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Bitcoin Used For the Narcotics Trade

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the this-is-your-brain-on-virtual-currency dept.

Privacy 535

An anonymous reader writes "A story on Aljazeera tells how bitcoin is being used to pay for cocaine, marijuana and other drugs at various eBay style drug websites. From the article: 'Two US senators are asking federal authorities to crack down on an online narcotics market that accepts "virtual" currency. The "Dark Web," an anonymous and secretive online community that trades in heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines among other drugs, has been operating unhindered for months.' Who said bitcoin is not used in the real world?"

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535 comments

It's not just Bitcoin. (3, Interesting)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351174)

Most of these alternative-currencies (Bitcoin, e-gold, etc) find themselves on the shady side of things pretty quickly - especially money-laundering and the like. This is not at all surprising, really.

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351316)

Most of these alternative-currencies (Bitcoin, e-gold, etc) find themselves on the shady side of things pretty quickly - especially money-laundering and the like. This is not at all surprising, really.

It's going to be that way until we finally repeal the idiotic War on Drugs and admit that in a so-called "free country" it is wrong to ever tell consenting adults what they may do with their own bodies in their own homes. War on Drugs is a total failure anyway. Anybody who wants drugs can get them. It has done nothing to stop them.

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (0, Flamebait)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351540)

People are bad enough with alcohol and cigarettes. I'd hate to see what happened if you let people have unrestricted access to harder drugs. Most people can barely look after themselves as it is, let alone the children that those type of people tend to churn out, Idiocracy style.

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (0)

crank-a-doodle (1973286) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351630)

Have you ever seen a dude high on on some drug fighting? NO! they're all like peace bro! I think drugs might be a social service!:P but seriously drugs don't kill people, people kill people!

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (2, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351858)

Have you ever seen a dude high on on some drug fighting? NO! they're all like peace bro! I think drugs might be a social service!:P but seriously drugs don't kill people, people kill people!

My brother-in-law was 16 when he was murdered by an acquaintance who was high on drugs at the time.

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (1, Insightful)

infodragon (38608) | more than 3 years ago | (#36352014)

It's not about the users. The users typically become addicted to whatever substance they are using. It's those that control the supply, they control the users. In other words, it's power. No matter what side you look at..

It boils down to power and who is going to wield that power. You find a way to decouple power from narcotics and then you can have a free society in which people make their own choice. In any other situation the lever of addiction will be pulled to the greatest effect to line the pockets of the one who's hand is on that lever. More often than not, the hand on the lever is in reality placed on a gun with somebody else having to deal with the receiving end. Police officer, drug lord or middle man; they are all fighting for that power.

In any case the person consuming the narcotic is giving power to somebody. The addiction drives them to get it however they can which means that power goes indiscriminately to whoever provides the quickest/cheapest fix. The casual user is capable of making more informed decision on how they obtain but it still eventually gets to a drug lord; exception being home grown stuff, which is a very small portion of the opiate trade.

To say the least I'm tired of the mantra "have you ever seen a dude high on some drug fighting." Set aside PHP for a moment and then have you ever seen some dude wanting to get high fighting, stealing, murdering...? If you haven't just open a news paper of your nearest metropolitan area.

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351654)

I agree. We should continue to punish responsible users because some idiots might not be able to handle freedom. Makes total logical sense.

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351766)

People are bad enough with alcohol and cigarettes

Yeah, and did people fight and die in the streets over alcohol when it was illegal, or after it was legal again? Did ruthless violent gangs form around the alcohol trade when it was illegal, or after it was legal again? What funded Al Capone again?

Abandon the fantasy. It has never worked. It won't work. When an idea not only fails to work but has a tremendous cost to society, it's time to admit the idea has failed. You haven't a leg to stand on. Maybe this is a religious belief for you because there are no facts that support you.

news flash (2)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351830)

if you really want a harder drug, there is very little keeping you from getting it, and it's been that way for thousands of years. forget drugs, look what happens when you give millions of people unrestricted access to slashdot. basically if your group has more than 5 people your fate is to enjoy watching at least one of them misbehave, no matter what the circumstance.

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (3, Informative)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351856)

And the solution to that is to fight an unwinnable war that increases violence all over, drives the profit of making drugs higher, and spends billions of our tax dollars to make shit worse for us?

Why don't we treat drugs like the public health problem they are, rather than something to be "fought"? You can't protect everyone from themselves, but you can help them help themselves. And you'd have a lot fewer women and children beheaded [cnsnews.com] because of attitudes like yours.

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351928)

That's why the root causes should be addressed. This pathetic notion of just trying to cover up the symptoms while leaving the causes unaddressed only serves to make things worse. Legalise the drugs, but make damn-well sure that people are not left behind by society. Poor people should be cared for, the sick should be treated, and society as a whole should do everything it can to make every member as productive as possible. Yes, the toll of drug abuse on society can be horrific, but it doesn't always have to be that way. Most of the damaging aspects of drug abuse arise simply because drugs are illegal - people feel they can't get treatment for addiction (at least at a price they can afford), and due to the nature of the black market prices are blown all out of proportion, and standards of quality are never maintained. Prohibition does not work. It just gives power to criminals, and throws normal people to the mercy of those same criminals. Surely society should be there to help people.

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (4, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36352000)

Drug usage dropped here in Portugal when it was decriminalized.

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351354)

Al Jazeera? Sounds a little too much like al quaeda to me. I don't have any interest in listening to what a bunch of terrorist sympathizing talking heads have to say.

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351500)

The New York Times? Sounds a little too much like The terrorists to me. I don't have any interest in listening to what a bunch of terrorist sympathizing talking heads have to say.

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (2)

bhagwad (1426855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351966)

Your brilliant insight of relating two things because their names sound similar has made me a huge fan of you :D . Now I look at Obama with new eyes!

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351374)

Then I'd say Bitcoin and the like should already be accepted as actual currency, because guess what other things are used in exactly those ways?

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351560)

Poker chips? Dirty laundry? TELL ME!

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (2)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351522)

BAH! Who needs bitcoin when the regular banks got your back [bloomberg.com] ?

The entire market in contraband is too big to punish without trashing the economy even more... They don't want to stop drugs, they want to control them... It's the controlled substances act

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (4, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351612)

Right, because its the currencies' issue. Its not like I've ever bought bags upon bags of pot with dollars and euros.

What would be surprising would be currency that wasn't ever used for illicit things. It doesn't and will never exist. Especially with conservative philosophies that don't let us decrim or legalize mostly safe things like pot or ecstasy.

Open your eyes, all these guys are doing is playing up "War on Drugs" bullshit so they can get larger budgets next year so that a SWAT team can no-knock your home and shoot you when you try to defend yourself thinking you're being robbed.

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (2)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351700)

Nobody's saying it's the currency's fault. Its just that such a setup as Bitcoin has is quite attractive to those who would like a little more discretion in their spending habits. Bitcoin provides that. So it's no surprise that it would be a target for money laundering and illicit sales.

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351688)

How does this work? Bitcoin is anonymous right until you receive the contraband. If you're making anonymous drug trades with someone on the internet, there's even less guarantee that they're not a cop than if you're working with someone you know. If you have to receive the drugs in person, the extra anonymity doesn't help you.

And at this point, why are drug dealers the first to get on board with Bitcoin? Bitcoins are only valuable if you can trade them for something useful. If you can buy drugs with Bitcoins, that makes them valuable to the cusomer. But what will the drug dealer do with the Bitcoins?

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351842)

re-up?

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36352010)

And at this point, why are drug dealers the first to get on board with Bitcoin?

From what I've seen, a lot of the time, a drug dealer is what happens when a problem with authority meets get-rich-quick gullibility, and a smalltime drug producer is where those things intersect with geeky techno-enthusiasm.

Bitcoin itself is rather shady in nature. Essentially it is an obfuscated pyramid/ponzi scheme (here are some tokens in a database: they are redeemable for nothing -- but you should be willing to trade goods, services, and real money in return for them being transferred to your account because we're requiring people to waste more and more computer resources and electricity to have them added to their accounts out of nothing!).

It's only natural that it should attract a shady element, especially a gullible, anti-authority, geeky techno-enthusiast shady element.

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (2)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#36352032)

Exchanges like Mt. Gox will trade dollars for bitcoins and vice versa.

There was an article recently on a popular drug-purchasing website that is hosted as a Tor service and uses bitcoins. The drugs are sent to you in the mail. This of course gives you no anonymity at all. Only the money and the website are anonymous.

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (1)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351692)

Ehm, I don't think you can put e-gold, a gold-bullion backed currency (that was used for money laundering) together with bitcoin.
And we've had enough bitcoin articles. Ok, I know the people who started bitcoin do everything they can to give it value and become rich, but enough with the slashvertisement!

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351894)

More importantly, bitcoin isn't that cool anymore. The initial wave of guys got in and generated hundreds of bitcoins an hour. Last week, I set up my work laptop crunching via one of the more popular co-ops. Over a week, I generated 1 bit CENT. That's about 7 cents real money. I tried to transfer that bit cent, and was told that I couldn't, because there's a one bit cent tariff for all transactions. I know GPU is much, much faster, but we're looking at sinking multiple real-world cents worth of electricity into every bit cent that's generated, and there's a finite quantity to mine, most of which is already in the hands of BC's founders. Why exactly is this a good thing? Count me out.

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (1)

emmette (2237752) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351732)

Neal Stephenson nailed it over 12 years ago in Cryptonomicon

this is hilarious (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36352016)

alternative currencies find themselves doing illegal stuff?

what do you suppose real currencies do? the exact same thing.

This just in: it's actually harder to track with USD than it is via bitcoins.

Re:It's not just Bitcoin. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36352070)

Generally alternative currencies outside of the control of governments quickly are put to their most valuable uses.

Recouping the deadweight loss from illegalization of the drug trade is one area.

The also used cash to do this for many years (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351190)

Your government is responsible for aiding this trade!
 
I think we are going to see a lot of anti bitcoin smokescreen stories pushed down the pipe line at us. Until they tax bitcoin. Then you'll see "Baby heart transplant paid for with bitcoin" stories in the news.

Re:The also used cash to do this for many years (2)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351514)

The lack of tracability probably makes bitcoin more apt for this task, which I think is the real story.

Overall, bitcoin has that same "cool concept used by too many of the wrong people" feeling as freenet.

Re:The also used cash to do this for many years (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351658)

small non-sequential unmarked bills are equally untraceable, possibly more so if the bitcoin user neglected actively trying for anonymity.

Re:The also used cash to do this for many years (1)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351900)

and BitTorrent.

Great. (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351204)

I, for one, do not want to have to explain to some thugtastic DEA jackboots that "hash-based currency" can be acquired by legitimately doing a bunch of math, as well as by other means...

Huh. (1)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351220)

And here I thought it'd be porn, not drugs that would get bitcoin going.

Re:Huh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351296)

why did you think of that? you can buy real sex and porno with real money, and arrange the whole thing through internet(except for the sex part and then you could exchange real money without fuss or fear of tracking or such).
drugs on the other hand are exactly the sort of thing that people would like to buy over the internet, but don't want to use paypal or such for it, in case they're busted when the shipment arrives. with bitcoin they'll have nothing on you as having paid/ordered for it.

Re:Huh. (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351406)

Who the hell pays for porn?

Re:Huh. (2)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351454)

Enough people that they keep making it.

Re:Huh. (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351478)

Ads pay for porn as well.

Re:Huh. (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351516)

Who the hell pays for porn?

There are a lot of people out there....either stupid or uneductated about things enough to have no clue you can find pr0n for free.

For a fun experiment, I've been thinking of doing some kind of USENET scraping...to gather some porn for free....set up a web server and charge suckers for it, just to see how many try to pay me for free porn I get.

I have to guess I'd get a decent amount of money....just got to target the code to be careful to NOT get anything illegal out there and post it on the site.

Re:Huh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351990)

I've done this, but gathered the porn from ampland.com and thehun.net using Anawave's Websnake when I was 14. I went through viewed each image one by one and removed the ones with any male parts. Called it Ted's Fem Files. This was before bandwidth was available for mass popularity of videos.

You get in trouble because you have to have hard-copy signed releases from each of your girls on file. This is law separate from the copyright claims you'd also have to deal with.

Re:Huh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36352034)

And to pay for the lawyers when you get sued for distributing someone else's content.

Re:Huh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36352020)

Who the hell pays for porn?

People who want to support the producers of it/models in it? Not everything that is created is the worst sort of handycam nastyness. Some places actually try to do original things in a way that bucks the traditional image of the industry. I remember seeing a piece on Kink.com on one of the networks, and about how they rehabbed this old building into a studio and also community center for LGTB events and art fairs and stuff.

Problem will solve itself (4, Insightful)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351226)

Also, at what point did it become a good idea to buy illegal drugs over the Internet? What exactly do you plan on doing when your 10k in Cocaine doesn't show up at your doorstep?

Re:Problem will solve itself (1)

batquux (323697) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351298)

It's ok, it says right on the item page that they definitely aren't cops and they only need your address for delivery purposes.

Re:Problem will solve itself (2)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351438)

Finally! A privacy policy you can believe in...

Re:Problem will solve itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351302)

Sigh.

Re:Problem will solve itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351344)

Give them a bad rating on http://www.ratemydealer.com/ [ratemydealer.com]
Create a Mydrugdealersucks.com blog?
Flame them in random forums?

Re:Problem will solve itself (3, Insightful)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351370)

I believe the idea with Silk Road and similar sites is that they are reputation-based. So apart from just making sure that you and the seller are in the same country you can also check his/her reputation, someone with a very good or perfect reputation is unlikely to screw you over.

Also, from what I've seen from checking out Silk Road it appears to be mostly smaller amounts of drugs being sold, 5-10 grams of marijuana, a handful of MDMA pills and similar quantities. So not exactly $10k worth of cocaine. Besides, most sellers are doing this to make money and if they want to stay in business they are likely to want to keep their good reputation (there's always the risk of someone deciding to abuse their reputation to scam people out of larger amounts of bitcoins or the police creating a bunch of fake accounts but overall the risk should be fairly low if you buy from sellers with a solid reputation, sort of how the drug trade works in real life only you don't have to come face to face with the dealer)...

Re:Problem will solve itself (1)

Jack9 (11421) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351446)

Agreeing to buy and actually making the transaction are different things. People have been buying over the internet since the 90's. AOL chat was a prime place to ask "poke smot?" then escalate.

Re:Problem will solve itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351530)

drug dealers have a natural rating system, reputation based.

Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351228)

The big guys in the drug market also have their own currencies, so what. crack down the MC clubs instead

Hash Based (5, Funny)

jeremiahstanley (473105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351242)

Nothing like using a hash to score some hash.

Re:Hash Based (1)

sargon666777 (555498) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351570)

+1 Funny Wish I had some mod points

What country? (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351266)

Are these web sites and deals happening inside the US? If not what are US Senators going to do about it?

Re:What country? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351332)

Have you been following what the DoJ and DHS has been doing at all for the past few months?

Re:What country? (1)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351576)

Are these web sites and deals happening inside the US? If not what are US Senators going to do about it?

I'd imagine mandatory filtering of Bitcoin traffic by ISPs will be suggested, at some point. Inevitably we'll end up with the Great Firewall of USA; fortunately Cisco and friends have plenty of experience implementing that sort of thing already.

False Flag. (1)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351274)

Welcome to the first sign that the Wunch of Bankers that lord it over us have spotted a threat..

Is anyone surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351286)

Why is anyone surprised over an anonymous payment system?

Hay! News flash - The drug trade also uses COLD HARD CASH and refillable debit cards.

so illegal businesses are using illegal currency (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351308)

in related news, ATF and FBI raids have also found cartel trafficking drugs and using antique bottle caps as currency. Numerous antique shops around the country are being investigated for money laundering cases.

Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351312)

Fuck the busybodies who think they get to decide what people put into their bodies. Fuck the moral crusaders. The less control the "government" has over everything the better.

Bitcoin features (4, Insightful)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351340)

Bitcoin has the feature, that it can't be inflated (claimed by their proponents). However, that's very good reason, why government might want to outlaw it: you're avoiding a tax, the "inflation tax".

They just need some stories about some drug dealers, pedophiles, terrorists who use Bitcoin, and it will be pretty easy to crack it down.

Re:Bitcoin features (2, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351892)

>Bitcoin has the feature, that it can't be inflated (claimed by their proponents).

More than that. If buttcoin actually becomes an actual alternative to paper currency, it has built-in hyperdeflation.

There are 21 million buttcoins (roughly) to be mined, and that's it. Over time you have fewer buttcoins (because they can be destroyed) chasing after more goods (because of economic growth).

This means that any leveraged purchases are a fools' errand - capital machinery, durable goods, houses, bought on credit, are the worst deals in the world because you pay with money that is worth more over time. Deflation serves only the hoarders and creates a braking effect on an economy, because why spend money today when it will be worth more tomorrow?

Buttcoin is a scam made to enrich the hoarding early adopters. It's a sort-of ponzi scheme.

And now it's being used for money laundering.

The sooner it's stomped out of existence the better.

--
BMO

Re:Bitcoin features (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36352066)

The fact that it's useful for buying things which the government doesn't want you to have pretty much guarantees that it will be used.

Bitcoin is subject to inflation, sort of. (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351948)

If the US Dollar is getting stronger against the Euro and the BitCoin and the BitCoin is getting stronger against the Euro, then for people who live their lives on the Dollar, the BitCoin appears to be subject to inflation but not as much as the Euro. For those who live their lives on the Euro, BitCoin appears to be subject to deflation but not as much as the US Dollar.

To those who live their lives on the BitCoin, the US Dollar appears to be deflating and the Euro inflating.

Substitute one set of commodities whose prices are rising for "Euro" and another set of commodities whose prices are falling for "American Dollars" and you can see inflation and deflation at work at the same time in the same currency. We see this all the time with the Dollar, where consumer inflation and producer inflation are rarely exactly the same. If both are close to zero in a given month, one may show inflation and one may show deflation.

Re:Bitcoin features (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351994)

Bullshit,

It's a currency tied to computational power vs complexity. The complexity of the problem increases over time but so does availability of computing power. If that balance is ever upset the value of bitcoins will plumit/skyrocket just like the value of gold would if a fleet of galleons went down with the royal treasury or some yokel struck it big in his back yard.

Re:Bitcoin features (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36352036)

That is the exact reason the US no longer has a $500 bill. They stopped its circulation to make it more difficult to transport large sums of currency.

Re:Bitcoin features (2)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 3 years ago | (#36352064)

Inflation at a controlled rate is good for the economy. Deflation, which is what bitcoins are designed from the ground up to produce, is much more dangerous. In a deflationary system, your money is worth more tomorrow than it is today. Why bother investing that money in anything when the money will be worth more tomorrow than it is today? And if the bitcoin economy is increasing fast enough, you'll reach a point where there is no conceivable investment that is better than just stashing bitcoins in a safe place. Which, of course, restricts the number of bitcoins in actual circulation even further, increasing demand, increasing the value, and making a mattress full of money an even better investment.

Obviously inflation beyond a certain point is also dangerous, but deflation it creates a positive feedback cycle of hoarding cash. No investment, no loans, bare minimum spending. One of the reasons for the Federal Reserve dropping and keeping interests rates to near 0% for the past 3 years was to prevent the US entering the deflation spiral, and it's still not entirely clear if they succeeded; prices on many commodities have dropped for months at a time and the measured inflation rate was negative in many areas of the country last year.

Strangely worded (2)

xednieht (1117791) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351352)

The $US dollar is by far the most popular currency used in narcotics trade.

Next story (3, Insightful)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351356)

Dealers sell drugs to users using local currency, Senators pass a law to outlaw the $100 bill.

Re:Next story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351422)

They need to outlaw drugs while they're at it.

Re:Next story (2)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351552)

Yes, the government has already required banks to report any cash transactions using a lot of 100 bills or transactions over I think it was $3000 that are unusual for a client to the government. I think the penalty was $250k for each unreported incident and they nailed one East Coast back as an example. I was working for a bank and had to write the reporting code when that first happened. That was about 8 or so years ago if I remember. So they have not outlawed the $100 bill but recognized its important role in drug traffic and other illegal activities and have the bank locked down for automatic snitching for them. So it appears that part of the world has started to adapt, but I suspect that regular currency is still by far the most used.

But then make weed legal and tax it. That would clear the cost of the people arrested and held in prisons which we pay for, not to mention the cost of the prosecutions and the profit of private prison companies. It would also cut out a lot of the financing for organized crime and help reduce the government defiicit an get more jobs for people, esp famers, and the byproduct of hemp are there as well. We went through this with alcohol and have been flirting with it with tobacco. With tabacco they have taken a mid road, allowing the sale, with warnings, and limiting the effect on other people.

Re:Next story (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351850)

Why use $100s?
Switch to $50s or $20s, or even better 500 Euro bills.

Re:Next story (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351874)

Dealers sell drugs to users using local currency, Senators pass a law to outlaw the $100 bill.

€500 notes withdrawn over organised crime fears [telegraph.co.uk]

The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), which coordinated the voluntary industry move, said there is ''no credible legitimate use'' for the note in Britain.

Presumably this just means the criminals will go to Ireland or some other Eurozone country, where there are legitimate uses for a €500 note. If you can smuggle that quantity of cash into the UK it won't be difficult to take it to France or Ireland -- there are no customs checks, just security (explosive/etc) checks if relevant to the means of transport (i.e. take the ferry, or your own plane/yacht).

(€500 = US$730)

Oh great (2)

MaxBooger (1877454) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351382)

Yet another bitcoin story posted by samzenpus. I smell a rat.

This is an ad (2)

Jiro (131519) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351414)

Again.

Remember when we had the "mistaken pot busts" Bitcoin story where the first five paragraphs were just about Bitcoin, and the pot bust was not only buried in the article but attributed to an IRC chat?

This one is slightly better in that it's not mainly about Bitcoin, but it's obvious that Slashdot is being pumped full of Bitcoin articles by Bitcoin promoters.

Re:This is an ad (3, Insightful)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351652)

it's obvious that Slashdot is being pumped full of Bitcoin articles by Bitcoin promoters.

Well, duh. Slashdot is also pumped full of Linux articles by Linux fans, pumped full of video game articles by video game fans, and pumped full of science articles by science fans. News for Nerds, remember? Nerds are interested in BitCoin, because it's an interesting bit of software.

Re:This is an ad (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351724)

You think this is a promotion? I guess among drug users, but I don't think that's the majority of Slashdotters. Maybe I'm wrong about that of course. I just see this as an "oh great, the US government is going to crack down on bitcoin" story.

Interesting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351440)

This is interesting, now the "worthless" bitcoins actually have value, as people are will to trade valuable illegal drugs for it.

All money is after all an I.O.U.

Re:Interesting. (3, Insightful)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351768)

What would be interesting is if you can find an actual example of someone willing to sell drugs for bit-coin. This story offers no examples at all.

Another Bitcoin crap story (3, Insightful)

Lieutenant_Dan (583843) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351442)

Last week it was about an imaginary bust of a Bitcoiner "miner" who may be using too much electricity, making law enforcement potentially believe that it was a grow-op.

Today is a story about virtual currency that is barely used anywhere to be used on online drug trading. Not Bitcoin specifically. Paypal most likely ...

Honestly. Having a video "story" is bad enough. Having the story linked to Bitcoin on a vague premise is pretty bad.

Let's create a Bitcoin /. filter, so I can exlude these stories from my profile. Not sure how this relates to "Privacy". I'm thinking that there is a group of Bitcoin proponents working hard to get any publicity.

Re:Another Bitcoin crap story (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351750)

It relates to Privacy because one of the main "selling" points of Bitcoin is anonymity.

Re:Another Bitcoin crap story (1)

Lieutenant_Dan (583843) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351826)

It relates to Privacy because one of the main "selling" points of Bitcoin is anonymity.

Yes, this has as much to do with Privacy as me taking off my license plates off my car so that I don't have to pay the tolls. Pardon the car analogy ...

They could have put on the Borg Gates icon on there since perhaps the Bitcoin software was running off a Windows computer?

Slashdot as arbitrage tool (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351452)

https://mtgox.com/trade/history [mtgox.com] (click "all time")

In two months, the value per Bitcoin has increased from .5 USD to 20 USD, a 40 fold increase. Slashdot is being flooded by bitcoin speculators to increase prices. People are paying $20 for something worth 50 cents for no good reason. The price will collapse to less than $1 in the near future. People are throwing money away.

Re:Slashdot as arbitrage tool (1)

SpiralSpirit (874918) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351982)

I dunno. if you mine and sell them, and don't buy any, you're not losing anything. A pair half decent video cards working 24 hours a day will net you ~2 bitcoins a day.

Silly Senators (1)

TemperedAlchemist (2045966) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351498)

Probably don't know what deepnet is.

Re:Silly Senators (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351888)

It's what the DEA are going to catch these evil wrong-doers with.... ... right?

Nonsense. (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351518)

The only drug dealers accepting bit-coin for their drugs are the ones using their own product. I'm sorry to say, but bit-coin has ZERO value in what 99.99% of people refer to as the real world. It might make you a rich man in Second Life, but you aren't going to be buying a joint of Mexican schwag weed with this stuff outside of the internet.

I don't believe it... (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351528)

Bitcoin has no viable value. I dont understand why anyone, esecially drug dealers, would take bitcoin. Why not just draw on some paper with crayons and say it's money?

Bitcoin is not backed by any government, nor is it backed by anything of value. CPU cycles are not valuable after they are expended, and the work involved is not useful for anything else. So I really can't understand why anyone would give goods that ARE worth something in exchange for them.

Just because it takes a lot of effort to make them doesn't mean they're worth anything. Has anyone here *REALLY*, and I mean *REALLY* used bitcoin to trade anything valuable? Ever?

Re:I don't believe it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351672)

Last week I bought your sister's anal virginity for four bitcoins, which she then promptly traded for heroin.

Re:I don't believe it... (1)

earls (1367951) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351720)

"as anyone here *REALLY*, and I mean *REALLY* used bitcoin to trade anything valuable? Ever?"

Yes. Drugs. *SNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORT* Ah.

Re:I don't believe it... (4, Insightful)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351746)

There are bitcoin currency exchanges where you can trade for $US.

Money -- ALL money -- is only worth anything because people mutually agree it is. All of it is nothing more than a medium for exchange that is more convenient than barter.

Backed by government can mean zilch in a very short order if no one trusts that government any longer. See Wiemar Republic and Zimbabwe for example.

Re:I don't believe it... (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351876)

How is the dollar backed by the US government?

Can you go to the US government and have your dollars exchanged for gold or land?

Re:I don't believe it... (2)

inviolet (797804) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351972)

How is the dollar backed by the US government?

Can you go to the US government and have your dollars exchanged for gold or land?

Excellent reply. I was hoping somebody would point out the hilarious fallacy of "backed by a government".

Goes to show how effective the propaganda is: a dollar is, in reality, dysbacked by our government, in the sense that its value is continuously reduced by the fed via issuance of additional M3.

Nothing to see here (1)

Linsaran (728833) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351598)

Surprise! People are using money for something illegal, that's never been done with any other form of currency before. The only thing even remotely notable about using bitcoin instead of say a prepaid visa card, is it's a harder to trace down the source/destination of the funds.

Re:Nothing to see here (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351806)

I suggest we outlaw cash too. Bitcoin is at least traceable, cash is not. Clearly, we should outlaw cash first.

I hear drug dealers also take cash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351818)

Something should be done about this difficult-to-trace currency. I hear the federal government is producing more all the time, and they've made it illegal for others to do so. There's definitely a conspiracy going on here...

I'm not an expert, but... (1, Offtopic)

jonescb (1888008) | more than 3 years ago | (#36351912)

I'm pretty sure Marijuana isn't a narcotic. And I don't think cocaine is either.
A narcotic would be like morphine or heroin.

Narcotics are specific, not a generalization for all drugs.
If you're going to post Slashvertisements, at least get some of your facts straight.

There are many other uses for bitcoins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36351920)

While the authorities always are concerned, there are many other uses of bitcoins: For example it can be used in games: http://bit.ly/ihSQtH

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