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Dark Wallet Will Make Bitcoin Accessible For All — Except the Feds

timothy posted about 9 months ago | from the why-wouldn't-you-trust-the-feds? dept.

Bitcoin 206

Daniel_Stuckey writes "The group, called UnSystem, are self-proclaimed crypto-anarchists led by Cody Wilson—who you may remember as the creator of the controversial 3D-printed gun. After getting himself in hot water with the government for making the digital files to print an unregulated weapon freely available on the internet, Wilson's now endeavoring to bring Bitcoin back to its anarchist roots. Like other Bitcoin wallets, you'll be able to store, send, and receive coins, and interact with block chain, the Bitcoin public ledger. But Dark Wallet will include extra protections to make sure transactions are secure, anonymous, and hard to trace—including a protocol called "trustless mixing" that combines users' coins together before encoding it into the ledger."

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206 comments

Deceased owners (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45308117)

Would someone please explain what happens to BitCoins whose owners die without passing on their wallets to successors? Without the necessary passwords, what happens to the BitCoins? Are they removed from the system?

Re:Deceased owners (4, Informative)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | about 9 months ago | (#45308147)

Are they removed from the system?

No, the just remain in the blockchain as unspent outputs.

Re:Deceased owners (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45308177)

Isn't it inevitable that the total pool of BitCoins would be reduced to nothing as owners die off without passing on their wallets? That was the intent of my original question.

Re:Deceased owners (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45308243)

Yes. Its called inflation, it will continue to inflate if used. Economically that is interesting.

Re:Deceased owners (5, Informative)

Your.Master (1088569) | about 9 months ago | (#45308373)

That would be deflation, since it's the money supply being reduced.

Re:Deceased owners (-1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 9 months ago | (#45308261)

Keep in mind each bit coin can also be split into 10,000,000 satoshis. The Dutch didn't run out of tulips and I'm sure BTC will be worthless long before bit coiners, lying in their death bed, regret never having tamed the strange, and thus having no children to inherit their wallet.

Re:Deceased owners (2)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about 9 months ago | (#45308323)

Isn't it inevitable that the total pool of BitCoins would be reduced to nothing as owners die off without passing on their wallets? That was the intent of my original question.

No more inevitable than people having stashed away money that gets destroyed in fires (or other) will result in all money being reduced to nothing.

Personal example (I was not there, my dad was) an old relative died at home after extended illness. He kept saying something about the mattress, but could not speak well. Dad and his brothers took the mattress to the side of the railroad tracks and burned it. That is when they discovered it was stuffed full of cash and they had no way to put it out before it was all gone. Similar stuff happens all the time, but it is the amount of money remaining in circulation that has the impact on prices, etc. Also, since BitCoin can be made into such small change, losses of sizable chunks should not be devastating.

Re:Deceased owners (2)

Your.Master (1088569) | about 9 months ago | (#45308447)

It's absolutely more inevitable than that. Non-bitcoin money gets created and destroyed constantly. Part of the point of bitcoin was a limited supply -- just under 21 million can ever be in the supply at most. If you burn the mattress full of USB keys with bitcoin wallets, they will never be replaced (once the last coin is mined, anyway).

Apparently the current limitation on divisibility of bitcoins can technically be worked around, but nobody cares to because it's already divisible to fractions of pennies. That will become worthwhile as the currency deflates from ever-decreasing supply.

Though I'm skeptical of bitcoin lasting nearly long enough to have that kind of problem.

Re:Deceased owners (2, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 9 months ago | (#45309327)

This dividing in ever smaller units is not a solution, it doesn't increase the number of bitcoins in existence. It just means that the bitcoins that are still there increase in value - possibly rapidly - making it more interesting for people to hold them instead of spending them, amplifying the problem.

This until so many bitcoins are lost and being hoarded that there is not enough liquidity left to make it a viable currency.

Re:Deceased owners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45308491)

No more inevitable than people having stashed away money that gets destroyed in fires (or other) will result in all money being reduced to nothing.

Yes and no, there is an upper limit of 21 million BTCs whereas governments can, within reason, simply print more regular money. So the cash burned in your relative's mattress doesn't matter cause much more has been added into the system. If access to a wallet with 1 million bitcoins is lost, the upper limit is reduced to 20 million forever.

Re:Deceased owners (4, Informative)

philip.paradis (2580427) | about 9 months ago | (#45308573)

Factor in eight decimal places worth of divisibility to that 20 million limit. I hope you understand why that's significant.

Re:Deceased owners (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45309013)

Factor in eight decimal places worth of divisibility to that 20 million limit. I hope you understand why that's significant.

It's like you just said deflation isn't a big deal because a dollar can be cut into eight decimal places worth of divisibility.

The point, you've missed it.

Re:Deceased owners (2)

whistlingtony (691548) | about 9 months ago | (#45309245)

Or maybe he's saying that just because there's a finite number of bitcoins, that doesn't mean you can't split them a bajillion ways.

Everyone seems to think that bitcoins can't have inflation.... Every value is based on perception and trust. If I can buy a candy bar for .5 bitcoins today (I made that up), the market may shift and tomorrow it will be 1 bitcoin. Who knows?

Same thing with gold. I listen to all my conservative friends ramble on about gold as if there'd be no inflation if we used it... but it's STILL just perception and trust. The value of gold can shift. It went up when Obama became president, and not because the supply magically went down..... Heh.

Anyway, perception of value can change. And just because you can't make more bitcoins, doesn't mean you can't split them forever. It's kind of the same thing really. People don't seem to get that. Or, perhaps I completely misunderstood what he was trying to say.

Re:Deceased owners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45309021)

Who the hell sets their trash on fire on someone else's property?

Re:Deceased owners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45309131)

Gypsies. Not a judgement, I've seen it happen.

Re:Deceased owners (2)

Zemran (3101) | about 9 months ago | (#45309311)

"an old relative died at home after extended illness."

This does not tell us about bitcoins but about preparing for the inevitable. We should all prepare for our death as we will all die. My oldest son knows how to access my money and how to deal with my demise. You need someone you trust in life and your old relative obviously lacked that. I give a copy of all my keys etc. to my son and I know that the trust is 2 way in that I have access to his. If I had a stock of bitcoins he would have a copy of the keys. When he asks for money I tell him to get it from the account himself... My online banking is set up with a direct link to his account. I know that not everyone can trust someone else and that in that way I am lucky. I think that it is sad that many people do not have someone.

Re:Deceased owners (2)

kajsocc (2955535) | about 9 months ago | (#45308169)

They are not removed, but they become inaccessible. It's quite like an encrypted message that you've lost the passphrase to. Everyone can see the coins in the ledger but nobody has the keys to access them.

(Note that it won't be obvious to everyone else that nobody has the key. It could just as easily be the case that the owner just hasn't made any transactions. They will just sit in the blockchain forever.)

Re:Deceased owners (3, Informative)

gringer (252588) | about 9 months ago | (#45308171)

Would someone please explain what happens to BitCoins whose owners die without passing on their wallets to successors?

Until someone can work out what the password / key is, the bitcoins will be unable to be used by anyone else -- the value of the remaining bitcoins will probably increase. If someone *is* able to work out what that password / key is, then the value of all bitcoins will drop.

Re:Deceased owners (4, Interesting)

pla (258480) | about 9 months ago | (#45308239)

Would someone please explain what happens to BitCoins whose owners die without passing on their wallets to successors? Without the necessary passwords, what happens to the BitCoins? Are they removed from the system?

At present, every 5-10 years, the Bitcoin protocol will necessarily upgrade its encryption an d hashing routines to keep pace with processor (whether CPU or GPU or "other") speeds.

Dead people will, of course, not ever transfer their balances to the newest version, and as a result, after 10-20 years, their BTC will become trivially crackable.

You can, therefore, expect an entire community of BTC "grave" robbers to develop, who will, instead of wasting CPU time on mining new blocks, waste it on reclaiming old blocks

Note as an aside, when you see block-0 spent, you can presume the NSA can easily read your old encrypted email.

Re:Deceased owners (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 9 months ago | (#45308299)

I've never heard of this. Source?

As far as I'm aware, once the blocks are found and claimed, the only cryptography that happens in bitcoin is signing messages using your wallet keys.

Old coins in somebody's derelict wallet won't be in "blocks" either (that would be like saying all of the dollar bills in your wallet automatically gain sequential serial numbers once they become yours.)

The original bitcoin creators have said that when it becomes necessary, we can collectively decide to increase the number of bitcoins available. It wouldn't be up to them to unilaterally decide that though (they can't,) rather there would have to be enough actual owners of bitcoins who decide to do so. Not quite sure how exactly it is supposed to work, but it sounds akin to amending the US constitution.

Re:Deceased owners (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 9 months ago | (#45308417)

I don't see any way the number of Bitcoins could be increased (they don't need to be as they are divisible to 8 decimal places already).

Re:Deceased owners (2)

hibiki_r (649814) | about 9 months ago | (#45308503)

Not increasing the monetary base, and just using appreciation leaves open a huge hole for a deflationary spiral that stops any exchanges from happening.

Imagine keeping money in your pocket was a good investment, because we had an 8% yearly deflation. You'd need very strong reasons to spend the money. Imagine the problems of loans when not loaning the money at all provides such a great rate of return.

The only way to get a working economy using the system Bitcoin has would be to have said economy grow extremely slowly. In essence, Bitcoin only has a chance of working if it's unpopular.

Deflationary spiral, oh my! (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 9 months ago | (#45308599)

Not increasing the monetary base, and just using appreciation leaves open a huge hole for a deflationary spiral that stops any exchanges from happening.

Heavens, what will we do? (Now grasping at pearls and frantically trying to fan my face.)

It's almost as if... dare I say it... the economy would be based on value instead of money!

No, that can't possibly happen. We have to do exactly what we've been doing - anything else would be unthinkable.

(What you've been taught to believe is not logically consistent. Think it through.)

Re:Deflationary spiral, oh my! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45309033)

Not increasing the monetary base, and just using appreciation leaves open a huge hole for a deflationary spiral that stops any exchanges from happening.

Heavens, what will we do? (Now grasping at pearls and frantically trying to fan my face.)

It's almost as if... dare I say it... the economy would be based on value instead of money!

No, that can't possibly happen. We have to do exactly what we've been doing - anything else would be unthinkable.

(What you've been taught to believe is not logically consistent. Think it through.)

Do you even know what deflation IS? Or value... or money??

Re:Deflationary spiral, oh my! (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about 9 months ago | (#45309319)

(What you've been taught to believe is not logically consistent. Think it through.)

One should practice what one preaches.

Re:Deceased owners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45309301)

The problem is that BitCoin needs a longer tail so mining would have been more productive.

Even with this new "dark wallet" and their vague claims, blockchains are still public, and it isn't hard for a LEO to put two and two together when there is one place that obviously is laundering money. Once there is enough proof to get FinCEN and other places, they will shut it down posthaste.

So, this "dark wallet" is a nice try, but realistically, it doesn't help a fundamental architecture decision of BitCoin which makes every single transaction public and traceable.

Re:Deceased owners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45308795)

It's easy. You just need to change the protocol to accept different numbers as Bitcoins.

But why would anyone accept that change to give you money at the expense of everyone else?

They would if you had the power to compel them. It'll happen like this - you'll hand out invalid extended bitcoins as tax returns and food stamps. People will try to spend them, and sue in the courts you control if they're not accepted.

Re:Deceased owners (2)

pla (258480) | about 9 months ago | (#45308823)

I've never heard of this. Source?

No real "source" required - If you can spoof an arbitrary SHA256 hash, you can "own" any Bitcoin block you want.

Over time, the need to future-proof the protocol against that possibility makes for an obvious upgrade path. But until someone moves "their"coins to a new wallet, the security of the original hash they used provides an upper limit to the CPU time needed to steal their coins.

With current CPUs and algorithms, that amounts to centuries or even millennia. Much like with MD5, however, if you don't think that will drop exponentially... Let me hold on to your BTC wallet for a decade or so. :)

Re:Deceased owners (4, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 9 months ago | (#45308429)

You can, therefore, expect an entire community of BTC "grave" robbers to develop, who will, instead of wasting CPU time on mining new blocks, waste it on reclaiming old blocks

Actually, that ordinarily would be a problem. However, you're not understanding that bitcoin isn't encrypting anything. It's hashing it. The bitcoin system doesn't protect against seizure and use of bitcoins; it protects against ledger fraud.

Think of it this way: It will always be hard (hopefully too hard) to undo, invalidate, or duplicate a transaction; The older it is, the more secure it becomes. But let's remove the idea of a bitcoin for the moment and instead say that everyone has a user account in this 'BT' system, and after supplying their login and password, can trade any coins they have with anyone else. Any transaction made is secure; until and unless you lose your password or someone else gets it. Then whatever bitcoins you have are now theirs, the end. But they cannot unspend your coins; they cannot change the transactions. They can only spend what's in your wallet now.

So these "grave" robbers can't reclaim old blocks... they can only decrypt the wallets the coins are stored in. Assuming they were ever encrypted to begin with.

The bit coin system is not secured against theft of coins. That's your job (either to steal or to protect)... all it guarantees is that transactions are permanent (and public).

Re:Deceased owners (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about 9 months ago | (#45309393)

I think you're confused about what exactly pla was saying. As you say, any transaction is secure until someone else gets your password (actually, your private key), then whatever bitcoins you have are now theirs, they can spend what's in your wallet now. So in the future, as pla suggested, a strategy for recovering bitcoins from wallets of dead people will be to capitalize on the fact they haven't been keeping up to date on their encryption, being dead and all, and so you can now figure out their keys (pla's premise being that what was a secure public/private key pair today won't be a decade or two from now, and you'll just determine the private key from the public one). At which point, as you say, whatever bitcoins they had are now yours.

Re:Deceased owners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45309171)

its called a living will people... MAKE ONE NOW, take your hand off the mouse and start writing...

Penises and butts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45308119)

Penises and butts

Just looking for donations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45308133)

Just a donation ware, riding on the heels of the announcement of "Dark Mail". Nothing to see here

So.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45308159)

The whole project is secretly run by the feds?

Re:So.... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45308335)

The whole project is secretly run by the feds?

Shush! We aren't supposed to talk about that!

Re:So.... (3, Funny)

F34nor (321515) | about 9 months ago | (#45308453)

No it is run my the illumina arrrrgh.... askldfjgieh

Nice scam (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45308181)

I like how they have no explanation how it's going to work, that the "technical info" link goes to something completely unrelated, and that "trustless mixing" isn't even a real thing in the bitcoin protocol. It's all very Bitcoin.

I'll just assume "trustless mixing" means "donate money to the developer's Pina Colada fund", just like the "contribute now" button.

Re:Nice scam (2)

kajsocc (2955535) | about 9 months ago | (#45308213)

I haven't RTFA--this is Slashdot, after all--but I'm pretty sure that "trustless mixing" is the very same method as described here [bitcointalk.org] . This method requires no changes to the bitcoin protocol and I'm fairly certain is in at least limited use today, given that there's been software released to facilitate it.

Re:Nice scam (2)

Beavertank (1178717) | about 9 months ago | (#45309111)

It's more "Cody Wilson" than "Bitcoin". The guy is a shameless attention whore who claims odd political beliefs but is actually doing the things he's doing for the payday.

Re:Nice scam (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about 9 months ago | (#45309407)

So, your typical bitcoin fan then...

Does it come with Dark Helmet? (2)

zenlessyank (748553) | about 9 months ago | (#45308193)

It Should.

Re:Does it come with Dark Helmet? (1)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about 9 months ago | (#45308343)

It Should.

At this point it seems to run on dark matter, so that helmet would be a good fit.

Re:Does it come with Dark Helmet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45308383)

Dark Helmet is a person, albeit fictional except in the minds of many 'Spaceballs" fans.. You can google it. It's ok. NSA said A.O.K.

zenlessyank was here but from somewhere else

Money Laundering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45308215)

Yeah, I know that what I was really wanting before getting into buttcoins was a built-in money-laundering scheme. It's important to me that I do the drug lords work for them.

Plus technologically speaking, I don't see how this could work- there has to be some record of who put in what and who gets out what, that record by virtue of existing and needing to be accessed (and thus decrypted) in order for the system to work means that that record makes all the obfuscation meaningless. It's as if a bunch of bank robbers took all their known-serial bills and threw them in a big pit mixed with people's savings accounts, then took out the exact same amount of money. It's irrelevant that the currency they took out aren't the "same ones" they put in, what matters is they stole X amount of dollars and they still have X amount of dollars. Good christ you're dealing with people here, not a fucking computer algorithm that's just going to go "Oh ok well as long as the serials are different carry on then".

Re:Money Laundering (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45308313)

More like butthurt that you didn't get in when these were actually worthless

Re:Money Laundering (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45308865)

It's a philosophical question, really. Were Enron stocks ever not worthless?
You sure could get a lot of money for them at one point, though.

Re:Money Laundering (2)

Agent ME (1411269) | about 9 months ago | (#45309037)

You have everyone put the same amount of money in, and they all take it out into brand new addresses. Anyone trying to trace the money will see X bitcoins go into the pool along with N-1 other people's X bitcoins, and then N new addresses each take X bitcoins out. Now you have to investigate N addresses instead of 1 address to figure out which owner used to own the original X bitcoins you were tracing.

Bitcoin's transaction history across addresses is very public, so this isn't just about privacy from law enforcement. It's about basic privacy from regular people too.

Ignorant and Stupid (1, Flamebait)

aaronb1138 (2035478) | about 9 months ago | (#45308221)

Hasn't the trend with government agencies *especially* the NSA been to more closely track those who act like they have something to hide. Frankly, such a disposition on the part of the NSA is reasonable and shows to me the taxpayer that they are at least trying to do their job, even if the methods aren't reasonable for the average or the peoples of interest.

Re:Ignorant and Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45308295)

Wait a minute... So you support the NSA's activities? I wonder how many are like you.

Re:Ignorant and Stupid (4, Insightful)

sI4shd0rk (3402769) | about 9 months ago | (#45308321)

Frankly, such a disposition on the part of the NSA is reasonable

I don't think government thugs harassing people is at all "reasonable."

Re:Ignorant and Stupid (-1, Troll)

artor3 (1344997) | about 9 months ago | (#45308391)

You're the guy who was arguing in the other thread today that government workers are literally subhuman and deserving of death. Of course you don't think they're reasonable. But I am very, very glad to have them monitoring you. Who knows when you might snap and decide to kill some subhumans?

As a tip, if you ever find yourself deciding that a group of tens of thousands of people are all subhuman and deserve to die, you might want to take a step back and think about what you're saying. You might find, if you're sufficiently honest with yourself, that you're the one who is being "unreasonable".

Re:Ignorant and Stupid (2)

sI4shd0rk (3402769) | about 9 months ago | (#45308455)

You're the guy who was arguing in the other thread today that government workers are literally subhuman and deserving of death.

Are you positive that that's what I was actually arguing?

And the joke wasn't about government workers in general, but those who violate our rights.

But I am very, very glad to have them monitoring you.

Looks like we have a principled lover of freedom here!

You might find, if you're sufficiently honest with yourself

"Honest" meaning "Anything that artor3 agrees with."

that you're the one who is being "unreasonable".

I'm not even entirely sure what you're talking about. What I think is unreasonable is when government thugs are harassing people; surely you don't object to that? Your reply seems offtopic to me.

Re:Ignorant and Stupid (1)

artor3 (1344997) | about 9 months ago | (#45308509)

Are you positive that that's what I was actually arguing?

Your response to hearing that a man died was to claim he wasn't a person and that he deserved what he got. So yeah, I'm pretty sure you were saying he was subhuman and deserved to die.

I'm sure you'll get modded insightful again here, and I'll be modded troll or whatever. But that's because Slashdot has become a cesspool of hatred and extremism. That story was tagged "hero". A man walks into a crowd and starts shooting, and you people consider him a hero, and talk about how his victims deserve it.

So yeah, I'm glad to have the law enforcement agencies keep an eye on you. That is entirely reasonable. If there was a group of people declaring black people subhuman and celebrating their deaths, surely that group would warrant attention as well.

Please, I know no one ever admits to being wrong on the internet, but just in the privacy of your own mind, think about what you're doing and saying. Think about what you're becoming.

Re:Ignorant and Stupid (1)

sI4shd0rk (3402769) | about 9 months ago | (#45308561)

Your response to hearing that a man died was to claim he wasn't a person and that he deserved what he got.

Really? Was that truly what happened, or will I have to spell it out for you?

And the latter part wasn't even part of my comment; I said that I felt sorry for the six people who got injured, not that the TSA agent "deserved what he got."

So yeah, I'm glad to have the law enforcement agencies keep an eye on you.

Either I was joking, or I was stating an opinion that I have. If you seriously support government thugs violating people's rights because they hold opinions that you find disagreeable or make jokes that you find distasteful, then I think you need to be a bit more principled when it comes to freedom.

I find people who have a complete disregard for freedom, privacy, and the constitution to be a much greater threat than anyone who makes a joke or voices an opinion that some find disagreeable.

If there was a group of people declaring black people subhuman and celebrating their deaths, surely that group would warrant attention as well.

If such imbeciles were merely stating their opinions, then no, I don't think government thugs should harass them.

Please, I know no one ever admits to being wrong on the internet

That would include you.

Re:Ignorant and Stupid (1)

artor3 (1344997) | about 9 months ago | (#45308579)

You said, and I quote:

"I feel for the six people who were injured."

Emphasis yours, and that's the important bit. The implication, clear as day, is that the seventh person, the man who died, doesn't count as a person and doesn't get your sympathy. It seems that you're now ashamed of what you said and unwilling to own up to it, but you DID say it, so stop trying to pretend otherwise.

Re:Ignorant and Stupid (1)

sI4shd0rk (3402769) | about 9 months ago | (#45308623)

The implication, clear as day, is that the seventh person, the man who died, doesn't count as a person and doesn't get your sympathy.

Exactly; I never said anything about him 'deserving' it, just that I didn't care.

The fact that you're taking that comment literally (or trying) and seriously is rather odd to me.

It seems that you're now ashamed of what you said and unwilling to own up to it

I don't think that's a proper interpretation of my reply.

Re:Ignorant and Stupid (1)

artor3 (1344997) | about 9 months ago | (#45308647)

You said he wasn't a person. Do you stand by that?

Re:Ignorant and Stupid (1)

sI4shd0rk (3402769) | about 9 months ago | (#45308663)

Yes; I think that TSA worker was an alien. Clearly that comment was meant to be taken seriously, and not just a jab at the TSA.

Re:Ignorant and Stupid (0)

artor3 (1344997) | about 9 months ago | (#45308715)

You're just deflecting now. A man died and you went out of your way to refer to him as subhuman.

Exercise your empathy muscle. Think about this man's family, his friends. Think of the blood pouring out of him as he prays, "Please God, just let me see my wife one last time."

Think about that, and try to remember that even people who disagree with you are still people.

Re:Ignorant and Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45308749)

The dude is dead, no point in feeling bad for him, he doesn't care.

Re:Ignorant and Stupid (1)

sI4shd0rk (3402769) | about 9 months ago | (#45308799)

You're just deflecting now.

You're just deflecting now. It is easy to make such statements. Now, stop trying to 'rationalize' the garbage you spewed forth and just admit the truth!

A man died and you went out of your way to refer to him as subhuman.

I don't care. The fact that you're taking this seriously is simply amusing. Do you make a habit out of taking everything other people say literally?

And if such a short, silly comment actually offended you (assuming it even did), then I have to say that that's rather... weak.

Think about that, and try to remember that even people who disagree with you are still people.

Really!? I had no idea.

And it's a bit more serious than mere disagreement, I would say.

Re:Ignorant and Stupid (1)

artor3 (1344997) | about 9 months ago | (#45308857)

I asked if you stood by your claim that this man is subhuman. It's apparent now that you have no intention of answering one way or the other, so I'll stop asking.

I really do hope that you think about what you're becoming. Such a cavalier disregard for the lives of people viewed as "other" is at the core of many atrocities, large and small. Just stop and think, next time you're about to dehumanize someone.

Since you've talked with me this long, I'm sure you want the last word. If so, go ahead and take it.

Re:Ignorant and Stupid (1)

sI4shd0rk (3402769) | about 9 months ago | (#45308875)

It's apparent now that you have no intention of answering one way or the other, so I'll stop asking.

I did answer, but for some reason, you don't seem to notice such things unless they're explicitly spelled out for you.

I really do hope that you think about what you're becoming. Such a cavalier disregard for the lives of people viewed as "other" is at the core of many atrocities, large and small.

I have to admit... that is impressive.

Re:Ignorant and Stupid (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 9 months ago | (#45308861)

I don't think government thugs harassing people is at all "reasonable."

I suppose it all comes down to which people they're harassing. Nobody's going to say too much if a terrorist gets shipped to Gitmo and spends the rest of his years being beaten for information. And maybe that isn't right -- maybe we should be less vindictive as a society. But nevertheless, who the government targets has a great degree of bearing on how much public resistance it encounters.

After 9/11, thousands of Muslims were attacked in public. There have been several mosque burnings and bombings, and the government has never identified the culprits. In New York there was, until very recently, a "stop and frisk" law that had been proven many times over to be excessively discriminatory towards black people. But nobody complained, because it only affected black people. To quote "First they came for the..." and you know the rest. Everybody knows the words by heart.

But they forget that it's human nature to look the other way, or even smile a little, when you see your enemy (actual or perceived) being hurt... and it doesn't much matter how justified it is. It's called the Just World hypothesis in the academic community... but basically; If we see somebody being hurt, we assume the must have done something to deserve it.

And for this reason... the government can harass lots of people -- just as long as they're the right people. And nobody will say anything. Whether it's reasonable or not... well, that really depends on who you ask.

To the NSA... we're all potential terrorists until proven otherwise. Innocent, guilty... doesn't really matter. To them, they're defending freedom. What's a little harassment in the name of freedom? And here's the thing that really pisses most people off: You aren't so different. So don't act like you are. Just like the NSA, you don't care so much about innocence or guilty (oh I know, you believe you do), not nearly as much as watching someone you don't like get their just desserts. It takes a rare kind of conviction to ideals to defend one's enemy; To put adherence to a belief above individual desire for vengeance. A very rare kind indeed; So much so, that only a handful of people have ever been possessed of it. And very often, those people either inspire us... or wind up dead.

Re:Ignorant and Stupid (1)

sI4shd0rk (3402769) | about 9 months ago | (#45308919)

And here's the thing that really pisses most people off: You aren't so different.

It's not that that statement makes me angry; it just makes me shrug. Even if it is true, it's utterly irrelevant. You don't give people powers that could easily be abused if you can help it because they will very likely abuse them.

(oh I know, you believe you do)

So... you say that I--someone you don't know--don't care about whether someone is innocent, but then go on to say that some people do care. Even if it didn't refer to me specifically, it still wouldn't make much sense to me.

While we're telling other people how they think or feel, I will say this: You don't really believe what you wrote. You might say you do, but you don't.

Re:Ignorant and Stupid (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 9 months ago | (#45308977)

It's not that that statement makes me angry; it just makes me shrug. Even if it is true, it's utterly irrelevant. You don't give people powers that could easily be abused if you can help it because they will very likely abuse them.

And yet, if you give nobody any power, then you cannot prevent injustice. Government needs to be bigger than any individual or group that can be a source of injustice, or it will be powerless to prevent it. This argument is as old as civilization. Without laws, there would be chaos. So we struggle eternally with finding a way of balancing perfect order -- which is synonymous with tyranny and oppression, and perfect chaos -- which is mob rule and violence.

It's counterintuitive, but for a group of humans to be at their happiest and most content... there must be a measure of both extremes.

While we're telling other people how they think or feel, I will say this: You don't really believe what you wrote. You might say you do, but you don't.

That's the interesting thing about beliefs though. Social reality is like shining a bright flashlight on a rainy night. Wherever you point it, it creates a cone. The rain, which was random and disorganized before, suddenly assumes a specific shape. And this is how society is organized. Why does red mean stop and green mean go? We all agree on it, and thus it has value. If we didn't, then nobody would stop, or go... it would be chaos. Such as it is with much of our 'justice'. We arbitrarily separate things that are naturally in equilibrium so that we can create meaning.

Re:Ignorant and Stupid (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 9 months ago | (#45308467)

Frankly, such a disposition on the part of the NSA is reasonable and shows to me the taxpayer that they are at least trying to do their job, even if the methods aren't reasonable for the average or the peoples of interest.

Similarly, understanding the development of the human genome, it is reasonable for 22 year olds to want to sleep with 17 year olds. Being good members of society, however, they do not. It is that restraint of our baser instincts in service of the common good that elevates us above the animals. The NSA has lost that restraint.

Re:Ignorant and Stupid (1)

sI4shd0rk (3402769) | about 9 months ago | (#45308699)

Being good members of society, however, they do not.

How does that make one a "good" member of society? Abiding by silly, arbitrary rules automatically makes you "good"?

The NSA is garbage, however.

Re:Ignorant and Stupid (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 9 months ago | (#45309073)

The example given didn't look arbitrary to me. Get a teenage girl pregnant and that drasticly changes the options of how she's going to live her life, especially if the guy who got her pregnant is not in any sort of position to support her. It's human nature for 14 year old girls to flirt with older guys they think are cool without thinking much about it or consequences. What makes the older guy a "good member of society" is making sure they think about consequences and not let things escalate. I'm pretty amazed I have to spell something so obvious out, even if the ages are different by country (16 in one, 18 in another). The idea is obvious and the line drawn is where that society finds things acceptable - below that line society will fuck up the life of the girl involved if it becomes obvious what is going on. You don't go around fucking what society sees as children without fucking up their lives if society finds out what that child was doing.

Or the C.I.A. method. (5, Interesting)

MRe_nl (306212) | about 9 months ago | (#45308227)

Cash In Advance.

Secure, anonymous, and hard to trace - including a protocol called "trustless mixing" that combines users' coins together.

Re:Or the C.I.A. method. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45308831)

...including a protocol called "money laundering" that gets you nailed as an accomplice to whatever was happening with that pool you laundered your money with...

Bad news. (4, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 9 months ago | (#45308361)

including a protocol called "trustless mixing" that combines users' coins together before encoding it into the ledger."

I got some bad news; The Silk Road tried the same thing. It failed. But I mean, whadda expect... the government likes getting paid. Kindof a lot. And so they have entire divisions of the government setup to make sure they can track down people who try to hide money from them and, well, make them pay.

But for the moment, let's ignore all that. Some crypto-anarchist hacked something together over the course of a few weekends and that's all solved. Great!

Next question: The NSA is evil and watching everything, except of course this, which is totally impregnable and would be pretty much the terrorist currency of choice... what compelling moral, ethical, or technical arguments can you provide that dropping my "money" into a e-blender and setting it to frappe will result in delicious privacy juices coming out in the same quantity as I put in, and is totally resistant to attack? I've learned in security that you can get either tamper-evident, or tamper-resistant... but trying to get both is enormously difficult. So I really, well and truly, want to know how you plan on having the necessary robust auditing and controls necessary to ensure that transactions are fair and correctly executed, while at the same time dropping the ledgers into your e-blender... while trusting the now-anonymized agents utilizing such a thing not to find some way to exploit the system... using the system itself to cover their tracks?

Re:Bad news. (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 9 months ago | (#45308427)

The obvious answer is that it will result in the Feds seizing the entire account just like they did at Silk Road. Anyone who puts their coins into such a mixer is not very smart.

Re:Bad news. (2)

kajsocc (2955535) | about 9 months ago | (#45308449)

So I really, well and truly, want to know how you plan on...

Supposedly, like this [bitcointalk.org] . It has its limitations, of course, but it's pretty neat.

The Silk Road tried the same thing. It failed.

Silk Road allegedly mixed some coins but, also allegedly, did so poorly. Not surprising given the amounts it was trying to mix. It did not, afaik, use the coinjoin method linked above. Also, the founder wasn't tracked down due to coin mixing or lack thereof anyway.

Re:Bad news. (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 9 months ago | (#45308563)

Silk Road allegedly mixed some coins but, also allegedly, did so poorly. Not surprising given the amounts it was trying to mix. It did not, afaik, use the coinjoin method linked above. Also, the founder wasn't tracked down due to coin mixing or lack thereof anyway.

More to the point.. coin mixing did not prevent the Feds from identifying thousands of people who used the service and were able to match realworld transactions to their bitcoin equivalents. In fact, from what I can tell... it wasn't much more than a slight irritation to their forensic accountants.

The fact is that crypto-anarchists may be very good at code, but they're very bad at high level analysis. You (and the crypto people too) need to understand that if you take a hundred people, walk them into a room, and they all empty their pockets and record the cash they throw into a giant bin on a ledger, and when everyone has gone through, they line up again and take money back out... which is effectively what the 'perfect' mixer would do... you aren't improving the anonymity of your cash expenditures by that much.

Your anonymity is not dependent on where you got the money from but rather who you're giving it to. It's the spending of money that destroys your anonymity, not the acquisition of it.

Re:Bad news. (1)

kajsocc (2955535) | about 9 months ago | (#45308779)

You (and the crypto people too) need to understand that if you take a hundred people, walk them into a room, and they all empty their pockets and record the cash they throw into a giant bin on a ledger, and when everyone has gone through, they line up again and take money back out... which is effectively what the 'perfect' mixer would do... you aren't improving the anonymity of your cash expenditures by that much.

You're right. In security parlance that's known as the anonymity set. For bitcoin mixers, this set is usually pretty small--not only are not many people using them anyway, but you also have to find people using them at the approximately the same time. For the silk road, at least some transactions I looked at, the size of this set was basically one. (Oops.) I think the "ideal" for coinjoin would be to have these transactions going on all the time in the background, and for every transaction, so that the set is much larger.

Your anonymity is not dependent on where you got the money from but rather who you're giving it to. It's the spending of money that destroys your anonymity, not the acquisition of it.

Yeah, this is often true. However, there are some counterexamples, e.g. virtual goods and services. The point of the coin mixers is to disassociate all illicit activity from all legitimate activity, such that any real world names, addresses, or other PII are tied purely to legitimate accounts.

Re:Bad news. (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 9 months ago | (#45308903)

Yeah, this is often true. However, there are some counterexamples, e.g. virtual goods and services. The point of the coin mixers is to disassociate all illicit activity from all legitimate activity, such that any real world names, addresses, or other PII are tied purely to legitimate accounts.

The accounts were legitimate to begin with. Money isn't inherently good or evil. It doesn't develop bad karma because it was used to buy drugs with, or a child for sex. And real world names, addresses, etc., are all what you need to complete a transaction for virtual goods and services. There is not a lot that you can do online that at some point doesn't require some form of identification. It may just be a username and password, or a cookie, or a data file somewhere that just points to an ip address... but everything you do online leaves a trace of you behind.

It's as Sherlock Holmes said: Nobody can enter and leave a room without taking something with, and leaving something behind. This is the foundation of all forms of forensic analysis... and running your money through a mixer doesn't improve your anonymity.. it actually harms it. It's like trying to go through a forest unseen... if you step on a leaf and crumple it, your attempt to put the it back the way it was before leaves an even bigger footprint than had you simply continued.

If I were to anthropromorphize the NSA, FBI, or [insert big bad here], it would probably grin contentedly at these crypto-anarchists attempt to create anonymity. The very act of attempting to anonymize yourself separates you from others. It provides a unique datapoint. It's like the leaf you stepped on. Find enough, and I can pick up your trail.

Re:Bad news. (1)

kajsocc (2955535) | about 9 months ago | (#45309173)

It's like the leaf you stepped on. Find enough, and I can pick up your trail.

I would look at it differently. It's like the leaves are stepped on by many people. If I can identify the exact set of leaves that you stepped on, I can pick up your trail. But if you're mixed in with a lot of other people, identifying that set is much more difficult, and maybe simply economically infeasible.

Now, if I understand you correctly, I believe a significant part of your argument is that there are many "side trails", shall we say, each obviously tied to your persona in some way, and those can all be grouped together which can provide a much more accurate picture than any single data point alone. This is a good point and pretty important for anyone who is looking to stay anonymous for a long time.

However, if each side trail which links to you is obviously you only at the moment it leaves the main trail of heavily trodden leaves, the best I can do as an investigator is to make note that you're (for example) receiving money from many seemingly random sources, and that I should ask you where that's all coming from, since, you know, money laundering is illegal and all, so you're not doing that, right? That's a problem for you in its own right, but it isn't necessarily enough for me to tie you to other stuff.

The accounts were legitimate to begin with. Money isn't inherently good or evil. It doesn't develop bad karma because it was used to buy drugs with, or a child for sex.

Certainly the money itself isn't good or evil, but pretend for the moment you're an investigator who's identified some illicit transaction, and now you're tracing it. You might say informally that some of the money is "tainted" in the sense that it is involved with (or is the same as) the money used in the original transaction. That is what I meant by legitimate/illegitimate accounts.

but everything you do online leaves a trace of you behind.

Yes, but if you take care, that trace is tied only to what you intended it to be tied to. For example, you can create new usernames and passwords at any time; these are not necessarily automatically tied to your other leaves. On top of that, mixers are intended to help untie things. Your point that they also tie together all the people who would use mixers is a good one; ideally, a mixing transaction would be indistinguishable from a regular one so this would be less of a problem.

That said, "taking care" is often incredibly difficult. It is usually enough to sacrifice some security in exchange for some convenience, but it depends on who you are and what you're doing, of course.

Re:Bad news. (2)

gman003 (1693318) | about 9 months ago | (#45308755)

Silk Road failed through secondary methods. The actual mechanism was solid, it's just that DPR was sloppy while setting it up, enabling regular investigative work to find him. I will note that we haven't heard of Silk Road clients being arrested en masse, which means they probably haven't been able to track down many of them. They caught the operator, shut down the site, and seized a large amount of money, but the fact that they haven't been arresting left and right the drug dealers who used it means they aren't getting much information from it.

Basically, all someone needs to do is do the exact same thing Silk Road did, except avoiding leaking information on other bands. Use a secure email, don't even think about the site on unencrypted channels, establish a completely new identity for running the site, etc.

Re:Bad news. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 9 months ago | (#45309049)

I will note that we haven't heard of Silk Road clients being arrested en masse, which means they probably haven't been able to track down many of them.

You're making at least two mistakes. The first is believing that the government really cares about tracking these guys down. That's not the case. They would like to track down enough of them to look like they care. The second mistake is believing that they work that fast. They don't. They work inexorably, but slowly, dire need aside.

Re:Bad news. (1)

Agent ME (1411269) | about 9 months ago | (#45309069)

The Silk Road tried the same thing. It failed.

The Silk Road didn't do trustless mixing. They did run a mixing service, though it was successful at that. DPR got caught because he advertised The Silk Road on an account that was publicly linked to his personal email address that had his full name in it.

Fungibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45308381)

Looks like an attempt to improve Fungibility [wikipedia.org] which has potential taint related issues, as well as the related move from pseudonymous to anonymous end points. Mixers aren't perfect, but until we can get the performance and initialization issues with ZeroCoin and related designs sorted out, they are a good tool.

Silk Road fell because it was badly designed, and badly run. It was centralized, and involved too much trust in the central party. With trustless mixers, and decentralized reputation systems, a much more robust and secure direct peer to peer system could be implemented.

Unless you use your real e-mail address (4, Insightful)

F34nor (321515) | about 9 months ago | (#45308401)

Or use your real name in the Word file metadata that you attach... I love it when smart people do dumb things.

what makes BitCoin super extra secure? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45308821)

Where exactly does the extra security come? It all still begins with standard internet protocols right? So, what makes BitCoin super extra secure?

Re:what makes BitCoin super extra secure? (1)

Agent ME (1411269) | about 9 months ago | (#45309107)

Uh, what do you expect them to use online besides internet protocols? Magical protocols?

Re:what makes BitCoin super extra secure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45309157)

So you don't have an actual answer either. The point is, there's nothing untraceable about BitCoin. The mining might be secure but the user end activities aren't.

The one problem with this......... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45308879)

.....is that CODY WILSION is a FED.

The "april fools" joke where he fraudulently used insignia of several federal agencies to misrepresent himself is in itself a federal felony. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.........I WONDER why he never got slammed with that one, considering he'd been thumbing his nose at the BATFE and others before hand. Trust me, they dont' hesitate when there's a legal foothold, no matter how petty.

Time to Fork Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45308909)

We'll make our own Slashdot.
Without all these stupid Bitcoin stories.
Possibly with hookers and blackjack.

Who's in?

Re:Time to Fork Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45309103)

blackjack

Online in the US? Good luck doing that without Bitcoins.

shIFt (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45308937)

Screw Cody Wilson (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45308945)

Seriously, screw him. He's an attention whoring fool who knows just enough to be dangerous without actually knowing enough to contribute anything useful.

So after trying to fuck up 3D printing ... (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 9 months ago | (#45308993)

So after trying to fuck up 3D printing by attracting the attention of law enforcement to the possibility of making guns from something with inferior mechanical properties for that purpose than most types of wood, he's trying to get their attention with bitcoin?

How much attention should we really be expending on this guy? Is he just an attention seeker? He obviously knew fuckall about guns or 3D printing, how much does he know about the bitcoin pyramid scam? Does he even spot it as a scam or does he really think it's the fictional currency from Cryptonomicon come to life?

Re:So after trying to fuck up 3D printing ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45309127)

can you provide a single source of a gun made from wood firing many live rounds in succession?

i looked... i couldn't find one. i found TONS of 3D printed guns with videos firing live rounds.

are you just an attention seeker? who is "we"? you are NOTHING.

Re:So after trying to fuck up 3D printing ... (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 9 months ago | (#45309411)

Please read my post again. The mechanical properties of many types of wood are indeed superior for the purpose than the plastic used in 3D printing. Just because hardly anyone has bothered to make a gun out of wood for the last few hundred years does not change that no matter what your ignorant gut feeling is.

The US is now irrelevant to Bitcoin (2)

Animats (122034) | about 9 months ago | (#45309039)

There's been a huge change in the Bitcoin world recently. There are now exchanges in China where you can buy Bitcoins for yuan very easily. This is a big deal, because exchanging yuan for other currencies is tightly restricted by the Peoples Bank of China via the State Administration of Exchange Control. Bitcoin provides a way around those restrictions.

This has caused a huge run-up in the price of Bitcoins. That could change at any moment if the People's Bank of China issues "guidance" on Bitcoin. There are comments from Bitcoin users in China that the acceptance of Bitcoins by a small subunit of Baidu was incorrectly interpreted as a signal from the government of China that buying Bitcoins was now OK.

"The mountains are high and the Emperor is far away."

Re:The US is now irrelevant to Bitcoin (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 9 months ago | (#45309357)

"The mountains are high and the Emperor is far away."

That's a saying typically heard in Guangdong. Didn't know Baidu is from there. I do know there are for a long time already plenty of "underground banks" (more accurately: money exchangers) that make moving money between the mainland and Hong Kong fairly easy. And that's from well before Bitcoin made it possibly even easier.

However the fact that the is quite little liquidity in bitcoin (as proven by the volatile price) means that this bitcoin channel has highly limited capacity.

Re:The US is now irrelevant to Bitcoin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45309389)

Guangdong,shmangdong....
joogle barge is fraudulently floating on the backs of the proletariate and the small-to-mediums-scale "investors".
juST LIKE ODIGO, ONAVO,AMDOCS,AKAMAI, et al, et horribilis.....secrecy in the interest of whom, precisely?
according to us coast guard, "BB" Netanyahu is captaining the barge of bogus benefit,bad bothersome bloodsuckers in the data-tax-investor wormhole called "Tel-Aviv banking.
do not sing to the choir, Yellin!

Logical Flaw in Headline (1)

ttucker (2884057) | about 9 months ago | (#45309201)

The service is accessible to everyone. Federal agents are people. The service is accessible to federal agents.

Now doubt trying to hide revenue (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45309213)

I have no doubt that these guys are trying to hide revenue from the government to avoid paying taxes.

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