a verifiable ledger of public transactions a valuable thing in and of itself? I believe the original intent of Bitcoin was to also help facilitate things like land deed transfers. A blockchain could easily replace all the of the "legals" sections in newspapers.
If you want a currency technology and platform that constrains activities to morally benevolent activities, it must either be heavily regulated (traditional systems) or designed and implemented as such (no such system yet exists).
Neither of these claims are true.
"Money laundering" as it is understood today only emerged in the 1980s during the war on drugs.
It's a crime because it's easier to prove and prosecute than any actual crime that might be facilitated by anonymizing money, like tax evasion. I'm not sure if that's a good reason, although it is a practical one. It's kind of like making encryption illegal because people might use it to break copyright law. The use of encryption isn't the actual crime, but it's easier to prosecute.
Nonsense. From wiki: "The term "money laundering" is said to have originated with the Italian mafia and such criminals as Al Capone who allegedly purchased 'Laundromats' to commingle (or mix) their illegal profits from prostitution and bootlegged liquor sales with legitimate business sales"
But furthermore I don't think it needs to be argued that people have been hiding money from governments since there has been money and governments. It will always be an implicitly illegal act regardless of the existence of specific statute because you are in the end avoiding taxation.
It's usually highly illegal because it involves falsifying records, including those filed with tax authorities (and because the purpose of that falsification is to conceal another crime.)
EDIT: My point (to the downvoters) is that not all "illegal" activities are immoral, and that reasoned people could legitimately consider willfully defying & hiding their defiance as an act of freedom. Case in point: Tea in 1773.
Could you help me think of an example where this type of privacy is useful, for non criminal reasons?
But regarding cryptocurrencies specifically:
Imagine an organization in one of the 74 countries where simply being homosexual is still illegal (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/gay-lesbian-bisexual...) that tries to save them from being prosecuted by the government.
This may require some anonymous cash.
Not all laws are equally just across time and space. The right to meet in secret and conduct transactions in secret aids transitions.
It seems to me your problem is more with the association between criminality and moral wrongdoing than that between privacy and criminality.
You may also not feel comfortable with your bank or government knowing all of your private financial interactions. There is no reason to blindly trust your bank or government to that extent.
Well, not really free. There's a cost associated, but it may not be initially applied to the consumer. It makes it's way through in some way though, such as an increased service cost. The most transparent industry for this is likely gas stations, which in the U.S. at least (and even then I can only comment on the regions I've observed it), they will quote different prices per gallon for cash and for credit/debit, which is them pushing the cost through to the consumer transparently. This was actually disallowed by card processing agreements in the past, because card processors didn't want the fees hampering acceptance of charge cards.
Trade offs I guess.
Anonymity on the internet causes people to act inappropriately, troll, comment offensively, conduct fraud and illegal activities.
Anonymity on the internet causes people to act inappropriately, troll, comment offensively, conduct fraud and illegal activities.
Interesting, because I think your example is even more effective as a counter-example to your point. As you noted, Hacker News is pretty anonymous, and without verification. Yet, compare the comments here, with Facebook comments on pretty much any news site. Or maybe any other site with Facebook comments. There is no comparison -- Hacker News, with all its anonymity, is much more civil, collegiate, and productive.
The lack of intelligent, earnest discourse online is much more complex than anonymity or the lack of it.
Thanks to self-moderation. Any stupid, low-quality comment turns [dead] pretty fast.
And content attracts above average intelligence audience in general. That also helps.
I'd argue this is the single most important thing the internet has given us. The possibility of honest discourse without fear of repercussion. It has single handedly changed the world.
The terms "act inappropriately", "comment offensively"… these are terms of control; tyranny of the majority.
Having to hear arguments you don't like or agree with is the single most important development humanity has ever achieved.
I hold nothing but scorn for the people who fight against minority voices.
Anonymity does remove social ostracism, but I disagree that social coherence is a bad thing.
Then they post stupid shit and you're like, "oh that's right, he's always been an idiot". And unfriend/unfollow.
Political discussions were historically off-limits in many social settings and a quick way to end real life friendships. Maybe it shouldn't be that way, but hanging out with like-minded people has always been a thing.
There's nothing wrong with that. If opinions have any power, some must be worse than others, and some may be actively harmful. Therefore, it is illogical to expect the "freedom" to publish opinions the majority considers immoral while expecting complete immunity from any reactions,
My belief is that the internet actually allows people to further insulate and isolate from minority POVs. Even though someone can butt into many online conversations without an invitation, this technique is interpreted as disruption and will typically only harden someone against the other side's influence.
Worse, the interfering party's humanity and commonalities are invisible to the other side; the disruptor is embodied merely as a wall of text to be torn apart, an inanimate object, instead of an earnest, sympathetic fellow being operating in good faith to contribute his/her POV to the discussion.
In the real world, the necessity of ongoing interaction with the same set of people requires everyone to at least tolerate the diversity of POVs with a bit of respect and decorum. Over time, as people grow closer and new data becomes visible, that perspective may become less and less foreign, and the good aspects of its owner revealed through regular interaction will more commonly prevent wholesale dismissal of people with a contrary POV, because there will be direct personal experience with a Real Person who holds it.
On the internet, no matter how crazy or isolated your beliefs/ideas are, you can find a cloister that will (at least appear to) parrot them back. Many people will isolate further and further into this group and feed off of each other with no input from the other side, allowing their caricatures to become more and more egregious and detached, leading to ever-increasing hostility and ultimately full dehumanization of those holding opposing POVs.
Of course, that isolation effect is not exclusive to the internet (cf. any wartime propaganda about the enemy "other", with whom most citizens would've had very little exposure), but IMO the internet allows it to occur more aggressively than ever. Anyone can retreat into their echo chamber after they've grown sick of the basic cohesion necessary to function in meatspace.
This is wrong. First thing anonymity should teach you is critical thinking. At least it should. After that, issues you are talking about are not really issues anymore.
Of course there is evidence and particular pockets of great good, but internet trolling, bullying, acting inappropriately, fraud, and scamming people greatly outweighs the good. Can't movements as important and big as Egypt still occur without anonymity? After all, a lot of the people tweeted and used Facebook with their real names and information.
> Can't movements as important and big as Egypt still occur without anonymity?
How is that even a question. Of course governments target people they see a potential threat. History is full of examples of movements being suppressed to protect the established seats of power.
You don't even need to go all the way to Egypt; the FBI's former program known as COINTELPRO was specifically about targeting potential leaders who speak up before they can form a larger movement.
> trolling, bullying
Have you ever actually been targeted by a person or group engaging in active trolling, bullying, or harassment? I doubt you have, because reliable anonymity is one of the only defenses against the current weapon of choice used to harass people that dare to express their opinion online: "doxing". Without anonymity, a lot more people would be subject to death threats (including their address and other specific details), calls to their neighbors or employer with slanderous accusations, swatting or worse.
However, the largest problem with insisting that communication must include real names is the chilling effect it has on groups like the usual racial minorities, LGBT people, or women. The entire concept of being "in the closet" is based on the fear that comes form knowing that speaking publicly in support of civil rights might risk sever harassment or even death.
I suggest watching Vi Hart's video from last year. It's difficult to watch. I'm hoping it can give you a sense sense of scale about the problems that are the daily reality of many people. Thanks to anonymous communication over the internet some of these problems are finally being discussed. People in targeted minority groups finally have a way they can communicate without risking harassment or death. Do you really want to tell them that they need to take that risk or get back in the closet?
Which isn't to say that one has to care about the faceless mob; I'm perfectly happy not interacting with pseudonymous or anonymous people outside of--well, basically HN, but the problem pseudonymity/anonymity solves in many quarters is real.
For example, is the Anshe Chung penis swam incident  acceptable?
Most people would not. Minority, like psychopaths, would try do it for a little bit, but they will be put down by mentally stable people very fast. After that normal humans will create new law by themselves and you are back to square one. Your example does not really work, because you have to expose your body in real life to do stuff.
And let's not compare murder with opinions on the internet in the first place.
Honesty on the internet cannot do real harm, annoyance maximum. If you are afraid of harassment, don't associate your persona with your opinion, anonymity will protect you.
We sacrificed "real life" freedom to hypocrisy already. Let's try to do better here.
To accept a card for a domestic transaction, merchants must go through a lengthy approval process and forfeit some portion of each sale to the payment processor (this has gotten substantially easier in recent years; before Stripe et al, you had to get a bank to underwrite your business before you could accept credit cards). Customers must possess a supported card, which also require approval and often come with other fees that the consumer must bear. For foreign transactions, you have to try to figure out whether your card will work in the first place, and if it will, many cards will charge foreign transaction fees, currency exchange fees, have additional verification and paperwork hoops, etc.
From this perspective, bitcoin is like cash; it is simple no matter what you're doing with it, and it doesn't require the permission of any bank. If you have bitcoin, you can distribute it as you see fit, without middlemen (ignoring miners since their controversies usually don't have a direct/immediate impact on users).
Almost certainly. But I suspect it is more a case of "I can now legally claim to have deleted and destroyed all my logs".
That will make any case directly against him very, very difficult.
If yes, then there is a very high probability that you are aiding criminals, too.
A decentralised currency for world trade that doesn't allow an arbitrarily chosen country to profit by simply printing notes and skimming off the top?
A payment system that doesn't pick an arbitrary corporation to rake in all the profits by nickel-and-diming every transaction in an economy?
It's also a currency where 75% of all possible coins are currently in circulation and in the hands of a tiny amount of people who are bound to become the new one-percenters (if not 0.01%) if it truly becomes the "world trade currency". With the added benefit to be almost impossible to trace and therefore to tax if the holder is even a little be clever.
I'm not saying that it's all white or all black but I'm a bit tired of the cynical libertarian cryptocurrency kool aid. "The current system is flawed, let's break everything and see what happens". And let's make a quick million while we're at it, a new sucker is born every minute.
Given how easy it seems to evade taxes nowadays when you're super rich I can't imagine how it'd be when anybody can basically generate a new untraceable wallet for any transaction. Corruption will never have been so lucrative.
I am also a notable figure in some circles and do not want my name or credit card information to appear in the ledgers of certain vendors, despite them being legitimate businesses, due to potential records being exposed from hacking. I therefore use BTC and I've used mixing services on top of that.
There's plenty of other reasons, but those are my first-world ones. And I'm not even a privacy nut.
I watched this video a few days ago and my wife was sitting next to me on her own laptop distractedly listening to what I was watching and remarked it was a really good easy to understand explanation of blockchain.
The part near the end about software verification was really eye opening for me. I'd never considered the use cases of blockchains and the impact they can have outside of crypto-currencies.
I've been reading about and investing in crypto-currencies (mainly ETH) for almost a year now. I'm a software developer so seeing the promise in the technology is easier for me than my wife.
>My plane could compare the code generated by its wing with the code stored on ledgers in the other 99 planes.
So you don't trust the code of your "wings" but you trust the code that verifies it?
And why do you need a decentralized architecture for this? Just ask the plane software vendor to certify a version of your software and use that? What does bringing the blockchain into the mix give you?
If you're in a truly decentralized scenario (e.g. a lot of open source software) then what he's describing is basically "web of trust" as implemented in PGP for instance. A lot of software is released with a PGP signature to identify the source. Again, blockchain is pointless here.
>If the plane was autonomous it could decide not to take off unless all the other 99 planes gave it the ok.
What? Why? How? How could the other planes validate that this plane is not lying about its code checksum? And how is the blockchain involved in any of this?
>And it's in contrast with how we'd solve this today. The plane would have to have communicated with a central server, a single point of failure, vulnerable to fault and tampering. This central server would be a closed system, owned by one company making it hard for other devices to inter-operate.
Ah, so we're going full FUD now. Clearly distributed and redundant architectures are impossible without the blockchain. Well, I'm dumping my retirement fund into Dogecoin, you've convinced me.
More seriously, the one thing the blockchain is good at is "timestamping" events. If I wanted to prove that I had written a certain doc right now for instance I could compute its sha256 and store it in the blockchain. Later that'll be very strong evidence that I actually did have this document at the time. That's the "immutable ledger" feature.
You could also have this certified by a notary or held in a bank vault or something. Basically it's Proof of Work (blockchain) vs. Proof of Stake (bank/notary, who would have a lot to lose if caught lying, especially for relatively small amounts of money as we use day-to-day).
Sure? I think most would find this hard to believe. That was such an odd way to start the announcement.
I'm bitcoin enthusiast since 2011. When we started this service I was convinced that any Bitcoin user has a natural right to privacy. I was totally wrong. Now I grasped that Bitcoin is transparent non-anonymous system by design. Blockchain is a great open book. I believe that Bitcoin will have a great future without dark market transactions. You may use Dash or Zerocoin if you want to buy some weed. Not Bitcoin.
I hope our decision will help to make Bitcoin ecosystem more clean and transparent. I hope our competitors will hear our message and will close their services too. Very soon this kind of activity will be considered as illegal in most of countries.
If you take what he says at face value, it's that he's no longer interested in supporting Bitcoin because it didn't live up to his privacy expectations.
Edit: commenters below are right and I was wrong. He's really saying that he no longer feels like the Bitmixer service is needed because he no longer believes that Bitcoin should be anonymous.
He said "I was convinced of a right to privacy" and "I was wrong". This is someone who has either seen (or perhaps been shown) the sort of thing that is enabled when you give criminals a way to exchange value anonymously. And found that he did not want to be the agent enabling that sort of thing.
If an officer came to you and said, "Here is a photo of a 12 year old girl who was kidnapped and sold as a sex slave. The payments were all in bitcoin and we would have caught the criminals involved if they had not used your service to hide their transactions." I have a tremendous amount of respect for anyone who would look at that situation and decide to turn off their service and forego any more profit to keep from being a part of that pipeline.
They'd just use cash. The argument against anonymous transactions and tumblers is the same as the argument against cash. Besides, this kind of emotional blackmail is the reason people avoid talking to the police.
While true, criminals dislike getting ripped off just as much as normal people and have a wider variety of remediation techniques at their disposal. Cash pipelines are really really hard to manage without losses and/or disclosing identifiable/traceable information.
What about people writing secure messaging services? "This terrorist attack would have been prevented if it wasn't for your encryption!"
I would personally refuse to work on a secure messaging service because the thought of making a product that will be used by awful people to do awful things would actually be offputting. If that's less of a concern to you than having secure communication, whatever, go nuts. Not everyone is a gung-ho privacy advocate though.
Sounds like when TrueCrypt shut down and they recommended Microsoft's BitLocker.
It's unfortunate that such crime exists, and it's also fascinating that we can operate as a civilization with such crime going on. It's also unfortunate that such criminals will most likely adopt cryptocurrencies. Criminals are innovative, but that doesn't mean all innovations come from criminals or are used for criminal activities. Just like criminals use cash; that doesn't mean all cash is used for crime, and if criminals use cryptocurrencies, that doesn't mean all cryptocurrency is used for crime.
I suppose that's a conundrum that crypto creators face: knowing that criminals will use your work to protect their criminal activities. For some people, something should be avoided if it allows for even one single instance of the smallest crime. Other people understand that if you want something good, you have to accept that some people will use it for evil. Like the First and Second Amendments of the US Constitution; Free Speech and the right to bear arms can both be used for good and bad.
Thank you for sharing the link, that was a very interesting read.
Cash and gold trade has done well for thousands of years. As another commenter put it:
"If you truly believe in bitcoin as a currency then it should be used to buy anything and everything good or bad."
The most likely explanation is government pressure coming from side channels, but nothing specific. Likely has a warning shot fired across his bow and he's getting out of it with these idealistic words as his message.
In which case, you are just mixing your coins with other criminals, as there's going to be very little 'clean' money going into the mix. So your coins that were 'tainted' by buying weed online are now possibly associated with arms dealing, fraud, child porn or any number of serious crimes. Doesn't seem like a great benefit.
It provides privacy. Why should Coinbase be able to see where my money went?
As far as clean, if a criminal is cleaning their own money but gets other "dirty" coins, that's fine, since they're not connected to any crimes they committed. Plus, presumably, the other dirty coins will be spread over so many users that it just does not provide a real return on investment for LE to follow.
You're implying that mixers and tumblers are ONLY dedicated malicious services.
What you're forgetting is that hot wallets used on popular bitcoin services also serve as tumblers. The distinction between a "malicious tumbler" and a service's hot wallet is just the dedicated use.
For example, if a bitcoin shopping site had a wallet you deposited coins into, you'll be recording that you have <number> of coins and they will show that. Your coins will be mixed with their hot wallet and who knows how long they keep them in there.
If you wait a few days and withdraw, chances are that most (if any) are NOT your original coins.
Not to mention, if you blacklisted these coins, then users who receive these coins wouldn't be able to legitimately use them.
TL;DR: Tumbling services are just dedicated to tumbling bitcoins. Most semi-large bitcoin services with hot wallets inadvertently tumble their user's bitcoins.
To be allowed to operate in X country, we had to specifically store a replica of customers accounts in their jurisdiction, so that all servers and data could be seized by the local law enforcement should the need arise.
The stories goes that these requirements raised after some shady gambling companies left with all their customer funds.
As I understand it, bitcoin doesn't track coins so much as it tracks the funds associated with account numbers. When you have "dirty" coins, it's really that people know an account (say, A) has illegitimately gotten funds (say, $x).
A tumbler functions by taking $x from A, transferring it to the tumbler account (say, T), and then transferring it on to other accounts (eg, B1, B2, ..., Bn) in various amounts that total the input ($x) minus some fee. Something like:
(A, $x) -> [T] -> [(B1, $y1), (B2, $y2), ... (Bn, $yn)]
It would seem like any legitimate business would hand over that information when requested (or subpoenaed).
It's actually the opposite. The blockchain does track coins, but not accounts or account numbers. Rather, each transaction involves "scripts" which specify some conditions with which coins can be used as inputs to another transaction.
In a normal transaction, one key can spend the coins, but e.g. it is possible to send coins to a script that is impossible to satisfy, therefore the coins are unspendable, yet don't exist in an 'account' at all.
Pop! The genie is seriously out of the bottle. If you don't know about how these things work, you should probably take some time to at least start to understand it.
-Poorly at that -- do we really think the people who catch launderers of actual money will be stymied by the transaction log of your average tumbler? It makes way more sense to launder money by renting BTC mining hardware and electricity from someone who doesn't care where the money came from, taking a loss but effectively trading your "tainted" BTC for brand-new BTC.
That kind of service is not needed if you're dealing with cash.
Money laundering, if you need that, is a different step that must be taken after the "mix".
Vendors mixing coins with each other.
It's difficult to know what they do with the coins, but they could be selling them on an exchange to move onto a different currency and then buy bitcoin again.
Nobody's bothered doing this yet on any kind of scale, but that is only because major players in the underground Bitcoin space have found other ways to get caught.
It makes absolutely no sense, and it doesn't feel natural.
My guess is that they have been chased by some government agencies and now they are closing down and putting this message to show good faith.
With no evidence for either, it's simply speculation.
Schnorr signatures will lead to something dubbed by some as "incentivized privacy".
Where is the new information? Every reason he is giving was already there and already clear at the beginning.
The wallet balances are not public if you use the private option. You're right that privacy is optional, and that is not good. But those who do use the private option do indeed get good privacy.
As for the CEO's statement, I haven't seen it. I also don't think one should be basing their decision on whether to trust a cryptocurrency's privacy claims on what their CEO says. It should be based on audits of the source code.
And aren't private transactions like 5% or so, making them very visible?
I agree that unenforced privacy is not good.
No mining pool, exchange or high throughput business is going to send secure transactions.
Although, maybe they could charge extra for it.