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EFF Resumes Accepting Bitcoin Donations After Two Year Hiatus

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the coal-into-digital-plowshares dept.

Bitcoin 93

hypnosec writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has started accepting donations in the form of Bitcoins again after a two year hiatus, stating that the legal uncertainty hovering over the digital currency has all but disappeared. On their blog the EFF noted that a report from U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), in addition to their own findings, 'have confirmed that, as a user of Bitcoin or any virtual currency, EFF itself is likely not subject to regulation.'"

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93 comments

DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778189)

And money, real or imagined, is money !!

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (5, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#43778603)

Question is, which one is more "real"?

When you consider that USD and most other currencies are backed by nothing more than the governments that print/mint the stuff, suddenly Bitcoin doesn't seem so fake after all.

(Though personally anyone who doesn't have some sort of tangible assets in their pile is asking for a total loss...)

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (3, Insightful)

neilo_1701D (2765337) | about a year ago | (#43778615)

Tangible assets have value only so long as someone else values them. What you think they are worth is beside the point. Tulips, anyone?

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (4, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#43778657)

Good point re. tulips. OTOH, tangible assets like precious metals, water rights, mineral rights, real estate? As long as you don't get stupid about investing in them, and do so with your eyes open, you generally do better in the long run, and have a very good hedge against monetary crashes (and don't invest in perishable items - hence you avoid commodities).

I'm not saying that one should entirely abandon cash, stocks, etc. What I am saying is that relying on fiat currency (or anything purely based on it, like stocks) as your sole source of security is pretty damned risky. You may get lucky, or you may lose your shirt if inflation ever gets out of its cage.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43779701)

OTOH, tangible assets like precious metals, water rights, mineral rights, real estate?

Rights are no tangible assets. What's tangible is the water. The water rights are not tangible, and will be worthless as soon as nobody is willing to defend your rights any more. As soon as you are the only one who cares about your rights, those rights effectively don't exist any more; it goes back to who has the power to actually control the tangible object itself, that is, the water or the mineral resource.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (2)

mrvan (973822) | about a year ago | (#43780303)

tangible assets like precious metals, water rights, mineral rights, real estate

  • Precious metals: mainly worth something because they are valued high, not much intrinsic value / use in industry. Huge fluctuations based mainly on economic expectations (http://insiderfortunes.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Gold1.jpg)
  • Water rights, mineral rights: these are worth nothing more than the government that issues them, just like banknotes. If you flee the US, you can at least take a suitcase of dollars with you. You can't pick up mineral rights and leave, you have to hope that someone will buy them
  • Real estate: in most developed markets, maybe 20% of a house price is the cost of building it. The cost of the ground (and the right to build there, esp. in zoned locations) are where the money;s at. And you can't take the ground with you and leave, you have to hope someone will buy it and it is subject to seizure by the government under eminent domain.

So, most of the tangible assets you mention have a worth that is greatly dependent on the current market whims and/or the government that backs them... just like banknotes. It might be a good insurance against inflation, but not really against anything else...

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#43787609)

Precious metals: mainly worth something because they are valued high, not much intrinsic value / use in industry.

Gold and silver see some very heavy usage in industry, especially high-tech and electronics; it also sees a lot of use in many lower-tech industries as well (and not just as decoration).

Huge fluctuations based mainly on economic expectations (http://insiderfortunes.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Gold1.jpg)

Yes and no - I daresay a lot of it is fluctuations of fiat currency relative to the metal in question. I will definitely agree that it isn't something you wouldn't want to base any short-term investments on, but over the long-haul, it does have a steady-yet-usable increase in value.

Water rights, mineral rights: these are worth nothing more than the government that issues them, just like banknotes.

Yes and no. Most folks on the east coast probably wouldn't see much use for the former, but in the Western US where you see a lot of desert and near-desert regions, water rights are more valuable than property rights. It is perfectly conceivable (and has happened) where someone buys property, only to discover that he/she cannot legally own or use the water that falls on it, flows through it, or sits underneath it.

If you flee the US, you can at least take a suitcase of dollars with you.

Question: If the US ever got to the point where you had to flee the place, what makes you think that a suitcase full of intaglio-printed paper (okay, linen) strips that may or may not be backed by a government that may or may not exist ...would do you any good?

So, most of the tangible assets you mention have a worth that is greatly dependent on the current market whims and/or the government that backs them... just like banknotes.

Again, yes and no. The examples you gave make perfect sense (e.g. Eminent Domain condemnation), but the odds of that happening with a random piece of property are far, far lower than the odds of inflation. The odds of having a government do a house-to-house search for, say, all precious metals is also way lower than loss of currency strength (Why? because the logistics of doing so are too fantastically hellish to even contemplate, let alone succeed at).

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43782327)

I hate to break it to you, but precious metals are commodities. If I have two 1-lb lumps of pure gold, there is no qualitative difference between them. Gold is a commodity. On the other hand, water rights, mineral rights, and real estate are not commodities because their worth depends on location, richness of the resource, etc.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year ago | (#43830815)

I'm not saying that one should entirely abandon cash, stocks, etc. What I am saying is that relying on fiat currency (or anything purely based on it, like stocks) as your sole source of security is pretty damned risky. You may get lucky, or you may lose your shirt if inflation ever gets out of its cage.

Bitcoin has over and over proved to be more trustworthy than my local currency (ARS).
I know bitcoin is unstable - but you should get to know our economy!

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#43778965)

You can't live in a tulip; you can live in a house. Some assets are more tangible than others.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (4, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | about a year ago | (#43779065)

Real estate is no more tangible than fiat. You don't actually "own" land in the event of government instability. Nor mineral rights, nor water rights, nor any other form of "ownership" that exists only by support of the government agreeing you own it. A tulip bulb on the other hand. That is yours at least as long as you can keep someone from taking it away.

Precious metals, guns, bullets, alcohol, gasoline, non-perishable food. Those are tangible assets. Anything secured by a court filed document you might as well have just left as fiat.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (2)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#43780043)

You don't actually "own" land in the event of government instability. Nor mineral rights, nor water rights, nor any other form of "ownership" that exists only by support of the government agreeing you own it. A tulip bulb on the other hand. That is yours at least as long as you can keep someone from taking it away. Precious metals, guns, bullets, alcohol, gasoline, non-perishable food. Those are tangible assets.

Private property has collapsed much more rarely than fiat currencies, as a matter of degree. But if you find yourself in the middle of the Civil War II, chances are very good you'll be relieved of all your "tangible assets" by an army while your claim to the land might survive the war. And refugees are almost always robbed blind by bandits and armed gangs, if you're first driven from your land. I'd rely more on stealth, feigned poverty and forged surrender than mere accumulation of assets. Chances are you're not the biggest and baddest thing out there and any hoard will attract a lot of unwanted attention. On the other hand, I have to live somewhere too so I'd rather just try transferring my assets there ahead of me and escape by a long distance flight. I'd rather relocate across the globe than rely on a prepper bunker.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (2)

killkillkill (884238) | about a year ago | (#43780053)

You don't actually "own" land in the event of government instability.

You do if you've taken enough advantage of your second amendment rights.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#43780075)

How is non preishable food any more tangible than owning a house?

In either case if there is significant enough government instability someone will come and try to take it away from you.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (1)

shaitand (626655) | about a year ago | (#43782095)

You are confusing owning a house with occupying a house.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#43787659)

Without government, and with enough means to hold it, the two terms become one and the same.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (1)

shaitand (626655) | about a year ago | (#43782177)

Occupying a house is just as tangible but that has nothing to do with buying and owning.

An armed renter becomes the owner the minute there is no longer an armed government claiming that right belongs to someone else. So does random armed guy/group walking into an empty house.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year ago | (#43783487)

An armed renter becomes the owner the minute there is no longer an armed government claiming that right belongs to someone else. So does random armed guy/group walking into an empty house.

So? An armed robber becomes the armed owner of your food the minute there is no longer an armed government claiming that right belongs to someone else.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (2)

shaitand (626655) | about a year ago | (#43784119)

An armed robber can ATTEMPT to take your food. His success isn't a given. There is no kind of asset that ultimately is more secure than your ability to secure it. I certainly am not depending on an armed government to protect my property now.

Legal rights of ownership and other things protected by a legal document aren't the physical thing they are related to. Investing in them is not investing in a tangible asset. They are no more secure than tangible than government bonds.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year ago | (#43779043)

Actually things have value only so much as YOU value them. Doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. Water is nearly free to most people, but if you're alone trapped in the desert it may be the most valuable thing you own.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#43778737)

Terry Pratchett's Small Gods should apply to the letter, You need to have a lot of believers to be "real". And if enough critical mass believes in you, even miracles could happen.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (2)

Jeremi (14640) | about a year ago | (#43779039)

When you consider that USD and most other currencies are backed by nothing more than the governments that print/mint the stuff

Nothing less than those governments as well... the same governments that have control over stuff like the world's largest military, one of the world's largest economies, many of the world's largest banks, one of the world's largest nuclear weapons arsenals...

Point being, it's not chopped liver.

The one people are willing to hold ... (2)

perpenso (1613749) | about a year ago | (#43779209)

And money, real or imagined, is money !!

Question is, which one is more "real"?

The one people are willing to hold. If people who accept bitcoins for transactions immediately convert them to something else then that something else is more real.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43779215)

Hey idiot, get this through your skull.

The GOVERNMENT has value. You know, the shit it owns, the ground, the minerals it gives rights to, the taxes it can levy, the people it can control etc etc etc?

THAT is why fiat currency has value, not wether someone prints it - It is a representation of the value of the country and is backed by the country! Now tell me again what Buttcoin value represents again?

That's right, it's worth about as much as a tulip.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43779681)

Troll Harder. Nobody but trolls pretending to be morons uses "get through your skull" in a sentence. That and 12 year olds who think it gives their position weight. It is the proclamation of frustrated inability to make a convincing argument.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43779733)

I can plant a bitcoin in the garden and enjoy its beauty?

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#43779351)

Question is, which one is more "real"?

The one I can pay taxes with, exchange for RMB in china, and expect to retain its price over the span of 6 months.

You keep using that word... (1)

denzacar (181829) | about a year ago | (#43779793)

When you consider that USD and most other currencies are backed by nothing more than the governments that print/mint the stuff, suddenly Bitcoin doesn't seem so fake after all.

Nothing.

I do not think it means what you think it means.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (1)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#43781621)

When you consider that USD and most other currencies are backed by nothing more than the governments that print/mint the stuff, suddenly Bitcoin doesn't seem so fake after all.

Don't be silly. Without the US government, we'd be living in a Mad Max world, and money would be a moot point. The government keeps people from raping and murdering you. The government keeps people from taking anything you own. The government maintains the utilities that allow you to live comfortably. The government also maintains a money system that is relatively stable.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#43782793)

Don't be silly. Without the US government, we'd be living in a Mad Max world, and money would be a moot point.

Actually, any working, viable government (be it local, regional, national, whatever) can prevent a "Mad Max world". The US government can theoretically be replaced by another government, making USD worthless. Now on a practical level, doing so would be messy and bloody, but the possibility is always there.

There is also instability within said government. Say inflation went apeshit and spiraled out of control. The US government in response decides to 're-calibrate' its money... suddenly $100,000 in USD equals 10 'Liberty Dollars', or whatever the new money happens to be. Joe Sixpack's life savings suddenly isn't worth so much. OTOH, if Mr. Sixpack happens to own his house and have a bunch of precious metals locked up securely? He's cushioned; the tangible assets carry the same intrinsic value as they had before.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43782299)

Being backed by nothing more than governments is better than being backed by pretty much nothing. The USD has demand because it's guaranteed by law to be legal tender for debts. Bitcoin doesn't have that, it only has demand because you can make pseudonymous transactions with it. If/when the regulation cranks up on Bitcoin exchanges, that demand goes in the crapper and its price is mostly due to speculation (to be fair, a huge amount of it already is speculation). If I had to guess which source of demand will fail first, the US government or mostly unregulated exchanges, I'd have to bet that the latter would disappear first.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43782985)

Complete horseshit.

The USD is backed by copper, nickle, and zinc. [coinflation.com]

If you cashed all your cash out of the banks and into Nickles in 1960 then sold them for melt value today, you'd be sitting on nearly the same amount of money you had in 1960 because the value of the USD has not changed much at all over the past 50 years and neither has the value of most metals. Everything has gone up in price because of increased demand due to the population doubling in size despite resource generation remaining relatively constant. Gold and silver prices are super inflated due to speculation, but compared to the historical value of any stable metal price to that metal's present price, the USD has a definitively stable value.

Ignore the above statements if your opinions are easily set by mainstream news media and immune to rational inquiry.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778957)

Great! I am pretty broke right now, but I have a whole stack of multicolored Monopoly (TM) money I'd like to donate. It hasn't been any use to me since the last little green house that came in the set was foreclosed upon by B of A!

Also, they repossessed the car, the shoe's got a hole in the sole, the hat was eaten by moths, and I had to sell the little iron for scrap. The thimble turned out to be scratched and dented, and it looked as if somebody stepped on it or something. The tire on the wheelbarrow had a blow-out, the dog ran away, the little man on the horse got off it and sold the beast to Ikea to be made into delicious meatballs, and the battleship was deliberately sunk to become a new coral reef!

So yeah, they can have the cash.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#43779487)

And money, real or imagined, is money !!

You can bet they convert them to real money as soon as they receive them.

Why would they risk holding onto them? They might lose all their value at any time.

Re:DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43779977)

And money, real or imagined, is money !!

You can bet they convert them to real money as soon as they receive them.

Why would they risk holding onto them? They might lose all their value at any time.

It's not a risk that hanging onto cash will lose money, it's a certainty. With any kind of cash, you want to invest it in growth assets to avoid losing money.

Bitcoin is no different, it's just more volatile due to all the inane speculation.

That there are many morons betting on it doesn't make it less useful as cash than all the morons who just lost billions betting on the Powerball make dollars less useful.

News for Lawyers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778201)

Five of the last nine stories.... just sayin

Re:News for Lawyers (2)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#43778209)

Lawyers are nerds, too.

Re:News for Lawyers (2)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#43778625)

Sorta... Depends on which ones.

The ones in the building where I work are a mixed bag:

Attitude-wise, they range from egotistical asshats who deserve to be wrapped in chains and pitched into the river, to a couple of guys I know who are cheerful, friendly, and some of the kindest gents you'll ever meet... unless you're on the wrong end of their cases.

Nerd-wise? Some can dive damned deep into caselaw, to the point of sheer OCD - they argue legalities in casual settings like me and my co-workers debate offsite tape backups vs. offsite SAN snapshots. Those lawyers would qualify as pure nerds. Others are in it just for the ego boost, the money, the... wel, just like IT folk and programmers, really. Mixed bag.

Re:News for Lawyers (1)

GNious (953874) | about a year ago | (#43779305)

Attitude-wise, they range from egotistical asshats who deserve to be wrapped in chains and pitched into the river,

I assume these are some of the ones qualifying as "nerds".

Re:News for Lawyers (4, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#43778385)

Law is a curious mixture of logic, psychology, history, ethics, and economics. It is not dominated by any one of those areas, but rather its complexity comes from the myriad interactions between different aspects of a particular situation. There is a certain nerdy beauty in those interactions and, for instance, it can indeed be quite interesting to see logical arguments suggesting discarding centuries of history in response to a recent socioeconomic change. Then with all the fervor of a sporting match and the careful maneuvering of a chess game, the opposing lawyer presents his logical arguments for how the past centuries' traditions should be upheld because the people now widely believe them to be ethically right, regardless of some particular moral standpoint.

Almost equally interesting is watching the other nerds arguing about which team is better. It's like a sports-bar brawl, but with bigger words.

Re:News for Lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778487)

Law is a curious mixture of logic, psychology, history, ethics, and economics. It is not dominated by any one of those areas, but rather its complexity comes from the myriad interactions between different aspects of a particular situation...

A particular situation?

Please, enlighten me. Which ambulance-chasing, slip-and-fall, coffee-too-hot "situation" that ultimately creates the financially taxing shitstorm on my life and hundreds of millions of others is worth defending here? Please, by all means, describe to me again how the cesspool of law today is really just a beautiful, misunderstood, and under-appreciated hot mess by us mere layman, because I sure as hell don't see it when I shell out hundreds of dollars every month for the fucking "luxury" of carrying insurance everywhere I turn, all thanks to litigation. Car, boat, home, renters, life, health, dental, vision, pet, flood, the list is almost endless. And more and more becoming "mandatory" every day. Don't worry, I'm certain they'll be lawyers selling drone insurance in the future too. (there, I added something about drones, now my response qualifies for News for Nerds)

Oh, look, here comes Obamacare. Please, tell me more about this legal utopia we should all be somehow thankful for, as my health insurance costs triple...

Re:News for Lawyers (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#43778641)

A particular situation?

Please, enlighten me.

Take the arguments over the constitutionality of certain laws (either existing or proposed). These can be deeply logical, and when you consider that new laws and precedents based on them can affect future outcomes and tests of those laws, and from there the future of the country at large changes? Well... yeah. It *is* important to watch this stuff before it becomes law, or at least to see how you can help (as a lawyer) mitigate any damages caused by it.

As you yourself mention viz. Obamacare, it does affect you eventually; problem is most folks, like yourself, look at lawyers as if they merely chased ambulances.

Maybe you should look around here a bit [slashdot.org] - you may be surprised by how many lawyers actually do consider this stuff - and ultimately do so on our behalf.

Re:News for Lawyers (1)

number11 (129686) | about a year ago | (#43778685)

Please, by all means, describe to me again how the cesspool of law today is really just a beautiful, misunderstood, and under-appreciated hot mess by us mere layman, because I sure as hell don't see it when I shell out hundreds of dollars every month for the fucking "luxury" of carrying insurance everywhere I turn, all thanks to litigation. Car, boat, home, renters, life, health, dental, vision, pet, flood, the list is almost endless.

No problem. Keep enough cash on hand to cover the damages caused by any car or boat accident, rebuild your home, enrich your beneficiaries if you die (I recommend saying "screw 'em, I don't think it's a good idea to be worth more dead than alive"), pay cash for all your health, dental, and vision needs, pay for your pets (what, is there some moron who actually buys pet insurance?), cover your own (and your bank's, if you don't own your house outright) losses in the event of a flood, etc. Me, I don't have enough money to provide that kind of reserves, but maybe you do.

There's lots of things one can lay at the feet of lawyers, but almost none of these qualifies.

Re:News for Lawyers (1)

mrvan (973822) | about a year ago | (#43780371)

Some interesting legal questiosn that we studied for Dutch criminal law:

Someone got shot and was paralysed from the neck down. When she also got an infection (as a complication of the wounds/operation), she decided not to seek treatment because her life wasn't worth living anymore. Is this murder or aggravated assault?

A similar one: a man is stabbed, and while he could have been saved, the medics make a mistake and he dies. Is (the stabbing) murder or assault?

Another one: a man drives too fast in a commercial street, skids, hits a lantern pole, which hits a window, the glass of which hits a man who bleeds to death. Is this manslaughter? (in other words, is there a causal chain from the driving to the glass hitting the man?)

A final one: a man finds an unexploded detonator in the woods, and takes it home as a souvenir/decoration. Years later, the next owner of the house does some remodeling and needs something to prop open a window. He uses (unknowingly) the detonator, with fatal consequences. Did the original man cause the death of the new owner?

Re:News for Lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43782021)

Murder.. Murder. Yes. Yes. Who put that pubic hair on my soda can?

Re:News for Lawyers (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#43781883)

I'll use your own example: hot coffee.

The case of Stella Liebeck [stellaawards.com] is a perfect example of what lawyers should be doing. McDonalds, for over a decade, served their coffee at temperatures hot enough to instantly cause severe burns - over 700 of them that led to lawsuits, almost all of which were settled out of court with no indication of McDonalds lowering their coffee temperature or even training employees to ensure lids were put on properly before serving. Stella Liebeck's lawyer was the first one to successfully bring McDonalds to court for effectively throwing scalding coffee at customers, and that only happened after McDonalds refused to settle for paying for Stella's two years of rehabilitation and skin grafts.

This is what's worth defending. When somebody, be it a big company or an individual, unfairly puts others at risk, those others should be defended. McDonald's customers should be defended from having hazardous material hastily handed to them, and people should be defended from the financial burden of being hit by a careless driver, and medical professionals should be defended from being duty-bound to treat everyone, even if there's no reimbursement for the expense.

Re:News for Lawyers (1)

ultranova (717540) | about a year ago | (#43785341)

McDonalds, for over a decade, served their coffee at temperatures hot enough to instantly cause severe burns

Which is the proper service temperature for coffee.

McDonald's customers should be defended from having hazardous material hastily handed to them,

Which includes pretty much everything served at McDonald's.

and medical professionals should be defended from being duty-bound to treat everyone, even if there's no reimbursement for the expense.

Dunno how this fits in with the rest - is it a Slashdot comment equivalent of a rider [wikipedia.org] ? In any case, you're wrong - with great power comes great responsibility, no matter how much it might clash with anyone's political ideology.

Still, it's not a difficult problem to solve another way - simply use a single-payer medical system and the doctors get their reimbursement from the government.

Re:News for Lawyers (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#43785555)

Please read the comment I replied to. The point is that "this is McDonalds" doesn't count as an excuse for putting unsuspecting customers at risk, and that's something lawyers should be doing.

Similarly, the comment about the insane medical system is also in response to the earlier post. The Affordable Care Act is at attempt to defend medical professionals from the billions of dollars in unpaid bills annually. Yes, I agree that a single-payer system would be far simpler and much more effective, but there's no way the Congress would approve such a thing, because it looks too much like socialism.

Re:News for Lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778519)

Almost equally interesting is watching the other nerds arguing about which team is better. It's like a sports-bar brawl, but with bigger words.

And limper wrists.

Re:News for Lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43779779)

Law is a curious mixture of logic, psychology, history, ethics, and economics.

Corrolary 1: Law should stay the *BLEEP* out of technological affairs.

Re:News for Lawyers (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#43781421)

Reducing the sentiment to its basic form, humans should stay the *BLEEP* out of the physical world... Yeah, that's going well.

There are few laws that say "you can't research this technology". Rather, there are laws that describe what's acceptable to do with a particular technology once you have it. To use the Slashdot-standard car analogy, laws rarely forbid the use of cars, but using them in such a way as to put others' lives at risk is a crime. The ultimate goal of law is to help society to live peacefully by describing standards for behavior. Therefore laws only have authority over the human aspects of any field. All those legends and stories about legislators making laws redefining constants or banning certain phenomena are missing significant context that explain the lawyers' actions well, but reasonable legislation doesn't make a good story.

Then again, I suspect what you really mean to say is "Law should stay the *BLEEP* out of any affair I'm involved in, unless it benefits me more than anybody else".

I don't have bitcoins (0)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about a year ago | (#43778207)

But I do have grapes. They are red and might have some seeds.

Where should I send them?

In an unrelated note: Dear Slashdort, you are a web site on the internet and I believe that the internet owes me an opoplogy for its disgursting behavior in front of my life-partner, Laura. I demand five hundred dollars (not bitcons!) by tomorrow, or no GRAPES for you!

Too late (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778245)

Pity they hadn't been collecting them for the past two years, and just saving them. They'd have made a mint!

Re:Too late (2)

magic maverick (2615475) | about a year ago | (#43779227)

Too late indeed.
I donated before they stopped. Something like 15 bitcoins (which, at $100 a coin, is $1500, a nice chunk of change, at the time it was more like $4 a coin). They then, stupidly, turned around and gave all the bitcoins away. And not to other organizations of a similar mind (FSF, or whoever), but to the Bitcoin Faucet. They should have either just stopped publishing the donation address (and left all the coins sitting in a hidden, off-line wallet), until they worked out the legal consequences, or they should have given the coins to other freedom loving organizations (e.g. FSF).

As it is, I won't be donating $1500 again, instead, it is possible I won't donate again at all. (Though, if they had have just converted the coins straight to USD, which appears to be their policy now, it would have only been ~$60.)

Bitcoins are an easy, simple, and safe way for me to donate to freedom loving organizations. No bank fees, no credit card fees, no Paypal (which i refuse to use), etc. Bitcoin (which I can get by doing services for people) work extremely well. Except when the organization is made up of lawyers who worry too much about the future. And, what's odd, is that their discussion about potential strengths (e.g. that, unlike other payment processors, it can't be cut by a single actor), and weaknesses (e.g. only pseudonymous (though you can take action to make it more anonymous)) are not new. All these issues remain exactly the same as the did two years ago. Bitcoin (or another widely used distributed cypto-currency) is a positive because of the strengths identified, and despite the potential weaknesses.

I can't believe it took them two years to workout that maybe merely accepting bitcoin and converting them straight to USD (like they do with stocks, cars, and other assets) is probably not going to open them up to legal action. I'm a little disappointed really that it took so long.

Re:Too late (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43779883)

I'm really glad they took the time, because if there was legal action and the EFF wanted to represent those people their acceptance of bitcoin could create a needless conflict.

Re:Too late (1)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#43781655)

Bitcoins are an easy, simple, and safe way for me to donate to freedom loving organizations. No bank fees, no credit card fees, no Paypal (which i refuse to use), etc. Bitcoin (which I can get by doing services for people) work extremely well.

You CAN just donate money without tacking on all of those convenience services, you know...

Re:Too late (1)

magic maverick (2615475) | about a year ago | (#43782265)

Pray tell how? I live (currently) in a developing African country. If I want to donate cash to EFF, I'd have to fly to the USA and hand it to them. Or, you know, use a service that takes a chunk as a transfer fee. So, yeah, maybe you want me to post it to them? I'll stick with Bitcoins.

Re:Too late (1)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#43784203)

Put a check in the mail.

Re:Too late (1)

magic maverick (2615475) | about a year ago | (#43784975)

Yeah? More like a worthless IOU. I don't have a check account anywhere in the world. The only "developed" country I know of that still uses personal checks is the USA. OK, you can still use them in other places, but it's just easier to do an electronic funds transfer, which are (generally) free (domestically). I don't have a USA bank account, so I can't even do that (without incurring International bank transfer fees). Did you not read the bit about me being in an African country? (And I've never even been to the USA, and have no friends or family there, sort of rules out a whole lot of other options you may suggest.) And if you meant a bank check or similar, then, that's, you know, sort of costing me money as well.

Bitcoin offers a way for me to effectively, quickly, and easily, transfer money around the world, without involving any companies at all. (The fact that the recipient may automatically convert those funds to a particular government issued currency is irrelevant.) Besides, fuck the banks.

Re:Too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43789553)

Similar story here. I sent them 80 BTC first time round and was somewhat vocal about their decision to send their collection to the faucet. However, they have been consistent with their reasoning. I'm certainly prepared to give them a second chance and will send them 80 mBTC soon. I hope they put it to good use.

Donated some (4, Funny)

bragr (1612015) | about a year ago | (#43778427)

I donated some just because. I don't use my wallet that much anyway and there is never a bad reason to toss a little money EFF's way.

posting ac because <spookyvoice\>ooooo... bitcoin anonymity...</spookyvoice\>

Why not... (-1, Flamebait)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year ago | (#43778439)

Accepting them is a "no-brainer" as a donation, there is no loss. But for any other serious financial transaction, well, unless you are a mobster or a dope dealer or otherwise involved in something illegal, the real question is WHY DEAL WITH IT.

Re:Why not... (4, Insightful)

kumanopuusan (698669) | about a year ago | (#43778537)

You, sir, sound like someone who has only dealt with credit card companies as a consumer. Their per-transaction rates and additional fees are ridiculous and they reserve the right to reverse any transaction at any time on their own discretion. A move away from centralized payment systems, with their single points of control and the accompanying rent-seeking is a benefit to everyone except the major processors.

Do you really think that giving a few financial service companies a stranglehold on most economic activity is a good thing? If a handful of companies including Visa, Inc. work together, they can effectively stop payments to any organization they like. Bitcoin isn't perfect, but it's a step in the right direction.

Re:Why not... (0)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | about a year ago | (#43778605)

Accepting them is a "no-brainer" as a donation, there is no loss. But for any other serious financial transaction, well, unless you are a mobster or a dope dealer or otherwise involved in something illegal, the real question is WHY DEAL WITH IT.

Because freedom.

Also as the system become mature and ubiquitous it will be a good way to avoid extortion fee from the banks and credit card processors. There is lot more competition in currency exchange. As a result trading currency(eg: Bitcoin to USD) is cheaper then all the transaction fee you get for processing credit cards.

But yeah, continue to spread FUD about new technologies. In the meantime the US government continue to use 'honest' and 'legit' USD to traffic drugs [wikipedia.org] .

Enron used US dollars (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778621)

You : "Mobsters, drug dealers, gunmen, fraudsters, Wallstreets biggest financial frauds, all done in US dollars. The real question is WHY DEAL WITH IT."
Me: "Just because the dollar is used for crime, doesn't mean you are a criminal for using it. Don't be afraid of stuff so that you're guilty by association because that's how fascism works."

You : "Identity thieves, scammers, fraudsters use Paypal. The real question is WHY DEAL WITH IT."
Me: "Just because Paypal is used for crime, doesn't mean you are a criminal for using it. You are not a criminal, you have nothing to fear in a free world."

You : "Drug dealers use Cash. The real question is WHY DEAL WITH IT."
Me: "Oh get over it, you wimp, its a currency, its more solid than any fiat currency, you can buy real legal things with it. Get over it."

Re:Why not... (1)

HeadOffice (912211) | about a year ago | (#43779139)

Accepting them is a "no-brainer" as a donation, there is no loss. But for any other serious financial transaction, well, unless you are a mobster or a dope dealer or otherwise involved in something illegal, the real question is WHY DEAL WITH IT.

There is a (potential) loss. As soon as the Bitcoin collapses, some people will have lost money. And Bitcoin might, in retrospect, be regarded as a pyramid scheme. People will not be happy with any party that has profited from that.

Re:Why not... (1)

pantaril (1624521) | about a year ago | (#43779179)

Accepting them is a "no-brainer" as a donation, there is no loss. But for any other serious financial transaction, well, unless you are a mobster or a dope dealer or otherwise involved in something illegal, the real question is WHY DEAL WITH IT.

I guess one of the several good reasons should be enough for your trollish post: Because you want to be able to accept/send money from/to anyone in the world connected to the internet within reasonable time (one hour) and with small fees (cent per transaction)

Re:Why not... (1, Informative)

ultranova (717540) | about a year ago | (#43779827)

with small fees (cent per transaction)

$1.2 per transaction, actually. The default transaction fee is 0.01 BTC, and current exchange rate is $120 per BTC.

That's becoming somewhat of a problem, actually.

Re:Why not... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43780065)

Ummm... bullshit?

The default transaction fee is 0.0001 BTC. 1.2 cents.

I like this though:

"That's becoming somewhat of a problem, actually."

Makes it appear that you're part of things, and know what you're talking about.

Re:Why not... (1)

ultranova (717540) | about a year ago | (#43783675)

The default transaction fee is 0.0001 BTC. 1.2 cents.

The "Main" tab in "Options" menu of the qt client says: "Optional transaction fee per kB that helps make sure your transactions are processed quickly. Most transactions are 1kB. Fee 0.01 recommended."

Also, setting this to 0 in results in both "Debit" and "Net amount" in "Transaction details" be the same thing, and "Transaction fee" to not show up. So I conclude that 0.01 BTC is indeed the default fee.

Re:Why not... (1)

ultranova (717540) | about a year ago | (#43785637)

But for any other serious financial transaction, well, unless you are a mobster or a dope dealer or otherwise involved in something illegal, the real question is WHY DEAL WITH IT.

Define "serious financial transaction". How does it differ from a regular financial transaction?

But in any case, the reasons to use Bitcoin is: you don't need the approval or cooperation of any third parties. You don't need a credit card, PayPal account nor even a bank account. You don't need to pay fees associated with these nor care if a government or a lobby group disapproves of your business. You don't need to worry about chargebacks nor people stealing your card number. You don't need to wait until the next day to have your transaction verified. Your have privacy - no, even if I don't do anything wrong or illegal I still don't want a stalker watching me. And you don't need to worry about things like the recent bank troubles in Cyprus.

Bitcoin is simply superior in over-the-Internet transactions, especially multinational ones.

Re:Why not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43798087)

you don't need the approval or cooperation of any third parties.

Sure you do: you need the cooperation of the entire network of bitcoin miners.

You don't need a credit card, PayPal account nor even a bank account.

Instead you need at least one bitcoin wallet, and practical working knowlege about how to secure it (which is not simple).

You don't need to pay fees associated with these

Instead you need to pay bitcoin transaction fees. What's the difference in the end, really? (Except that bitcoin fees provide me a hell of a lot less services than my banking fees do...)

nor care if a government or a lobby group disapproves of your business.

Er, what?! What in the fuck does that have to do with choice of payment methods? If your business is illegal it's going to be illegal in bitcoins too.

You don't need to worry about chargebacks nor people stealing your card number.

Instead you need to worry about people stealing the magic numbers which define your bitcoin wallet. (This is not a theoretical risk.) And you also need to worry about making sure you don't lose those magic numbers, as unlike a real bank account there's absolutely no way to get the money back if you lose said magic numbers. (This too is not a theoretical risk.) And if you're a consumer you need to worry about the fact that it's a one-way transaction. Chargebacks are a feature, not a bug.

You even need to worry about typoes. Get one digit of that incredibly long hex string wrong when trying to send someone some bitcoins? Congratulations, you've just paid nobody at all. And those bitcoins are gone forever, irrevocably destroyed. No way to get them back. (This too is not a theoretical risk! All of these things have actually happened.)

You don't need to wait until the next day to have your transaction verified.

Instead you need to wait for the bitcoin network to process your transaction, which is nowhere near the instantaneous gratification that people demand of credit/debit cards. There isn't even a guarantee that the bitcoin network will actually process your transaction either. You're reliant upon hoping one of the next nodes that mines a block decides your tip is large enough to include the transaction in that block. This has actually become a practical issue recently, with many nodes choosing to be picky about what transactions they accept.

Your have privacy - no, even if I don't do anything wrong or illegal I still don't want a stalker watching me.

Uh. You do know that the bitcoin block chain is public knowledge, right? Transactions are all out in the open. The only thing which isn't public is the ownership link between a bitcoin address and your name, but a "stalker" might easily manage to figure out some addresses owned by you through internet detectivery, hacking your PC, etc. How is this any better than using a credit card? At least with a CC you don't automatically publish every transaction to the whole world! (note: publishing is the same as giving a stalker-type attacker a much bigger attack surface to work with)

And you don't need to worry about things like the recent bank troubles in Cyprus.

Yes, because bitcoin is so free of any worries at all. (not!)

Bitcoin is simply superior in over-the-Internet transactions, especially multinational ones.

You're simply full of shit. It's amusing how you bitcoin fanatics live in this alternate reality where glaring flaws with bitcoins don't exist and every tiny problem with conventional currencies is OMG SKY IS FALLING.

Freedom currency (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43778465)

They should rename it 'freedom currency', because as governments try to track and control the flow of money and decide who can spend what where, Bitcoin is about the only thing you can use with any certainty. Governments don't get to say which bitcoin can be sent to whom, and when they blocked Wikileaks donations, it showed we couldn't trust the financial banking system to stay free from extra-legal USA pressures.

P.S. I always said that SWIFT data the EU Commission handed to the USA would be used for political control, and when the US leaked it to UK and Australia marketed as 'anti-money laundering leaked data'*, it was no surprise to see that *no* rich and powerful US politicians were on the leak list, as if they'd been removed.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/apr/03/offshore-secrets-offshore-tax-haven

* A subset of the data was extracted related to tax havens, and leaked to the "Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists", the much larger dataset, including everyone else, lots of ordinary innocent people, was handed to the IRS, UK and Australia. A reach-around around the US Financial privacy act and a lot of criminal laws in Europe. See, it wasn't 'given' officially, it was 'leaked'. Do you see any criminal investigations into the leak of the financial records of billions of people in any of these countries? No. So they know where that data came from, and the journalists were patsies in marketing that data.

Dear FSF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43779079)

Regarding

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/05/eff-will-accept-bitcoins-support-digital-liberty [eff.org]

I am writing to notify you that from this moment I have decided to stop giving
financial support of EFF, via both my membership and donations, including via
campaigns like the Humble Indie Bundle. I understand that my contributions
were not of any significance, so you probably won't even notice -- but thought
I should let you know anyways.

The reason for that, is I will not support or have any business with any
organization that implicitly gives legitimacy to Bitcoin by accepting them for
payment for any services or as donations.

Thanks

Dear EFF (fixd) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43779087)

Regarding

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/05/eff-will-accept-bitcoins-support-digital-liberty [eff.org]

I am writing to notify you that from this moment I have decided to stop giving
financial support of EFF, via both my membership and donations, including via
campaigns like the Humble Indie Bundle. I understand that my contributions
were not of any significance, so you probably won't even notice -- but thought
I should let you know anyways.

The reason for that, is I will not support or have any business with any
organization that implicitly gives legitimacy to Bitcoin by accepting them for
payment for any services or as donations.

Thanks

Re:Dear FSF (1)

pantaril (1624521) | about a year ago | (#43779189)

The reason for that, is I will not support or have any business with any
organization that implicitly gives legitimacy to Bitcoin by accepting them for
payment for any services or as donations.

Care to share the reason why would you do that? What do you see on Bitcoin so horrible that it drives you to completely abandon doing business with entities using it?

Re:Dear FSF (1)

pantaril (1624521) | about a year ago | (#43779199)

I am writing to notify you that from this moment I have decided to stop giving
financial support of EFF, via both my membership and donations, including via
campaigns like the Humble Indie Bundle.

I hope you are aware that humble indie bundle now also accepts bitcoins as payments for their games. You should probably stop buying them if you hate bitcoin so much:)

Re:Dear FSF (1)

ledow (319597) | about a year ago | (#43779949)

I've decided to stop paying my tax. Turns out most of that money goes to warmongers and making weapons. And I won't pay my phone bill. Turns out that that part-funds illegal phone competitions.

Guess who I'll be hurting more.

(P.S. Also the reason why I'm in fits of hysterics when a DVD tells me I'd be supporting terrorists if I pirate it - ironic given the criminals I'd supported by buying it in the first place)

Why are BitCoins valuable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43779119)

They're just numbers after all.

I do understand that it's a lot of work to generate just one, but what is it that, once I've generated a BitCoin, motivates someone else to want it so much that they're willing to sell me something in exchange.

This isn't a troll. I really want to know.

They don't hold bitcoins, they immediately convert (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about a year ago | (#43779197)

... what is it that, once I've generated a BitCoin, motivates someone else to want it so much that they're willing to sell me something in exchange ...

That they can convert the bitcoin to a US Dollar, a Euro, etc **immediately** after receiving it. They don't hold bitcoins, they convert them to something else.

Re:Why are BitCoins valuable? (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#43779249)

Same as all money - it's convenient to many people to act as if they have value. You're at liberty to deny the value of the dollar, the pound, or a lump of gold, same as a bitcoin. You could also decide to use shiny pebbles as currency, as long as you find at least one other person who'll buy into the fiction. Of course "real" currencies have the weight of law propping them up (must be accepted as payment of debt, etc) but ultimately it's all made up.

Re:Why are BitCoins valuable? (1)

trifish (826353) | about a year ago | (#43782401)

Nonsense. The value of official currencies is substantially backed by financial and other laws. Bitcoin is just intagible goods. The status of official currencies is higher, way higher.

Re:Why are BitCoins valuable? (1)

pantaril (1624521) | about a year ago | (#43779761)

Why are BitCoins valuable

The value of everything is just matter of supply and demand.

So you should ask: why is there demand for bitcoins?

Because they have many desirable properties. To name just a few:
- they are digital
- they are scarse
- there is no central authority in charge of them
- they can be transfered anywhere in the world (where there is internet connection) in about a hour for very low fee
- they are easily divisible
- they are recognised as currency by growing number of users

Re:Why are BitCoins valuable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43780095)

You missed perhaps the most important reason: there will be a limited number of them. This is a great check against devaluation and inflation. Imagine if any currency would similarly be restricted- finite, rather than just "printing more paper".

Re:Why are BitCoins valuable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43780141)

- Because they have many desirable properties. To name just a few:

Gold and diamonds, etc. does have desirable properties. The rest is fraud.

- they are digital

Therefore easy to destroy. Analogue systems are more resilient to damage. A paper banknote can be folded, worn and small chips missing and still be valueable.

- they are scarse

Potentially false assumption. You just cannot know if the NSA has already generated all 16 million or so bitcoins and sitting on them to collapse the pyramid as soon as enough drug traffickers, e-anarchists and muslim tenorists enter the trade.

- there is no central authority in charge of them

Potentially false assumption. The people who created it (may have been the NSA) could have planted clever in it. After all they are 20 years ahead in applied maths.

- they can be transfered anywhere in the world (where there is internet connection) in about a hour for very low fee

Net connection is easily gone. Gov't says cut cable and the cable is cut

- they are easily divisible

That is why coins exist for change (of paper money)

- they are recognised as currency by growing number of users

They are called a bunch of ponzi scheme victims

Re:Why are BitCoins valuable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43782115)

It's 21 million ending in the year 2140, they aren't created ahead of time, you can find more information here- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitcoin.

Re:Why are BitCoins valuable? (1)

ledow (319597) | about a year ago | (#43779925)

World of Warcraft accounts.
Steam's new Trading Card beta (with RARE FOIL CARDS!)
Trading cards in general.
Achievements in games.
XP in game networks.
"Levelling up".

There's any amount of intangible things that people will pay real money for. That's the incentive. It's not that *I* would pay X amount of money for whatever it is, but that *SOMEONE ELSE* would pay it. That makes it valuable.

Why they buy it is up to them. To complete their collection? To get one over on their friends? To say they have one? Who cares? People buy junk all day long every day ("acre of land on the Moon", "name a star", etc.).

The difference is between those who see the item itself as valuable, and those who see possession of the item as a way to extract value from it (i.e. I think it's baloney as a currency, but someone will give me £20 for it, so I'll happily pay £15 and make a profit).

Does the share of Microsoft that you have actually GIVE you anything? Or is it a speculative holding that only has value because someone else has TOLD you it has value? Is it really any different until you get into owning literally millions of shares and get a say on the board?

Something is only worth a value when someone else is willing is pay that for it. And why they are willing to pay for it is not a huge part of selling it, or being some kind of middleman (except possibly as market research). I can't explain why people want to buy iPhones or iPads for commercial use, but there is an awful lot of money to be made in producing them and selling them to that industry.

I can't explain why people will pay for the next DLC in a game that was released with less content than all their competitors with DLC available on release day. But, for sure, if I could make money from it, I would.

I hold a fraction of a Bitcoin. Literally. A fraction. I bought it recently and will hold onto it to see if it holds value. I don't really care what people will do with a Bitcoin I sell them so long as, in a few years, it's worth more than I paid for it.

The people who got in early on it did exactly the same and the largest single wallet address (not the largest single Bitcoin wallet which is impossible to determine) holds something ridiculous like 400,000 BTC worth millions. So lots of other people also think it has value. And there are marketplaces that will GIVE you that value, in cash, products or services, for a Bitcoin. That's the point. Otherwise it would be just a number. People say your bank account is just a number - it is. But it's a number that people are willing to exchange for goods or services, that's what makes it valuable.

Sure, we're all gambling on the future of the market (not the currency, necessarily, and hell, I'd rather have had Bitcoin than Zimbabwean dollars a few years ago), but while it has value (i.e. someone willing to convert to "real" money or tangible goods), then it will still *be* valuable.

The primary motivation, I think, behind owning Bitcoin is to have anonymised currency based on number-crunching that you can generate yourself from nothing more than computer hardware and a connection to the Internet. That appeals to all kinds of people from geeks to overclockers to mathematicians to kids with no pocket money to datacentre and network owners (when the Bitcoin return on the cost of number crunching crosses a point that makes it profitable, you can be sure that Google will use all their idle time to do it! At the moment, that point is long gone and not likely to reappear until all the Bitcoins are mined) right up to criminals.

You can buy an ASIC-based bitcoiner miner, now, that will pay for itself at current market rates within a year. After that it's sheer profit, even including the electricity used to run it (the ASIC-based miners give the most return on the lowest power). Sure, it's a few grand to buy one and the price of Bitcoin could crash. But it could also go through the roof. So if you have a few grand and you want to invest it, you could do a lot worse than buying a Bitcoin ASIC miner and leaving it running for a few years. Hell, it might even outperform just about any savings account or other investment you might name.

You can't predict future demand, so you might make a loss comparable to the cost of the hardware plus the cost of keeping it running, or you might make some almost-unlimited profit. Is it more or less risky than opening a business, trading on eBay, putting your money in a bank, stuffing it under the mattress, playing the stock markets or gambling on a horse? Who knows. That's for each person to decide for themselves because it basically involves predicting the future. People have got rich doing so and gone bankrupt doing so.

Quite why people will give you money for those numbers is no more sensible a question than why Amazon give me DVD's for the numbers on my credit-card statement, really.

Other 'currencies'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43780073)

I'm just wondering... if I rock up to EFF HQ with a box of cupcakes which I'd like to donate, will they say "no thanks, we don't accept cupcakes"?

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