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Bitcoin To Be Regulated Under US Money Laundering Laws

Soulskill posted 1 year,25 days | from the government-smells-funding dept.

Bitcoin 439

Newsubmitter davek writes with news that the U.S. will be applying money-laundering laws to Bitcoin and other 'virtual currencies.' "The move means that firms that issue or exchange the increasingly popular online cash will now be regulated in a similar manner as traditional money-order providers such as Western Union Co. WU +0.17% They would have new bookkeeping requirements and mandatory reporting for transactions of more than $10,000. Moreover, firms that receive legal tender in exchange for online currencies or anyone conducting a transaction on someone else's behalf would be subject to new scrutiny, said proponents of Internet currencies. 'I think it's inevitable that just like you have U.S. dollars used by thieves and criminals, it's sadly inevitable you will have criminals use a virtual currency. We want to work with authorities,' said Jeff Garzik, a Bitcoin developer. Still, law enforcement, regulators and financial institution have expressed worries about the hard-to-trace attributes of virtual currencies, helping trigger this week's move from the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCen."

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439 comments

They don't get it (5, Insightful)

lalena (1221394) | 1 year,25 days | (#43247615)

Bit Coin works even if there are no "firms" to issue or exchange. Therefore, there is no one to regulate.

Re:They don't get it (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43247753)

They regulate entities that exchange bitcoins for dollars.

If the average user can't exchange bitcoins for dollars, what good is it?

Re:They don't get it (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43247819)

I've never exchange it out, and I've bought 1000's of USD worth of stuff off Amazon.

Re:They don't get it (4, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248039)

I call bullshit on that.
Amazon does not take bitcoin. Someone is converting that to pay amazon USD. They will regulate the one doing the conversion.

Re:They don't get it (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43248165)

Look it up: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100527259

Re:They don't get it (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43248189)

Yes, BitPay are converting buttcoin to USD and will be the ones regulated. Shouldn't be too big a deal; presumably they already have customers' addresses so they can ship stuff to them.

Re:They don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43248041)

Does Amazon accept Bitcoins now?.. I somehow doubt that (but if they'd do, then gov't'd just regulate Amazon in this regard)

Which means that someone, somewhere, has to exchange Bitcoins into currency accepted by Amazon - therefore can be regulated.

The fuck's with "Ha-ha, silly government! You'll never catch me, I'm behind 7 proxies!"? If your pure digital currency ever gets in contact with real world - government can put their finger on it.

Re:They don't get it (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43248205)

I'm in eastern europe, I buy a giftcard from amazon and exchange it for bitcoins because it is a more stable currency than the one I get paid in(which isn't saying much).

My government can't even keep the lights on and they are more worried about mountain warlords and fallout(literally) from the middle east. US government can't do shit.

Dang.

Re:They don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43247821)

Exchanging for services?

Re:They don't get it (2, Insightful)

countach (534280) | 1 year,25 days | (#43247915)

What good are dollars? They are just pieces of paper. Oh wait, you can exchange them for stuff, like you can with bitcoins.

Re:They don't get it (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43248027)

There's a much broader array of stuff that you can exchange dollars for than there is that you can exchange buttcoins for.

Re:They don't get it (4, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248051)

Not really, USD are taken by anybody in the US that lends money as well as for taxes. BTC are basically just useful by a small number of people that aren't very good at math. The rest of us stick to currency and barter of things that actually exist.

Now, if BTC was a mandatory option for payment and was likely to continue that way into the future, then it would be a closer analogy. But, even there with the fixed maximum supply and the curve at which they're being introduced, being what they are, even then it would be a stretch.

Re:They don't get it (2, Funny)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248059)

You need them to pay taxes, can't do that with bitcoins.

You don't get it (1)

lcam (848192) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248121)

Sounds like a neat way to avoid paying taxes...

As long as there is someone willing to accept bitcoin for goods and services, it has value.

Once nobody want's to accept a currency, it is worthless.

Re:You don't get it (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248217)

You try that and see how it works out.

You would still have to report you bitcoin profits and convert some of them to USD to pay those taxes.

At that point it is totally worthless, right now it is still deflating its way there.

Re:They don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43248087)

Call me when the IRS accepts your taxes paid in Bitcoins.

I`ll be waiting.

Re:They don't get it (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43248033)

If the average user can't exchange bitcoins for dollars, what good is it?

Finally someone gets it, and explains why the EU is failing. All those people earning and spending euros, never converting them to dollars, wasting their time, getting nothing out of it. Don't they understand? If they don't convert to dollars, they're useless. Fortunately for the euro, they can convert to dollars, but so few europeans take advantage of this to validate to the euro. Thus, it never gains legitimacy.

Re:They don't get it (4, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248081)

The Euro is another currency that millions of people accept and pay taxes with. Bitcoins are not.

Re:They don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43248109)

Is the sky also purple in your world? I heard the landscape is suspended upside down in some realms over there.

Re:They don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43248213)

Finally someone gets it, and explains why the USA is failing. All those people earning and spending dollars, never converting them to euros, wasting their time, getting nothing out of it. Don't they understand? If they don't convert to euros, they're useless. Fortunately for the dollar, they can convert to euros, but so few americans take advantage of this to validate to the dollar. Thus, it never gains legitimacy.

Re:They don't get it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43248279)

Your an idiot and obviously have no idea what your talking about. The fundamental state of the euro is no different than the dollar. Both are FIAT neither are based on anything of real scarcity. And both will fail (unless put back on a proper standard like gold or silver or some other scarce resource) in the end.

Re:They don't get it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43248065)

We don't need fiat USD. We can purchase the ever growing number of products&services with BTC without the use of USD; or exchange it for Euro, Pounds, Yen etc. or possibly use it to escape Draconian capital controls such as that being set up in the EU (Cyprus) which is initiating a Bitcoin rush in Europe due to the "one-time wealth tax" on Cypriot bank accounts. Savers with bank accounts get robbed again so that the banks can be rescued.
Anyways, FinCen isn't saying Bitcoin can't be exchanged for dollars, they're saying larger transactions will be reported, or that certain parties in other transactions will be scrutinized.

Re:They don't get it (1)

Afty0r (263037) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248199)

If the average user can't exchange bitcoins for dollars, what good is it?

Then the average user exchanges their bitcoin for a currency other than US Dollars?

Re:They don't get it (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43247783)

Bitcoin works? Here I thought it was just good for giving you heatstroke, buying child porn or drugs, and breaking when there are more than about 70,000 transactions across the network per day (compared to Visa's 300 million). The currency of the future, ladies and gentlemen!

Nota bene: I would have mentioned buying slim jims and ramen, but the self-made captains of industry running Bitmunchies weren't able to turn enough of a profit and shut down. Speaking of Bitcoin businesses, how's Roger Ver's Bitcoin store doing? Still about $600,000 shy of the $850,000 it'll need to make in Q1? Up, up, up!

Re:They don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43247889)

You don't seem to be happy. Did something bad happen to you?

Re:They don't get it (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43247985)

Two years after VISA Inc. started in 1958, I suspect they had less than 70,000 global transactions also. Everything starts small, Mr. Smartypants

Re:They don't get it (2)

hedwards (940851) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248095)

Visa works in real currencies that you're guaranteed to be able to use, their main problem was a lack of outlets. Which does build over time, what's more they weren't limited to just one currency, they could expand into all currencies if need be.

In this case, you've got something starting small in a currency that's ultimately doomed from the start. Yeah, that's exactly the same thing as Visa's near unlimited flexibility. What's more, Visa was following the Diner's Club into the market, they already knew what the market was, they just needed to get enough POS locations and customers to make it worthwhile.

Re:They don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43248115)

There was no global marketplace to speak of in 1958. If Visa only got 70,000 membersw TODAY it would be doomed to be a 2nd-rate card, like Discover.

Re:They don't get it (4, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | 1 year,25 days | (#43247839)

The regulation is clearly going to happen at MtGox or any other place that exchanges bitcoins for USD. Once you are sending $10,000 USD to someone, the money laundering provisions apply. This should work for as long as businesses don't accept bitcoins directly, which is still mostly the case. There are a small number of businesses that will deal directly in bitcoins, but not enough that you could spend $10,000 on them reasonably yet.

Re:They don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43247973)

MtGox is in Japan. Good luck.

Re:They don't get it (4, Insightful)

SerpentMage (13390) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248077)

They will comply because if they don't it means that they can never have a US account, ask for US dollars, trade US equities, etc, etc, etc... If you are willing to 100% forgo every and any tie to the US, go for it! The US is even for us foreigners a part of our daily lives, directly or indirectly.

Re:They don't get it (2)

hedwards (940851) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248133)

You still have to bring the money into the US if you're in the US. Unless you're suggesting breaking US law by sending packages of cash and not declaring them as such, the government will find out about it one way or another. And even if you do opt to go the boxes of cash route, you're stuck making small deposits into your account in order to avoid having your bank report it.

Bottom line is that the US government has plenty of tools to solve this particular problem. And I'd be very surprised if other governments didn't get their own provisions to deal with BTC.

OTOH, they could just wait until the whole thing blows up in people's faces and not waste time dealing with the problem. Anybody buying enough BTC to make this worthwhile as a money laundering avenue is going to see some major fluctuation in the rates they're dealing with.

Re:They don't get it (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248001)

Can't businesses accept any amount of cash without declaring it, or are they required to declare that as well? I assumed most of these rules only applied when you tried to put the money in a bank, etc.

Re:They don't get it (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248181)

They don't have to, but if you go into a dealership and try to buy a new car with cash, they're probably going to see that as suspicious. Very, very few people pay cash in the literal sense for a vehicle, those who do have the money will usually pay by cash, because carrying around $24k in unrefundable currency is pretty risky. Not to mention a real PITA to count and carry.

I used to get paid monthly in cash at a job I worked, and the 6500 would be a stack of hundreds about 2" high IIRC.

Re:They don't get it (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248097)

Even if businesses accept bitcoins directly, if they accept $10,000 worth of bitcoins in a single transaction this ruling is that they are required to report it just as they would be required to report it if they accepted USD cash.

Re:They don't get it (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248135)

Or if they accept that amount in several transactions too close together. In fact that flags the transactions as even more suspicious and you have to fill out even more paperwork.

Re:They don't get it (1)

Hentes (2461350) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248235)

The problem with using bitcoins directly is that in that case you have to keep a large amount of your wealth in a very volatile currency.

Re:They don't get it (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43247849)

You still have to buy goods or services from someone. That someone gets regulated if they are in the US.

Re:They don't get it (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | 1 year,25 days | (#43247929)

Bit Coin works even if there are no "firms" to issue or exchange. Therefore, there is no one to regulate.

On the contrary. Just because there is no one 'issuing' or 'exchanging' Bitcoins doesn't mean that businesses and individuals using Bitcoins can't be regulated. Like MtGox and the other Bitcoin exchanges, or companies that accept Bitcoins in lieu of US dollars for goods and services.

In some ways, this may also pave the way for wider acceptance of Bitcoins because more traditional companies are wary of accepting alternate currencies because they don't know how they'll be treated under the law.

Re:They don't get it (5, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | 1 year,25 days | (#43247993)

But why SHOULD it be regulated?

For that matter, WTF should the US govt be notified if I do any transaction over $10K in cash, bitcoins or barter??

How did we let it become the govts business what we do with our money?

Re:They don't get it (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248113)

Because odds are most of those transactions are parts of crime, or the people doing them will not mind filling out the forms.

Why should banks be allowed to profit from crimes?

Re:They don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43248149)

We let it because otherwise crooks inevitably ended up abusing the lack of oversigt to engage in racketeering, extortion and embezzlement. Drop the econ 101 outrage at tampering with the invisible hand of the free market and join the real world some day.

Re:They don't get it (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43248153)

To fight crime, but if you want to live in a country that corruption has overrun you can just go to mexico.
The funny thing is that I'm sure you are against corrupt politicians, but it's much easier to just ignore consequences of what you want.

Re:They don't get it (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43247951)

No. You don't get it.

The gold standard also works if there are no "firms" to issue or exchange it. People can do transactions person-to-person with no intermediary. Or, heck, cash transactions - me buying a truckload of goods in exchange for cash payment cannot be directly regulated.

What CAN be regulated are transactions through banks and financial firms. You can sell a truckload of goods for cash no problem, but depositing $1,000,000 in cash will raise some eyebrows. Similarly, you can buy all the bitcoins you want. And you can exchange them directly with whoever you want. But if you want to exchange a large number of US dollars for them (or vice versa) via a financial firm, they're going to ask questions. The financial firm will have to track and report it.

You can do whatever you like out in the shadows. It's when you hook things up to the "mainstream" financial markets that these regualtions apply.

Which is why it's effective for money laundering. If you have a wadge of dirty cash, you can't really go out there and buy bitcoins "one at a time" through individual transactions until you've converted it all. You need to go through a large, organized market. Which requires an exchange. If you're doing very high value transactions, they want some reporting on where the "other side" of the transaction into/out of bitcoins came from and where it's going.

Re:They don't get it (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248157)

Person to person transactions are still regulated. You might not report them like you are supposed to, but when you get caught it will be a big deal.

Re:They don't get it (5, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248029)

I suspect you are the one who doesn't get it. Government makes demands. If those demands aren't met, aren't countered through an internal process (like voting the pols who made those demands out), or if those demands aren't bluffs, there's an escalation. Eventually, force will be used.

There are people to regulate. The government will identify them if the politicians, lobbyists, and special interests are determined enough. I'm not sure if they are. How many transactions over $10,000 in value are being done with bitcoins (the minimum for these rules applying)? I didn't read TFA too closely, but I couldn't see any estimates.

Many slashdotters may disagree that the government isn't serious about stopping bitcoin use, but hear me out. Banks and law enforcement may have made statements "worrying" about it, but that doesn't mean they see it as a real threat due to how few people use bitcoins. Bitcoin proponents love to think that what they're doing will be a revolution, but bitcoins seem to be losing ground (if they had any to begin with.) I can't imagine banks or law enforcement spending much capital on a problem that is solving itself. The "I want taxes" bureaucrats aren't likely to pursue it either for the same reasons. They don't, after all, usually audit teenage babysitters for tax evasion. And I'd wager babysitting is a more lucrative economy than anything happening on bitcoin.

Anyway, the target here probably isn't bitcoins, it's probably the other alternative currency mentioned in the article: corporations with virtual currency. Amazon coins. There's obviously someone to regulate there.

Forget about bitcoins. They're not the story here despite the headline. Amazon or various other entities attempting to avoid sales taxes IS.

Re:They don't get it (2)

Trepidity (597) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248253)

Anyway, the target here probably isn't bitcoins, it's probably the other alternative currency mentioned in the article: corporations with virtual currency. Amazon coins. There's obviously someone to regulate there.

I agree bitcoins aren't the real target. In addition to the corporation-tied virtual currencies you mention, online game currencies are of interest to law enforcement recently because they've been used to launder money. It's quite straightforward: you buy a bunch of virtual gold with USD, then you transfer it through the game world in a way that is invisible unless you're looking at server logs, and someone else ends up with this pile of virtual gold. That someone else sells it and gets USD. The net effect is that USD has moved from one person to another, who is possibly in another part of the world, without either: 1) moving it through the regular, traceable banking system; or 2) physically having to carry around suitcases of cash. Instead the money moved via, say, Blizzard's servers. What the government wants is for Blizzard to do some tracing and reporting of these movements once they reach a certain size.

Simple solution (1)

ccguy (1116865) | 1 year,25 days | (#43247627)

Solution (and business decision): Have the exchanges in tax heavens. Make all transfers bitcoin-only, until you really need to cash out. Not an easy thing to solve for the tax guys, but maybe this time they will bother do something that can eventually be used to prevent the tax evasion and money laundering happening until now with regular currencies.

Re:Simple solution (1)

Bigby (659157) | 1 year,25 days | (#43247873)

That would be categorized as a capital gain...potentially a long term capital gain.

Good For Them (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43247629)

Money launderers, drug dealers, and organized crime syndicates are weeping but this is a very good thing.
All these financial instruments must be regulated and monitored for our safety.

Re:Good For Them (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43247773)

Don't forget the terrists.

Re:Good For Them (3, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | 1 year,25 days | (#43247939)

I guess we really need to keep FinCrime busy now that all those bankers and investment brokers are in jail. Oh, wait...

But foolishly, folks, this looks like a way to puff up the arrest numbers and make for some easy convictions to justify their shrunken budget (FinCrime got seriously defunded the instant they started looking at the big banks and investment houses) to Congress. The prevailing metric of any police force is their arrest record and conviction rates. Go after small fish you can steamroller cause the whales fight back.

Re:Good For Them (3, Insightful)

QRDeNameland (873957) | 1 year,25 days | (#43247983)

All these financial instruments must be regulated and monitored for our safety.

Yes, I remember the paralyzing fear and chaos of the days of a primarily cash economy, too. /sarcasm

Re:Good For Them (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248093)

Yeah if they weren't it would be just like the last decade or so of HSBC existing. Nobody would be safe in their own homes.

And it had looked like a hopeful alternative... (1)

Zemran (3101) | 1 year,25 days | (#43247643)

...now it will be an also ran. Oh wait, it already is.

Thanks for the stock update (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43247651)

Did that submission totally just go through with Western Union Co. copy pasted out of a stock ticker?

I can solve this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43247661)

Send $9,999
Then donate $1.

Problam salved.

Life's cool up here in my Mansion tower.

What about gold mining in WoW? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43247691)

People exchange cash for the virtual currency, and exchange the virtual currency in the game all the time. Will Blizzard be subject to book-keeping and regulations?

What about other games with credits and item trading?

Re:What about gold mining in WoW? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43247917)

Blizzard explicitly disclaims and opposes any such exchanges, except in regards the trading of game-based product.

Re:What about gold mining in WoW? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43247987)

Unless Blizzard is a party to the transaction, probably not. But I was thinking along the same lines as you seem to be. How will this impact things like Microsoft Points on Xbox Live? Steam Wallet? PSN? Nintendo's varied online shops?

Actually, as I wrote this, I realized it probably won't impact them at all, since you can add funds, but cannot take them back out.

Only if they accept $10,000+ at a time (2)

raymorris (2726007) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248243)

The regulations Treasury mentioned apply to transactions of $10,000 or more at a time.

So then (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | 1 year,25 days | (#43247707)

What purpose does Bitcoin serve now if it can't avoid meddling by the banks and government? Now they can rob your Bitcoin account to bail out the banks?

Re:So then (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43247831)

Bitcoin itself is still meddle-proof and untouchable Exchanging bitcoin for dollars in the US will be subject to observation--that's the only change.

I have a feeling (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43247709)

this isn't going to work so well.

This is meant to kill Silkroad (5, Interesting)

Xemu (50595) | 1 year,25 days | (#43247731)

They will use this law to strike against Silk Road.

Remember, Capone was convicted on federal charges of tax evasion.

Re:This is meant to kill Silkroad (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43248211)

SR is already illegal...

Pot...kettle... (5, Insightful)

ProZachar (410739) | 1 year,25 days | (#43247755)

"I think it's inevitable that just like you have U.S. dollars used by thieves and criminals..."

Unfortunately, the worst thieves and criminals (the government and the banks that have bought the government) will be the ones doing the regulating.

Re:Pot...kettle... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43248215)

'I think it's inevitable that just like you have U.S. dollars used by thieves and criminals, it's sadly inevitable you will have criminals use a virtual currency. We want to work with authorities,' said Jeff Garzik, a Bitcoin developer.

It seems as if he doesn't understand the concept of the product he created, like he is some type of Frankenstein who created a monster that he can't control. The sad thing is that there is an inherent need for an anonymous currency so that criminal activity can occur. One of the main reasons for allowing and condoning secretive "offshore" banking was so that Jews and businesses in Europe, for example, had some place to stash their money during Nazi rule.

The sad thing is that for the big players, like the United States government (remember Iran-contra when the U.S. government was buying and selling cocaine to its citizens during the Just-say-no-to-Drugs era?, and the black budget that never makes it into the news).

For the drug cartels, and the millionaires and billionaires in countries like Greece it is business as usual, as well as for the bankers who never did get convicted during the most recent banking fraud crisis.

For people who have a hard time buying medical marijuana or pain killers (don't laugh, in places like Russia and Africa, people sometimes kill themselves instead of living in pain, because Conservatives fear that having cancer should not be an excuse to have any type of pleasant or relaxing feelings while on pain killers. The U.S. is getting more "conservative" in their medical-moral practices as well. It isn't just Islamic Africa).

So regulating bitcoin will hurt the small time criminal. Too bad that people in positions of power demonize criminals when instead they should be demonizing conservatism and religious ideology. If the developer of bitcoin is joining the dark forces, then everybody else should abandon bitcoin, because its only real value is as an anonymous currency.

Translation: Here Comes Big Brother (4, Insightful)

Uberbah (647458) | 1 year,25 days | (#43247785)

Same as when banks started having to report transactions of a few thousand dollars to the feds, because it could be "money laundering". If it's not the mob, it's terrahrists or pedos.

Same shit from both parties, different day.

Re:Translation: Here Comes Big Brother (2, Interesting)

ADRA (37398) | 1 year,25 days | (#43247979)

If the largest harm in cracking down is to listen to you whine, I'd happily take the law. Tax dodges and more importantly drug slingers are the major problem in society and they directly/indirectly kill thousands of people yearly in US/Mexico alone. Your high minded slights on over-reaching control fanaticism makes me sick to my stomach. Get a grip and reality and tell me your GOVERNMENT is the bigger threat than the gang bangers around the corner.

Re:Translation: Here Comes Big Brother (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43248125)

Get a grip and reality and tell me your GOVERNMENT is the bigger threat than the gang bangers around the corner.

When I pass through airports, I can honestly say that I am more afraid of the anti-terrorism and customs officials than I am of the terrorists.

Re:Translation: Here Comes Big Brother (1)

bobbied (2522392) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248127)

Same as when banks started having to report transactions of a few thousand dollars to the feds, because it could be "money laundering".

And you would expect something different for BitCoin over Western Union money orders?

Nothing is really different here. If you don't use some institution that is subject to the reporting rules or physically move money over national boundaries, you are free to make transactions anyway you choose. Want to spend $100K as stacks of $20's and buy something you can (assuming somebody is willing to sell what you want to buy). Same with BitCoin.

What's really changing is that when you buy or sell BitCoin from a currency exchange house, they are required to report transactions over a set value (assuming they are subject to US laws in the first place). The rule simply puts BitCoin on the same playing field as other ways to move currency.

If they are justified with the current reporting rules, then including BitCoin is justified too... Actually, I don't understand how these rules would really help much in stopping one from using BitCoin to import and export wealth or launder money, as long as you keep transactions under the reporting limits when you convert to hard currency...

By the way.. Big Brother is *already* here and has been here for a LONG time....

Booo! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43247809)

Pry them out from my cold hard encryped grasp, if you can.
Satanic usery worshipping asshats.

Bit coin is growing up! (5, Insightful)

Mabhatter (126906) | 1 year,25 days | (#43247845)

Yea! Bitcoin is growing up! That means enough people are using it that the government is noticing. And of course the first thing the government does to show its appreciation is to start regulating it. Did they at least get a "Baby's first regulation" card?

Booo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43247861)

And then satanic usury worshipping carpetbaggers came for our bitcoins.

Money Laundering is a Non-Crime (1, Interesting)

Akratist (1080775) | 1 year,25 days | (#43247867)

The problem with all this is that "money laundering" generally comes from activities which are victimless crimes, and are therefore not a crime because they don't affect anyone but the person doing them. Gambling is illegal because it is market competition with state-run lottos and approved casinos. Drugs besides alcohol and prescribed pills are illegal because they circumvent a distribution apparatus. Etc. So, when you see a story like this, just realize it's because someone with political power is concerned that they might not be getting as much of a cut or sucking down as many tax dollars as they want, not because it is somehow making the world a better place to regulate it even more.

Re:Money Laundering is a Non-Crime (4, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | 1 year,25 days | (#43247991)

The problem with all this is that "money laundering" generally comes from activities which are victimless crimes, and are therefore not a crime because they don't affect anyone but the person doing them.

Yeah - that money from a protection racket or from running a prostitution ring or from embezzling... no victims there. Or to put it another way, if you think ill-gotten gains only come from money that appears from thin air, you're either *very* innocent about how the world works or utterly and completely clueless.

Re:Money Laundering is a Non-Crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43248185)

He was right about money laundering itself being a non-crime/victimless crime though the activities the money came from may not be. It's just another way to punish people twice.

Re:Money Laundering is a Non-Crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43248273)

Don't be naif. Prostitution rings and embezzling (which I imagine account for a very low percentage of the grey market -- most of it is drugs) leave many other trails behind besides money. What governments don't want is market freedom, because that makes it hard for them to get their cut, as said before.

Re:Money Laundering is a Non-Crime (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43248009)

The problem with all this is that "money laundering" generally comes from activities which are victimless crimes, and are therefore not a crime because they don't affect anyone but the person doing them.

You're a fucking idiot if you believe that.

Yeah so much harder than a 100 bill (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43247891)

to trace,

Good way to devalue Fiat Currencies... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43247909)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gresham's_law

They're attempting to devalue bitcoins by making them less useful for legitimate purposes. All they are doing is incentivizing moving long term savings to bitcoin entirely. If they try to prevent people from exchanging them for cash you will just end up with money changers with an official exchange rate and an unofficial exchange rate.

They're driving bitcoin further in to the shadows where it will be harder for them to track but easier to demonize. That worked really well for drugs afterall. Why not let people pay taxes in bitcoins? It will go a long way towards fixing the deficit.

Inline stock quote (5, Insightful)

necro81 (917438) | 1 year,25 days | (#43247935)

The move means that firms that issue or exchange the increasingly popular online cash will now be regulated in a similar manner as traditional money-order providers such as Western Union Co. WU +0.17%

Sigh. Inline, updating stock quotes in business and finance articles are annoying enough in their own context. When taken out of that context by a lazy and sloppy copy-paste, as had happened with this article summary, is just plain disappointing. Does nobody bother to copy-edit these things before they go live? I thought this was /., not reddit.

Money monopoly = wealth transfer (5, Insightful)

moeinvt (851793) | 1 year,25 days | (#43247975)

Money laundering? BS. If they cared about money laundering then they'd go after the bankers who are laundering millions of dollars in drug money for the cartels.

What this is really about is a banker-government that will do anything and everything possible to prevent alternatives to their fiat + fractional reserve monopoly on money. These parasites absolutely can't have us serfs using a money supply which they can't control and manipulate in order to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else.

"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws." Mayer Amschel Rothschild

Re:Money monopoly = wealth transfer (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43248011)

Fucking 'A'!

Nail on the head.

Re:Money monopoly = wealth transfer (3, Informative)

markass530 (870112) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248223)

they did go after them, you didn't hear about that especially brutal slap on the wrist they got?

Grammar Hammer (1)

scorp1us (235526) | 1 year,25 days | (#43247977)

helping trigger this week's move from the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCen." to what?
oh you meant "by":
helping trigger this week's move by the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCen."

Buhbye Bitcoin (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#43248005)

We hardly knew ye!

Re:Buhbye Bitcoin (2)

sexconker (1179573) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248207)

We hardly knew ye!

The price jumped from $40 per BTC to $70 per BTC since this news broke.

All this does is require people who buy and sell Bitcoins for USD to report their activities over a certain threshold.
Anyone can still freely use BTC directly.

Where can you trade BTC options? (2)

stoploss (2842505) | 1 year,25 days | (#43248209)

The bubble is obvious: look at the 2013 BTC/USD chart [bitcoincharts.com].

Despite periodic "corrections", the price is still continuing to rise precipitously. The volatility is insane, but how viable is it that the price on 1 Jan 2013 was 1 BTC/~$15, and now it's trading for ~$70? The value has more than quadrupled in the 81 days so far in 2013. If the present bubble is extrapolated that represents roughly a 103,000% APY [google.com]; clearly, that growth is unsustainable.

So... is anyone selling put options [wikipedia.org] on BTC?

Seems like purchasing a few puts on BTC will pay off handsomely.

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