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Congressman Accepts BitCoin For His US Senate Run

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the so-giving-of-him dept.

Bitcoin 165

SonicSpike writes "U.S. Representative Steve Stockman, a vocal opponent of Federal Reserve policy, told reporters that he wants to promote Bitcoin, whose most fervent evangelists tout as an alternative to fiat currency. To do so, he is now accepting Bitcoin for his Senate campaign against incumbent John Cornyn of Texas. The announcement was made last night at the launch event for the NYC Bitcoin Center, located just up the street from the New York Stock Exchange. Center founder Nick Spanos a real estate developer and Bitcoin enthusiast says the Center itself is still in something of a planning stage, existing more as a statement about Bitcoin itself, though he plans on hosting a hackathon later this month."

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I like the idea (4, Informative)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 7 months ago | (#45847643)

I like the idea of crypto currencies, but many of these news articles seem made to fuel further speculation in the market. It needs to become less speculative and more stable to be a true alternative.

Re:I like the idea (0)

tftp (111690) | about 7 months ago | (#45847765)

It needs to become less speculative and more stable to be a true alternative.

It cannot become more stable. The supplies of BTC are limited by design. As BTC is used more and more in the world trade, each BTC keeps increasing in price. This is on top of the built-in deflation in a market of fixed size. This is why it cannot be used as money. Nobody wants to part with something that becomes more expensive as you hold it. There is an awful amount of USD in circulation, and only 21 million BTC. If you replace all USD with BTC, each BTC would cost a million dollars, and you'd run out of divisibility of BTC, and the "small" payment fee would be unaffordable. Also, BTW, early adopters would own half of he planet's wealth.

Re:I like the idea (1, Funny)

Bramlet Abercrombie (1435537) | about 7 months ago | (#45847877)

That's the idea. I know I'm late to the party but I'm getting on board so I can get in line to owning all you suckers that were too oblivious to buy in. Crypto favors the early adoptor. Just because you didn't want to pay off the 2009 guys, you will be paying me off in 2015 when you finally figure out what is going on. If you don't, somebody else will. Some African with an internet connection will buy my fractions of a bitcoin and other coins, and I'll be one of the richest in the world, only behind those that got in before me.

Re:I like the idea (1, Troll)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 7 months ago | (#45847979)

Ah, the pyramid scheme delusion. Good luck with that, sucker.

Re:I like the idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45848543)

That's the idea. I know I'm late to the party but I'm getting on board so I can get in line to owning all you suckers that were too oblivious to buy in. Crypto favors the early adoptor. Just because you didn't want to pay off the 2009 guys, you will be paying me off in 2015 when you finally figure out what is going on. If you don't, somebody else will. Some African with an internet connection will buy my fractions of a bitcoin and other coins, and I'll be one of the richest in the world, only behind those that got in before me.

A prefect example of the greater fool theory.

Re:I like the idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45848893)

Bitcoin only exists because it's allowed to exist. The governments of the world would start attacking (read: taking down) bitcoin exchanges if it seemed like it was an actual threat to replace their currencies. Your best hope is for it to stay on the fringes, and accept much smaller returns. If it becomes too big, it will be killed.

Re:I like the idea (1)

Bramlet Abercrombie (1435537) | about 7 months ago | (#45849165)

Or they could just buy all the bitcoins.

Re:I like the idea (4, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 7 months ago | (#45847883)

It needs to become less speculative and more stable to be a true alternative.

It cannot become more stable. The supplies of BTC are limited by design. As BTC is used more and more in the world trade, each BTC keeps increasing in price. This is on top of the built-in deflation in a market of fixed size. This is why it cannot be used as money. Nobody wants to part with something that becomes more expensive as you hold it. There is an awful amount of USD in circulation, and only 21 million BTC. If you replace all USD with BTC, each BTC would cost a million dollars, and you'd run out of divisibility of BTC, and the "small" payment fee would be unaffordable. Also, BTW, early adopters would own half of he planet's wealth.

The reason it can't become more stable (with a click of a button) is that not enough people use it. Deflationary and supply issues aside, there just isnt enough capitalization (with respect to other currencies) to prevent huge swings due to speculation. But contrary to the original assertion about "too much speculation", if enough _more_ people were speculating (raising the value and volume of daily trades), you would see it stabilize compared to the current roller coaster. Bitcoin is like a micro crude oil market; big speculators can drive it any way they want, and since the total capital (relative to USD) in bitcoin is so low, a single heavyweight speculator can run the show.

Re:I like the idea (2)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 7 months ago | (#45848073)

You're describing the theory. You'd be better off investigating why the theory is wrong than repeating it blindly, pretending it's right.

FWIW, the GP actually gave an answer, essentially the unconstrained speculation that you're seeing. It's probably not the only reason Bitcoin's far from stable, but it's certainly likely to be a major contributing factor.

Re:I like the idea (2, Informative)

higuita (129722) | about 7 months ago | (#45848093)

the divisibility of bitcoins is set on the current version of the protocol and can be increased any time with a update version. the protocol already had several updates, one of then a mandatory update to solve a large block fork issue [bitcointalk.org]

Re:I like the idea (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 7 months ago | (#45848499)

The problem with inflation / deflation is not with the units of currency – That the value of coins becomes too large under deflation and that you need wheelbarrows to cart around cash under inflation. If that were the issue government currency would be more effective because they can redecimalized.

The problem with inflation /deflation is the change of value of a unit of currency. i.e., it does not matter if your 1 BitCoin changes to 1.0 BitCoins, it that what it can buy is different.

Re:I like the idea (3, Interesting)

jythie (914043) | about 7 months ago | (#45848249)

Well, stability is relative. Something can have built-in deflation (or inflation) and still be stable enough for use as a currency. Right now BTC is not, but it is quite possible that even with a steady increase in value it could be stable enough to plan with. In a way that is, in theory, one of its advantages. Since the rate of increase of supply is known ahead of time it should be possible to plan accordingly just like today long term contracts take USD's estimated rate of inflation into account.

However, the ecosystem around BTC is way too unstable for that kind of planning.

Re:I like the idea (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 7 months ago | (#45848697)

Upward movement of price may not get you stability. The stock market has been trending upwards for over a 100 years and it is still not stable. Heck, I would argue that gold is currently too unstable to serer as a currency – though I know people will disagree.

BitCoin will remand unstable until it is much larger (i.e. more transactions) and more interconnected (for example, somebody takes out a year mortgage on their house denominated in BitCoins) with the real economy.

Re:I like the idea (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 7 months ago | (#45848953)

And I have another thought. Inflation is the change of aggregate supply of money against the aggregated demand for money.

Frist, yes, the aggregated supply of currency can be estimated in advance. However, currency (M1) and money (M2) are not the same thing. The supply of money is something different. See this graph:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_supply [wikipedia.org]

Second, you also need to estimate the aggregated demand for money. Partly this means estimating GNP but it also means estimating how much money, a riskless (more or less) asset will be demanded. For example, after the latest financial crisis the demand for money has greatly increased.

Personally, I feel the ability of a central bank to adjust the money supply under this much uncertainty outweighs the disadvantages.

Re:I like the idea (1)

letherial (1302031) | about 7 months ago | (#45848459)

Each bit coin can be divided down to 100,000,000 satoshis. the whole transfer process is based on 100,000,000 satoshis, so when you get one bitcoin you, the backend process it as 100 million satoshis.

Payment fee can also scale, and can even be put manually in the miner i believe, or its capable of doing so and hasnt been implemented yet (bitcoin protocol is full of shit you can do)

From your two very wrong remarks, i would presume that you have little knowledge of bitcoin, and unfortunately your spreading misinformation that people are catching up on (this is the top post from my settings)

To redeem yourself to the mighty bitcoin god, you must first say 'praise bitcoin' 100 times (for brownie points, say it in public outloud), then type in bitcoin into google and read 5 articles relating to how bitcoin works. If you dont care about the god, then just read one good article on how bitcoin works or watch a podcast, shit its the internet, facts are there...find them before you join in a discussion

Re:I like the idea (1)

synaptik (125) | about 7 months ago | (#45848975)

There is an awful amount of USD in circulation, and only 21 million BTC.

Actually, there are (or, will be) 2100 million million Satoshis. The market is currently focused on the wrong unit of measurement.

Speculation will never go down (1, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | about 7 months ago | (#45847889)

I like the idea of crypto currencies...

Why? Bitcoin has many of the worst aspects of a gold standard. It is useless for transactions that don't involve a computer to facilitate trade - i.e. cash transactions. Bitcoin has very high levels of exchange rate risk due to volatility, speculation and lack of liquidity. Few people really know what it is and even fewer accept it for payment. For most merchants it costs extra resources and adds risk to handle and exchange since they will have to convert it back to dollars anyway - the same problem with them accepting foreign currencies which is why most don't. It's very expensive to use once you account for the full cost of the risk factors. Basically it scratches some ideological itches but as currencies go it doesn't have a lot to recommend it.

It needs to become less speculative and more stable to be a true alternative.

It will NEVER become less speculative. It might become less volatile (though I doubt it) but every single currency gets heavily speculated against. The Dollar, the Euro, etc. Every one. Bitcoin is more vulnerable to fluctuations from speculation for the same reason any thinly traded asset or currency is. If there is a perceived opportunity to make money speculating on bitcoin then the speculation will occur.

Re:Speculation will never go down (5, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | about 7 months ago | (#45847991)

Sure it has issues, even compared to cash but... cash can't be used for online purchases either. I don't think it is a problem if one currency isn't the perfect solution for all problems. Is it really a failure of one currency if it only fills in a niche? Do you really think the niche of providing online transactions to people who are distrustful of other currencies is a failing?

As a niche market, I think bitcoin works pretty well overall and fills in a real gap between cash and traditional bank mediated transactions.

Re:Speculation will never go down (1)

tftp (111690) | about 7 months ago | (#45848217)

Is it really a failure of one currency if it only fills in a niche?

BTC does not fill any niche. What is it that BTC allows me to do that I cannot do through the bank, using any currency of my choice?

On the other hand, the bank offers me features that BTC does not have. I do not need to worry about the mechanics of inter-bank transfer. I do not need to carry a computer and a BTC wallet with me; a simple number on a plastic card will do. If I lose that number, I am insured against the loss. If a merchant lies to me I can have the payment reversed. If I use the card I get some money back (as opposed to paying for BTC transactions.) There is no reason at all to own BTC - not even a weak one. There is absolutely no upside.

But what about TEOTWAWKI, you say? Well, the USD and many other paper currencies will likely crash. Or not. But BTC will certainly be of no use because BTC requires Internet, stable power, miners - all those are attributes of a wealthy, stable and safe society. So after TEOTWAWKI you can't use BTC either.

I think bitcoin works pretty well overall and fills in a real gap between cash and traditional bank mediated transactions.

I am not sure what gap is that.

Re:Speculation will never go down (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#45848623)

Is it really a failure of one currency if it only fills in a niche?

BTC does not fill any niche. What is it that BTC allows me to do that I cannot do through the bank, using any currency of my choice?

Buy illegal stuff from certain websites, lose half your wealth in an instant when some random nation decides to ban them, waste metric shit-tonnes of electricity for little to no fiscal gain...

Re:Speculation will never go down (1)

tftp (111690) | about 7 months ago | (#45848695)

As it always happens, the only sure winners from a gold rush are sellers of shovels. In this case, plenty of money was made by ASIC miner manufacturers, and by utilities. Everyone else has to fight for survival.

Re:Speculation will never go down (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#45848773)

As it always happens, the only sure winners from a gold rush are sellers of shovels. In this case, plenty of money was made by ASIC miner manufacturers, and by utilities. Everyone else has to fight for survival.

I considered buying a couple ASIC miners myself, until I did the research and discovered that they can only mine BTC. Then I brought up the calculators, and that's when I figured out that it was far too late to get into the BTC game.

So now, they're talking about ASIC devices that can mine Litecoins instead, but something tells me they'll be too late to that party as well.

Re:Speculation will never go down (0)

sjbe (173966) | about 7 months ago | (#45848229)

Sure it has issues, even compared to cash but... cash can't be used for online purchases either.

A dollar is still a dollar whether it is in cash or an electronic ledger and you can easily and cheaply exchange cash in and out of a bank. You can't take a crypto currency offline at all.

Do you really think the niche of providing online transactions to people who are distrustful of other currencies is a failing?

I think the failing is the financial illiteracy of those same distrustful people. There is nothing magical about a fiat currency - it is just an asset. It carries some amount of liquidity, inflationary and exchange rate risk. Only an idiot completely trusts any asset as a store of value including fiat currencies. But only a bigger idiot would trust bitcoin more than the dollar or the euro. Bitcoin is VERY volatile, thinly traded, and there is no guarantee that the cryptography will remain secure. A rational analysis of the advantages of bitcoin versus the drawbacks comes up pretty light on the advantages side of the ledger.

I think bitcoin works pretty well overall and fills in a real gap between cash and traditional bank mediated transactions.

For who? Drug dealers? Money launderers? Libertarians with a hate-boner for fiat currencies and the Fed?

Re:Speculation will never go down (1)

E-Rock (84950) | about 7 months ago | (#45848399)

For me, BitCoin doesn't fill a void in my banking life. It's interesting and kinda fun to mess around with.

For people who don't have access to trustworthy financial institutions (or governments), I think it does fill a void. Their biggest hurdle would be getting BTC from their local currency (like China blocking BTC last month).

I think that it would be better if BTC traded in a narrower band, but I think that as it picks up in use, liquidity will help with that.

Re:Speculation will never go down (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 7 months ago | (#45848603)

For people who don't have access to trustworthy financial institutions (or governments), I think it does fill a void.

No it does not, at least not for many people. I've traveled a lot. What happens in countries like Vietnam where the financial/government institutions aren't entirely trusted is that they use alternative currencies and lots of cash. When I was in Vietnam a few years ago most of my purchases were in dollars instead of the local currency, the Dong.. (I kid you not - it really is called that) The merchants I dealt with strongly preferred dollars. Places where the government isn't trusted tend to have cash based economies for which bitcoin simply is not a credible alternative.

I think that it would be better if BTC traded in a narrower band, but I think that as it picks up in use, liquidity will help with that.

Not likely to happen anytime soon. Bitcoin might pick up some tulip-mania craze but that will not reduce the volatility - rather it is likely to increase it and create a bubble that will inevitably pop.

Re:Speculation will never go down (1)

jythie (914043) | about 7 months ago | (#45848273)

Or at minimal it could potentially work really well. Right now, while the mechanics indeed can fill that gap, pragmatically the ecosystem is just too unstable, resulting in BTC not actually being able to fill that role all that well.

Explain the roadmap (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 7 months ago | (#45848391)

Or at minimal it could potentially work really well.

Why? Paint a clear and defensible roadmap by which bitcoin becomes a currency that makes sense for a significant portion of the population. Explain how bitcoin provides any meaningful advantage over existing currencies. Explain how the volatility, liquidity and exchange rate risk problems will be resolved. I've got a masters degree in finance and am a certified accountant and I cannot see any scenario in which bitcoin is anything other than a silly idea. Perhaps you are smarter than I am.

Re:Explain the roadmap (1)

jythie (914043) | about 7 months ago | (#45848785)

Listing yourself as having a masters in finance and being a certified accountant actually does not lend any additional credibility to you other then having completed a higher degree. While there is some overlap between those skillsets and economics, they are actually pretty divergent. You would be just as qualified if you had a masters of philosophy. But anyway.

First, I will put my cards on the table with regard to BTC in that I am not a supporter, I personally think it will fade into obscurity in a few years. However, part of looking at economic issues involves getting outside one's personal views and looking at something in a larger context.

There is a real chicken and egg problem with BTC. Both utility to average consumers and stability are dependent on having a large and active ecosystem. Right now bitcoin is unstable because the volumes are very low, and it is of little use because not many places work in it natively. However its distributed nature does provide utility in that it is low cost for both sides of a transaction and mechanically behaves much like other electronic payment systems, which gives it an practical advantage over current centralized methods. So if the volume gets large enough to counter the stability and utility issues it does have a meaningful advantage over centralized payment systems.

Of course with any chicken and egg problem, it is a tossup if it can ever see critical mass, and it is questionable if its advantages are advantageous enough to push past existing systems, but there is a big gap between unlikely and no scenario.

Re:Speculation will never go down (1)

cusco (717999) | about 7 months ago | (#45848965)

I can take a US twenty dollar bill, travel to Araypalpa, 3000 meters above sea level in the Peruvian Andes, and use that to buy something. If no one knows the current exchange rate they can use the single telephone in town to call Cusco and find out. When I can do that with bitcoin I'll consider it a real currency. Until then it's about as useful to me as Zimbabwean dollars.

Re:Speculation will never go down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45848339)

Bitcoin has very high levels of exchange rate risk due to volatility, speculation and lack of liquidity. Few people really know what it is and even fewer accept it for payment. For most merchants it costs extra resources and adds risk to handle and exchange since they will have to convert it back to dollars anyway - the same problem with them accepting foreign currencies which is why most don't. It's very expensive to use once you account for the full cost of the risk factors. Basically it scratches some ideological itches but as currencies go it doesn't have a lot to recommend it.

Every currency starts out that way. Even the US Dollar had a rough start. Where do you think the phrase "not worth a Continental" came from? Currency crises and hyperinflation are much more common than Americans understand. Two billion people have had to survive one at some point in their life.

Bitcoin has all the traits that made gold a useful currency: decentralized, easy to verify, difficult to forge. It has the added benefit of being easy to store and move. It's the equivalent of discovering an isotope of gold that can be transported over the internet. If you run around saying that makes it a poor choice for a currency, people are going to look at you like you are an idiot.

Re:Speculation will never go down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45848689)

No, it's like discovering an isotope of gold that can only be transferred over the internet. If I can't use it on and offline, I'm not bothering.

Re:Speculation will never go down (1)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | about 7 months ago | (#45848775)

Gold is not succeptible to a typo sending it into a black hole. Gold doesn't require multiple backups to avoid losing everything to a drive crash. Gold is exceedingly resistant to hacking. Gold transfers do not require you to wait for 2-10 verifications. And last but certainly not least gold has intrinsic value since it has uses other than currency.

BTC has its potential uses but as a currency will never be one of them if only because of the extreme slowness of verifiying a transfer compared to say a credit/debit card transfer.

Re:Speculation will never go down (1)

cusco (717999) | about 7 months ago | (#45848983)

Where do you think the phrase "not worth a Continental" came from?

Are you sure that doesn't refer to the inherent worthlessness of anything manufactured by Ford?

Re:Speculation will never go down (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 7 months ago | (#45848509)

It is useless for transactions that don't involve a computer to facilitate trade - i.e. cash transactions.

It's 2014. People carry computers around in their pockets these days, heck even my mother does. Even when you pay with cash, very likely that cash is placed immediately inside a computer controlled cash register. Of all the criticisms of Bitcoin I've seen over the years, this one has to be the strangest.

By the way, perhaps you aren't aware of how horrifically broken existing payment systems are. I've talked with all kinds of people at software companies both huge and tiny over the past few years. Ex PayPal executives to startup founders. Every single one has said the same thing: "payments is broken". The fact that money moves electronically at all never ceases to amaze me given the huge fraud levels, woeful lack of security (see: Target), huge fees, general dysfunctionality of the banks (wire transfers can "go missing" because someone has to sit in an office at each bank in the chain retyping details from one system into another). It's just amazing. Yes, Bitcoin is very young and has all kinds of issues. But the existing payment networks are all very old and have all kinds of other issues.

It might become less volatile (though I doubt it) but every single currency gets heavily speculated against. The Dollar, the Euro, etc. Every one.

Bitcoin will get less volatile over time as it becomes boring and mainstream. It's volatile today because lots of people are learning about it for the first time, and governments are still figuring out their initial positions on it. Give it 10 years and everyone will have made up their mind about it, things won't be changing so fast and assuming it's been able to continue growing, it'll probably be fairly stable. Just like it is when out of the public eye (go look at long term price charts and you will see long spans of time where the price was not particularly unstable even with much thinner markets than today, like when it was at $5).

Re:Speculation will never go down (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 7 months ago | (#45848705)

So much misinformation here.

I like the idea of crypto currencies...

Why? Bitcoin has many of the worst aspects of a gold standard.

What worst aspects? It does everything gold does but can also be used online or moved around the world instantly for pennies (or even free right now if you are willing to wait).

It is useless for transactions that don't involve a computer to facilitate trade - i.e. cash transactions.

Everyone has a cell phone. I borrowed $2 from a guy at work for the vending machines and instantly texted him $2 in bitcoin using the Coinbase texting service.

Bitcoin has very high levels of exchange rate risk due to volatility, speculation and lack of liquidity.

This is true, if by risk you mean that you have a greater than 2/3 chance of your money being worth more.

Few people really know what it is and even fewer accept it for payment. For most merchants it costs extra resources and adds risk to handle and exchange since they will have to convert it back to dollars anyway - the same problem with them accepting foreign currencies which is why most don't. It's very expensive to use once you account for the full cost of the risk factors. Basically it scratches some ideological itches but as currencies go it doesn't have a lot to recommend it.

Actually, services like BitPay and Coinbase will transfer it back to dollars instantly for you or allow you to maintain any percentage you want in bitcoins if you like. So there is zero risk if they use these services. As far as costing more:

1. There are no fees for merchants to take bitcoins if they manage it themselves

2. There are no chargebacks with bitcoin

3. Businesses get their money instantly before shipping, instead of having to wait 30 days

It needs to become less speculative and more stable to be a true alternative.

Bitcoin will become less volatile when more people get involved. At that point, it will become less valuable as a speculative tool and more valuable as a currency.

By all means (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#45847657)

Let's make it so it's even harder to tell who's bribing their way into power in Washington.

Re:By all means (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 7 months ago | (#45847729)

Campaign donations are subject to federal reporting regulations regardless of what currency they use.

Re:By all means (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45847747)

Huh, for some reason it turns out that blowjobs and lucrative business contracts with loosely associated family members isn't recorded

Well now that can't be right

Re:By all means (3, Funny)

TheCarp (96830) | about 7 months ago | (#45847775)

Wait, you mean the people who write the laws leave themselves major loopholes? I never would have guessed that.

Re:By all means (2)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 7 months ago | (#45848087)

What does that have to do with bitcoin based campaign donations?

Re:By all means (1)

letherial (1302031) | about 7 months ago | (#45848527)

he thinks bitcoins are more anonymous then dollars, its a common misunderstanding, infact bitcoin is completely traceable. Every transaction that has ever happened, has been recorded and can be audited. Unlike dollars....

However, bitcoins can be tumbled and they lose track of who owned what coins because all the coins are spread among a bunch of people.

Re:By all means (2)

travdaddy (527149) | about 7 months ago | (#45847773)

Campaign donations are subject to federal reporting regulations regardless of what currency they use.

Which raises a question. So if someone anonymously dumps 1000 bitcoins on him, then what happens?

Re: By all means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45847861)

You mean like someone from outside the US?!

Re:By all means (4, Informative)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 7 months ago | (#45847911)

Campaign donations are subject to federal reporting regulations regardless of what currency they use.

Which raises a question. So if someone anonymously dumps 1000 bitcoins on him, then what happens?

He has to not spend it, or run afoul of the FEC for not having his campaign funding papered up nicely. Now if they give it to a superpac, and that superpac goes and gets him elected with a billion dollar campaign, no one could care less.

Re:By all means (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 7 months ago | (#45848143)

Plus the limit per candidate per election cycle is $5,200. So any donation over about 6 bitcoins would be rejected immediately.

Re:By all means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45847949)

SCOTUS says it is legal, regardless of the origin of the currency. The US is the only country that officially and legally allows foreign influence on elections by allowing unlimited campaign donations from anonymous offshore entities.

Try that in any other country, and someone would be winding up a "guest" in their jails for a very long time.

Re:By all means (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 7 months ago | (#45848063)

You're wrong. Campaign donations have to be documented as coming from a US citizen. Citizens United was about independent PAC organizations, not campaigns.

Re:By all means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45848881)

There was a ruling late last year from SCOTUS that expanded the CU decision. This widened the scope to to any entity, be it a US PAC, a Chinese funder, or just any anonymous contributor who feels like it.

Re:By all means (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 7 months ago | (#45848363)

>> someone anonymously dumps 1000 bitcoins on him,

Same thing as what happens if someone leaves an envelope filled with 500 crisp $100 bills at the office.

Colour me confused (0)

dmatos (232892) | about 7 months ago | (#45847693)

Bitcoin is an _alternative_ to fiat currencies? Citation needed, mostly because I can't believe anyone would be that delusional.

Re:Colour me confused (2)

randomErr (172078) | about 7 months ago | (#45847815)

Re:Colour me confused (0)

BringsApples (3418089) | about 7 months ago | (#45847929)

That's a 2-sided argument to bitcoins as an alternative currency. But what the OP is saying is that it's laughable that it's an alternative to fiat currencies. Fiat means that it has value because we all say it does. To my mind, there could never be a good fiat alternative to anything that's fiat. Fiat itself is the problem, because it relies on mankind to regulate it (haha on that), rather than Nature regulating it with a fixed amount of, say, gold, or any other naturally occurring element that has it's own value (gold is a super-conductor).

I think one day water will be a good currency.

Re:Colour me confused (4, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 7 months ago | (#45848051)

rather than Nature regulating it with a fixed amount of, say, gold, or any other naturally occurring element that has it's own value (gold is a super-conductor).

I know you meant "gold is a super good conductor" (gold has not been demonstrated to be a superconductor under any condition) but either way that raises one pointed problem; what happens to semiconductor manufacturing if the value as a currency (in other words the need to store value in it) gets too great? Are we supposed to just stop making CPUs (or make CPUs that are 5x or 10x more expensive) just because someone decided that gold was pretty enough to base an economy off of? Or do we just give up having fast CPUs and go back to (shudder) copper?? It is this very property (its central place as a commodity) that would give me the strong opinion that it should not be used as a currency at all.

Serious answers only, please.

Re:Colour me confused (1)

BringsApples (3418089) | about 7 months ago | (#45848343)

Regardless whatever the currency is, The People will verify it's actual worth (how much is money worth to you?). In my mind, computer technology hasn't proven itself. All it's done is improve things that will increase the population, and all that does is decrease the value of whatever currency is in place.

The only real currency on the planet is our time itself. You should always value that over anything else, no matter what. Coming after that is food and water. So if you spend your time growing food, you can pick and choose what you'd like to trade for it. If you don't want to trade things for your food, then all you have to do is protect what you have. All the rest is fiat as far as I'm concerned. But then again, I'm old and don't care about the things that so many other do.

Re:Colour me confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45848779)

You are the first person I've seen that realizes even "precious" metals are fiat currencies as well. I was trying to explain this to a Randtard recently and he just couldn't grasp how his go-to argument against fiat currencies was fallacious.

Re:Colour me confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45848545)

what happens to semiconductor manufacturing if the value as a currency (in other words the need to store value in it) gets too great?

The industrial use of gold is miniscule compared to the economic use. Only a tiny fraction of the world's supply is used in manufacturing.

Also, it's a self-balancing situation. If the cost of the raw material gets too high, that produces a recycling economy. Compare it to the platinum and palladium used in catalytic converters; it is nearly 100% recycled. Gold also happens to be extremely cheap and easy to isolate and recycle, which is why it was one of the first elements discovered and partly why it was useful as a currency.

The combination of the above is why manufacturing and industrial use of gold is fairly insulated from price volatility.

Re:Colour me confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45848643)

...just because someone decided that gold was pretty enough to base an economy off of

You say that as if gold isn't the longest-standing store of value this world has ever seen (we're talking thousands of years, under all types of economic and political climate). Fiat currency is the johnny-come-lately, not gold. Fiat has only been in widespread use for a piddly century at best, and the proof is in the pudding: the fact that nearly every fiat government in the world holds tons of gold themselves in case the fiat system fails.

Re:Colour me confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45848699)

I know you meant "gold is a super good conductor"

Gold is a poorer electrical conductor than copper or silver. A thin patina is used in electrical connectors because it doesn't corrode, but the amount used is so small its cost is dwarfed by the other materials.

Re:Colour me confused (2)

JoshWurzel (320371) | about 7 months ago | (#45848759)

First, copper is a better conductor than gold (~16 nOhms/m vs. ~24nOhms/m, lower is better). Gold is primarily used as plating because it doesn't corrode. But that doesn't really impact the value of your question.

When a core material like gold changes price, the impact to the consumer depends on the rate and absolute value of the price changes.

If the total impact to the product's price is small or sudden, then it is either passed on to the customer or absorbed by the manufacturer. There isn't a lot of gold in a typical consumer product, for example, but there is enough to make a wild swing in gold prices noticeable to the supply/operations groups.

If the price increase is really large or forecast to take place over an entire product development cycle, then the designers will take a long look at the tradeoffs and decide if they want to make a cheaper product or a more expensive product.

Re:Colour me confused (1)

Cl1mh4224rd (265427) | about 7 months ago | (#45848789)

Or do we just give up having fast CPUs and go back to (shudder) copper?? It is this very property (its central place as a commodity) that would give me the strong opinion that it should not be used as a currency at all.

Yep. It's amusing to me when gold bugs claim that gold's usefulness as a conductive material gives it an "inherent value" that also makes it a good choice as a currency (or as a backing for currency).

If we were to switch back to gold and keep using it in various manufacturing, that's a drain on the limited supply of gold available for use as currency. That's bad.* As you pointed out, cost could increase to balance that out, and that's bad, too.

If we were to stop using gold in manufacturing, product quality potentially suffers. Also, gold loses this "inherent value" that gold bugs love to push as a selling point.

* Also, it further undermines the GP's point about gold not being "regulated" by humans, which already ignores the fact that individuals can still hoard the gold, thus artificially limiting the supply available for circulation. Sorry, gold bugs, but there's no form of currency free from human tampering of one sort or another.

Re:Colour me confused (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 7 months ago | (#45849111)

I hope we move back to the gold standard and someday soon the asteroid mining companies start flooding the markets with more gold than has been mined in the entirety of human existence. Or a bunch of special new uses for gold are discovered and drive the demand up 10x what it is today. This illusion that gold has an inherently fixed value is just ludicrous.

Re:Colour me confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45848751)

Gold is a good conductor at room temperature, but calling it superconductive is wrong.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superconductivity

It's really valuable property is its resistance to tarnish and corrosion contributing to its ability to conduct after years of neglect, especially in metal contact-to-contact designs. Other than that, it is a metal like most other metals, a fiat currency, in that we only value it highly because we value it highly.

Re:Colour me confused (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45848111)

Confused article... I'm not a huge Bitcoin whiz but these obvious errors really stood out:

The libertarian streak in me likes the anonymity of Bitcoin transactions

Bitcoin is not anonymous, repeat after me 100 times...

mining Bitcoin is waste of resources from a social perspective. The amount of CPU and electricity needed to mine Bitcoin is high, and from a social viewpoint about as valuable as building defenses against attacks from Mars. What the mining does is decide the allocation of the limited amount of Bitcoin produced each period and encourage the ledger to be kept

No, the mining is keeping the ledger.

Re:Colour me confused (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 7 months ago | (#45847927)

Bitcoin is an _alternative_ to fiat currencies? Citation needed, mostly because I can't believe anyone would be that delusional.

Apparently he likes the thought of not knowing how many TV ads and rally signs his campaign can afford 12 hours from now...

Re:Colour me confused (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45847951)

We are talking about Steve Stockman. Even most of the Republican crazes think he is out in lala land.

Re:Colour me confused (5, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 7 months ago | (#45848083)

His main argument seems to be that John Cornyn (R-TX) is too liberal, so he's challenging him in the primary.

Also, the U.S. Constitution is too liberal for Stockman, so he wants to amend it in like five different ways. Oddly, given his claim to be some kind of individual-liberty crusader, the ways he wants to amend the Constitution are mostly in the direction of removing individual rights, in favor of giving the government the power to enforce his own particular ideas of collective morality and cultural norms. For example, the Constitution currently guarantees that all native-born Americans are U.S. citizens. Automatically, by right: no federal-government bureaucrat had to confirm my right to be an American, after I was born in Indiana. Stockman doesn't like this. What if some of these Americans aren't enough like him? Shouldn't they have to take a test devised by federal bureaucrats showing their cultural conformity before they're allowed citizenship? Stockman says yes!

Oh, and that First Amendment is a big problem for him. Protects too much liberal nonsense in his opinion. I mean freedom is one thing, but isn't there such a thing as too much freedom? When people do things that offend Steve Stockman, like burn the American flag, well that's just a step too far. Better amend the Constitution again to remove those rights.

Re:Colour me confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45848161)

This guy was a pro-Choice Republican, and defeated years ago by the Buchanan/Keyes part of the party. You'd do well to be informed about such details, rather than just a knee jerk dismissal of him simply because he's a Republican.

Re:Colour me confused (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 7 months ago | (#45848329)

Was Stockman really a pro-choice Republican in the past? He certainly isn't now.

His campaign website [stockman2014.com] includes this section:

PROTECTING THE INALIENABLE RIGHT TO LIFE

Congressman Steve Stockman sponsored the ban on Partial Birth Abortions

Congressman Steve Stockman sponsored a bill making it federal law that life begins at conception

Re:Colour me confused (1)

TJ_Phazerhacki (520002) | about 7 months ago | (#45848787)

This is the guy who thinks that John Cornyn (R-TX) is too liberal and not a True Texan. You know, that John Cornyn who compared Homosexual Marriage to marrying a box turtle, or who voted in favor of notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions, or who mocked Democratic objections to Alito's confirmation and then made (effectively) the same accusations against Sotomayor.

This is the guy who ran a Dodge meme against Cornryn on his Twitter feed last week.

This is the guy who wanted to remove the 'gun-free' zones around schools to keep children 'safer', a month after Sandy Hook.

Actually, the more traction these fringe idiots get, the more fragmented the far right looks. VOTE STOCKMAN 2014!

Re:Colour me confused (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 7 months ago | (#45848835)

Yes, Bitcoin is an alternative to fiat currencies. A fiat currency, by definition, has a fiat enforcing its value. Bitcoin, in contrast, derives its value from unregulated speculation. It's not a good alternative, but it is an alternative.

Hackathon? (1)

KBehemoth (2519358) | about 7 months ago | (#45847781)

No respectable hackerdojo would touch that hackathon with a ten-foot kickstarter.

Liberal tears make the best lube (1)

schneidafunk (795759) | about 7 months ago | (#45847837)

Is this the same Steve Stockman who has this gem [talkingpointsmemo.com] ?

Re:Liberal tears make the best lube (2)

Mononoke (88668) | about 7 months ago | (#45848213)

Yup. I'm on his mailing list. I didn't win the AR-15 he allegedly gave away, but the emails are often humorous:

Dear patriot,
Well, I did it again.
Every gun grabber called my office yesterday screaming and crying because I posted this to our website.
Yes, I find liberal tears to be the best gun cleaner.
Now that's funny.
But you know what would really have gun grabbers dabbing their eyes with their petticoats?
If I were to run this campaign for U.S. Senate.
So let's give them something to cry about.
Today is the last day to accept donations for this period, so I need you to act NOW...

Re:Liberal tears make the best lube (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45848943)

Tears of joy! A primary runoff between Stockman and Cornyn. Thank you, Santa! This is a liberal's dream come true.

Isn't it nice? (3, Insightful)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 7 months ago | (#45847977)

Isn't it nice that Bitcoin can be used to buy both drugs and Senators?

Re:Isn't it nice? (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | about 7 months ago | (#45848131)

If that's your main problem with Bitcoin, you should be really worried about cash...

Re:Isn't it nice? (1)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 7 months ago | (#45848307)

I say...I say...it was just a joke, Son. My main problem is with long-eared varmints like you.

(Sorry for the bad Yosemite Sam impression - just another joke, Son.)

Re:Isn't it nice? (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | about 7 months ago | (#45848619)

That's a terrible Yosemite Sam impression.

It's a much better Foghorn Leghorn though.

Re:Isn't it nice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45848667)

Wow, that was a bad Yosemite Sam impression. So bad it looked like Foghorn Leghorn instead.

Re:Isn't it nice? (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#45848685)

Considering that what you wrote looks like something the bastard child of Yosemite Sam and Foghorn Leghorn would say, you should be sorry.

Re:Isn't it nice? (1)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 7 months ago | (#45848799)

Oooooo! I hate that rabbit! Smart boy, got a mind like a steel trap – full of mice.

In retrospect, it was a bit of a mashup.

Re:Isn't it nice? (1)

Wookact (2804191) | about 7 months ago | (#45848931)

That is Foghorn Leghorn, not Yosemite Sam.

I'd be more impressed if I saw (2)

future assassin (639396) | about 7 months ago | (#45847985)

US Representative refuses all donations to his campaign.

Re:I'd be more impressed if I saw (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 7 months ago | (#45848201)

So you only want billionaires to be able to run for office?

Re:I'd be more impressed if I saw (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 7 months ago | (#45848309)

And how is this markedly different from the current situation? How many non-millionaires are there in congress?

Re:I'd be more impressed if I saw (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 7 months ago | (#45848337)

Isn't the point to try and improve the situation?

Re:I'd be more impressed if I saw (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#45848713)

Isn't the point to try and improve the situation?

If we really wanted to improve the situation, we would set the system up so that there is no such thing as buying favors, er, I mean "campaign donations," and instead have all 'bona fide candidates,' i.e. people who get on enough state ballots, get X amount from the Federal Campaign Commission, not a penny less, not a penny more.

Or something to that effect.

Re:I'd be more impressed if I saw (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45848947)

And how is this markedly different from the current situation? How many non-millionaires are there in congress?

In the Senate? Not many.

In the House? About 40% of the Representatives have the majority of their wealth held as equity in a primary residence, just like most Americans. About 10% have zero or negative wealth, and another 10% have a net wealth less than one-year's income. Living paycheck-to-paycheck isn't unheard of in Congress.

It is still basically the House of Lords & the House of Commons.

Image and ideology (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 7 months ago | (#45848069)

The announcement was made last night at the launch event for the NYC Bitcoin Center, located just up the street from the New York Stock Exchange.

So they are locating this alleged future facility near the NYSE because they hope that will create an illusion of financial credibility.

Center founder Nick Spanos a real estate developer and Bitcoin enthusiast says the Center itself is still in something of a planning stage, existing more as a statement about Bitcoin itself, though he plans on hosting a hackathon later this month."

Oh, so there is no actual center and this is just a bunch of ideological masturbation. Honestly I cannot think of a single reason other than ideology that a real estate developer would have any use for or interest in bitcoin.

Re:Image and ideology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45848189)

Remember, Bitcoin is a carg cult.

Real money has an exchange in New York, therefore Bitcoin needs to have one too.

Re:Image and ideology (1)

cusco (717999) | about 7 months ago | (#45848193)

It's kind of inefficient to launder drug money using real estate. While the overhead is less than what CitiCorp or Bank of America would charge, it's really, really slow. The developer is probably just trying to expand his clients' options.

Federal Elections Commission Response? (3, Interesting)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 7 months ago | (#45848085)

This is interesting in light of the recent story stating that the FEC Will Not Allow Bitcoin Campaign Contributions [slashdot.org] . Maybe the candidate doesn't read Slashdot. I look forward to hearing the FEC respond, and how much of a fuss this guy is ready to make.

Re:Federal Elections Commission Response? (1)

niado (1650369) | about 7 months ago | (#45848503)

This guy is pretty radical. I would personally consider him a borderline nutjob, though perhaps that's too inflammatory.

He actually is/was under investigation by the FEC [wikipedia.org] for some "large" donations made in response to a Native American casino bill that he introduced...

Re:Federal Elections Commission Response? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45849097)

I think your comments are inflammatory towards nutjobs, who collectively want nothing to do with Steve Stockman.

Re:Federal Elections Commission Response? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45848609)

I suspect it won't really matter since this was probably just a publicity stunt anyway, which seemed to work since we're all sitting here talking about him.

Re:Federal Elections Commission Response? (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 7 months ago | (#45848999)

This is interesting in light of the recent story stating that the FEC Will Not Allow Bitcoin Campaign Contributions [slashdot.org] . Maybe the candidate doesn't read Slashdot. I look forward to hearing the FEC respond, and how much of a fuss this guy is ready to make.

The publicity value of the stunt aside; my guess is ultimately he is "accepting Bitcoin" the same way the car dealer "accepted Bitcoin for a Tesla." In other words, convert Bitcoin to dollars via an exchange and give me the dollars. Saying that is accepting bit coins is a bit disingenuous; it's like saying "I paid for my house with Google stock" because you sold enough to pay for your house.

Most entertainment I've had in a while (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45848155)

Can be found at the twitter account Shit /r/Bitcoin says

https://twitter.com/shit_rbtc_says

Smart move (1)

js3 (319268) | about 7 months ago | (#45848655)

Since nobody wants to part with their bitcoin, he will be funding his campaign with fiat currency while reaping the benefits of being to the first to accept bitcoin. It's a win win

Not surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45848687)

US senators will trake almost any currency as bribes. Untraceable "donations" have always been apprciated the most.

Understanding how the Fed works should be a prereq (1)

Darth Snowshoe (1434515) | about 7 months ago | (#45848803)

http://techcrunch.com/2013/08/07/bitcoin-clampdown-continues-as-federal-judge-says-its-a-currency/ [techcrunch.com]

Pretty soon the federal government is going to reach out and definitively regulate Bitcoin. That is one of the functions of a central government.
Section 8 of the Constitution enumerates the powers of Congress, among which;

"To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;"

Why would you vote into Congress someone who seems not to have read, or seems not to agree with, the founding documents?

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