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California Legalizes Bitcoin

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the finally-time-to-cash-in-your-scrip dept.

Bitcoin 162

jfruh (300774) writes "California governor Jerry Brown has signed a law repealing Section 107 of California's Corporations Code, which prohibited companies or individuals from issuing money other than U.S. dollars. Before the law was repealed, not only bitcoin but everything from Amazon Coin to Starbucks Stars were techinically illegal; the law was generally not enforced."

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Bitcoin's day has come. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47347995)

Finally, with the world's largest economy behind it, it will be unstoppable.

Re:Bitcoin's day has come. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348067)

Finally, with the world's largest economy behind it, it will be unstoppable.

Its the year of the bitcoin wallet ...

Re:Bitcoin's day has come. (5, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 4 months ago | (#47348083)

On a Linux desktop?

Re:Bitcoin's day has come. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47349043)

No, on a Linux/Android smartphone, which is making the desktop wars irrelevant.

Re:Bitcoin's day has come. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47349597)

No one I know uses anything but Windows on the desktop (and a few OSX). Where IS this war I'm supposed to be hearing about?

Re:Bitcoin's day has come. (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 4 months ago | (#47349783)

I use ChromeOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Windows for my desktop. The things I use are available on most, if not all, of those platforms. Very few of the tools I use are not available on anything other than Windows, but those have more to do with managing Windows platform than actual "work".

Re:Bitcoin's day has come. (1)

tsqr (808554) | about 4 months ago | (#47349825)

No one I know uses anything but Windows on the desktop (and a few OSX).

Allow me to introduce myself. I've been using Linux on the desktop since 1997. Also Windows from time to time, and for the last 7 years, frequently OS X. Maybe I've been at war with myself, but casualties have been very light.

As to the parent AC's reference to "desktop wars" being rendered irrelevant, it's probably with respect to those whose computer requirements are sufficiently trivial that they are satisfied by a smartphone and/or tablet. I have an Android phone and an Android tablet, and I enjoy using both of them for casual content consumption; but, they aren't anywhere near adequate to do most of what I use a desktop or laptop computer for, either at home or at work.

Re:Bitcoin's day has come. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348115)

Its the year of the bitcoin wallet ...

Stallman has announced that it should be called gnubitcoin.

Re:Bitcoin's day has come. (4, Funny)

TheInternetGuy (2006682) | about 4 months ago | (#47348213)

Its the year of the bitcoin wallet ...

Stallman has announced that it should be called gnubitcoin.

Makes sense, I've heard that the gnu is very protective of its bits.

Re:Bitcoin's day has come. (2)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about 4 months ago | (#47349061)

"Stallman has announced that it should be called gnubitcoin."

While ESR countered it should be called gunbitcoin.

Re:Bitcoin's day has come. (4, Informative)

StripedCow (776465) | about 4 months ago | (#47348715)

Of course. Governments love bitcoin because it is actually traceable. And as an added bonus, the public perception of the bitcoin is that is totally UNtraceable.

Re:Bitcoin's day has come. (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 4 months ago | (#47349859)

Bitcoin is traceable, but there are plenty of coin washing services out there. There are also transaction exchanges where coins are washed as they are exchanged for goods and services. Bitcoin can be "less traceable" if you also take simple steps to avoid wallet re-use.

If you combine any number of these techniques, your individual transactions while traceable, cannot be traced back to you, which is the goal. And they are working on extensions to the protocol to help make a few of these more "automatic" than before.

Re:Bitcoin's day has come. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348725)

Sounds like Bitcoin is really really tangential to this story... but hey *page views*

Re: Bitcoin's day has come. (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about 4 months ago | (#47349127)

I think Slashdot has officially become a pump and dump vehicle for BTC manipulators.

California also legalized using polished turds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348011)

As a currency.

Bitcon is NEVER mentioned.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348019)

You hear that, fellas? Bitcoin AND polished turds!

To the MOON!

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (3, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | about 4 months ago | (#47348043)

I'll take the turds. They have value as fertilizer. While Bitcoin is bullshit, physical bullshit at least has a use.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (0)

craigminah (1885846) | about 4 months ago | (#47348175)

The only physical money worth anything is gold. Especially if the US keeps printing money like it's going out of style.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (5, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 months ago | (#47348235)

Gold actually isn't that useful. It has a few niche applications in engineering that need tiny quantities as a corrosion-resistant coating or ultra-thin foil, but that's all. It's not even a very good electrical conductor - copper is better. The main use for gold is to be expensive - people wear it in order to flaunt their wealth. Like designer clothing, if it weren't so expensive people wouldn't want to wear it.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348251)

Like designer clothing, if it weren't so expensive people wouldn't want to wear it.

Say that to the south american Indians. Gold cheap as dirt, gold everywhere, still wear it for clothing. TLDR; you are an idiot.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 months ago | (#47348665)

Even to them, it was still a precious metal. They only had it in relative abundance - a lot of their gold decorations were actually alloys, to make their gold stretch further.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348259)

A some point one would think the fact that damn near every high speed bus contact and nearly all high current power connectors are gold plated would allow gold to be characterized as "useful."

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (2)

itzly (3699663) | about 4 months ago | (#47348423)

Yes, but the total amount of gold in electrical contacts is small, and the industrial use alone does not warrant the high price.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348391)

gold for contacts is used because gold has superior low contact resistance, it needs to be thin, because of the bad electrical resistance. silver has the best electrical resistance, followed by copper, followed by aluminium.

silver and aluminium is quite bad at contact resistance, don't try to make contacts out of those.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 4 months ago | (#47348471)

As a sidenote, I assume the good contact resistance of gold is because it is soft. Is this true?

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348543)

Maybe? It's also more corrosion resistant than both silver and copper, and doesn't form an oxide layer directly through contact with air like other non-noble metals.

-- Anonymous Engineer Coward

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348549)

No. It does not oxidize at all. Even aluminum builds up a very thin oxidation layer.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (1)

matfud (464184) | about 4 months ago | (#47348555)

Yes, Gold also dos not oxidise (unlike silver, copper or gold)

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (5, Informative)

fnj (64210) | about 4 months ago | (#47348877)

silver has the best electrical resistance, followed by copper, followed by aluminium

Our AC is full of bull. Gold is more conductive than aluminum. However, the figures for the four top metals are grouped so closely that there isn't much to choose (other than heavy-duty power transmission, where the ratio of resistivity to density rules and cost matters greatly, so basically it's either copper or aluminum, and aluminum has a significant edge).

Resistivity in ohm-meters at 20 C:
Silver, 1.59*10^-8
Copper, 1.68*10^-8
Gold, 2.44*10^-8
Aluminum, 2.82*10^-8

Gold (or platinum) plated contacts are most desirable for circuits which carry very low to extremely low current, because it is free from corrosion, so surface resistance stays low. For circuits carrying significant current, contacts operate under much higher mechanical pressure, so wiping clears the corrosion at the points of contact. Platinum has more than TWENTY TIMES the resistivity of gold, yet it is still very suitable for contact plating. The resistance contributed by a plating only 1.3 MICRONS in thickness is utterly insignificant. In fact, you need a tin substrate under the gold plating to make it durable, and tin is only as conductive as platinum. But it doesn't matter, because the tin substrate only needs to be 1.3 microns thick, too.

The meat of the connector, relay or switch contact can't be silver, copper, gold or aluminum because none of them has any significant degree of springiness. Phosphor-bronze is good. Its resistivity is seven times higher than copper, but that is just a fact of life. The wires leading to the contacts form a current path many times longer than that of the contact itself, so the resistance of the contact is not very significant.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 months ago | (#47349961)

Silver does have a niche where that lower resistance does matter: Very compact inductors and transformers. Lower resistance means you can use thinner wire, which means denser packing of coils. It's not often seen due to price, but for some weight/volume-critical applications (missiles, spacecraft) it's worth the extra cost to make parts smaller.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (1)

KozmoStevnNaut (630146) | about 4 months ago | (#47348417)

Gold doesn't corrode and it is the most malleable metal. Those two factors are alone make gold hugely useful for a number of practical uses. Literally every single connector in your PC (aside from the molex plugs) is gold-plated for corrosion resistance. Every single connector in every single cellphone is gold-plated for the same reason.

And then you get into the malleability and reflectivity. Because gold can be rolled so thin (or deposited on a mylar film) and still reflect infrared radiation, it is an essential material in designing heat shielding.

Gold does look pretty and shiny, but it does happen to have a lot of industrial and practical uses as well.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47349083)

The amounts of gold needed for plating all those connectors is minuscule---it is not the primary "value" of gold as a metal (gold could be 100x as expensive it is today, and price of electronics with gold plated connectors still wouldn't budge).

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (1)

KozmoStevnNaut (630146) | about 4 months ago | (#47349325)

Gold is also used for ultra-fine wires in sensitive test equipment, during chip development and research work, including chemistry and medicine experiments (gold substrates can be used for DNA analysis). Sure, gold is generally not used in large quantities for a single task, but it is a vital part of keeping the modern technological world running. There is ~50 milligrams of gold in a modern mobile phone, which isn't a lot, but it adds up with billions of devices in use.

Not to mention tooth fillings (gold is bio-compatible), arthritis medication and so on. It is also very easy to electroplate gold onto other surfaces, which makes it even easier to make use of its reflective properties.

Of course, the value of gold has been grossly inflated by jewelry manufacture because "ooh shiny", but that doesn't change the fact that it is a rare metal with numerous practical uses, some of them relatively low-tech. That is what helped cement its value throughout human history. On a very basic level, gold is denser and more malleable than lead, and non-toxic to boot. If nothing also, that alone would ensure a number of practical uses.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348769)

For all those thinking that gold is an ideal currency.

We have ridges on the edges of quarters as a throwback to gold coins, where someone would shave a bit of metal from the coin to devalue it (passing the coin off at full value)

The art of coin casting isn't unknown to the non-bank public. You have people willing to do backyard forges and melt in a little metal into their gold and re-stamp it. After it is a bit worn, it can be (depending on skill) passable as a worn 100% gold coin.

We haven't even approached the age old "lead in a gold envelope" techniques, which Archimedes made famous.

Basically, if you're getting paid in gold, there's still a lot of trust, but a few new / old ways you can get ripped off. That alone causes a lot of concern. With a paper dollar, generally it is quickly inspectable and at least somewhat designed to prevent counterfeiting. A transaction with gold coins could cost quite a bit of overhead, if your recipient demanded that you pay to verify the authenticity.

Gold and silver coins, wear, and devaluation (4, Interesting)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 4 months ago | (#47349679)

Thing is, you don't have to shave metal from the coin unless you're stupid, lazy, and/or in a big hurry.

Coins of precious metal wear down with use. Metal gets rubbed off the high points of the coin. A heavily worn silver dime can lose as much as 20% of its weight, and still be recognizable as a dime. Where does the metal go? All over the place -- bits of it are left as dust or markings at every point where the coin moves across a surface. In the days of circulating PMs, when coins wore down too far, they were returned to the government, which would melt them down and recycle their metal into new coins. The government absorbed the losses due to circulation.

If you're an enterprising individual, you can get a bunch of silver or gold coins, put them in a dust-tight bag, tumble that bag for a few days, and collect the dust. You're left with worn, but still perfectly legal, coins; they are, in fact, circulated, just not among multiple entities. It's called sweating [google.com] , and can be done chemically as well, although that method is easier to detect.

So, if you're on a gold or silver standard, your "hard currency" still loses value over time, but you have the power to capture that "lost value" yourself if you so choose. If a state or nation proposed to issue silver or gold coins for circulation today, you can be sure people would use the full power of twenty-first century technology to chisel their cut off the top. There's no way any entity would volunteer to be on the hook for circulation losses, especially when it's so easy for another entity to accelerate and capture those losses.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 4 months ago | (#47349263)

Yeah, Platinum would be better, since it is rarer, and has more uses (eg as a catalyst)

Of course there are other metals that are even rarer, like Plutonium, but you can't carry that around in your pocket...

diamonds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47349609)

Gold actually isn't that useful. It has a few niche applications in engineering that need tiny quantities as a corrosion-resistant coating or ultra-thin foil, but that's all. It's not even a very good electrical conductor - copper is better. The main use for gold is to be expensive - people wear it in order to flaunt their wealth. Like designer clothing, if it weren't so expensive people wouldn't want to wear it.

See also diamonds.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (2)

Sique (173459) | about 4 months ago | (#47348731)

The main buyers of gold are India and China, they gobble up about 30% of the yearly world production. There it mainly goes into jewelry. Gold has some usage in technology and chemistry, but this is only 15% of the world production. About 5% goes into minting and gold bullions.

Were it not for the 60% usage in China and India to fulfill their local traditional needs for family treasures, gold would plummet to a third of its current price. The price of gold is very volatile, much more than any currency. You can compare the prices for platinum with the prices for gold for the last 20 years. Both metals are quite similar: Main use is jewelry, with some usage in the electronics or as catalyst, the frequency of occurrence is about the same (0.004 ppm vs. 0.005 ppm in the Earth crust), and still the prices of both metals are not parallel, but swing hugely into both direction (up to three times the price for one vs. the other).

Taken all things together, gold makes for a horrible currency.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 4 months ago | (#47348735)

US treasury bonds are still "safer than gold", they are backed by the US government who in turn controls the US military, and power trumps gold any day of the week.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 4 months ago | (#47348253)

Actually carrying around the turds everywhere seems pretty impractical, though. Wouldn't it make more sense to just store them in a warehouse, and then transfer ownership of them back and forth? So for example when you want to pay with 10 turds at the gas station, instead of unloading them right there, you simply transfer ownership of 10 of your warehoused turds to the station, perhaps using tokens that represent them.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (2)

AuMatar (183847) | about 4 months ago | (#47348357)

Sounds great. We can have the government make them and call them U.S. dollars. And then we can run a sensible monetary policy around them. Or I guess we can use numbers on a computer in a deflationary currency with no controls whatsoever and a setup you need a degree in CS to understand. But I think I'll go with the government route.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348389)

They tried that. The US went bankrupt in the 1970s due to it. Now we live in the days where it only works as long as people remain ignorant and there is pseudo-petroleum backing requiring constant activity in the middle east. The thing is that no one really wants to deal with the aftermath of letting it go.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (2)

itzly (3699663) | about 4 months ago | (#47348409)

Or we can use both, and choose whichever is the most convenient at the time. A few weeks ago I ordered something from a Chinese producer, and made payment in bitcoin. Within a minute, the producer could see the transfer to his wallet, and could start the production run. The other options were to use paypal, and pay an extra fee, or to use an international wire transfer, adding several days of extra delay.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 months ago | (#47348541)

Little discs of metal and rectangles of paper / fabric / plastic are also quite lacking in use. There's nothing wrong with Bitcoin (aside from the tracking aspects) if you think of it as a digital coin. The problem is thinking that just because you can stamp out a load of coins that you now have a lot of wealth. The US dollar has a value because the Federal Government will enforce your ability to use it to settle debts held by US citizens and will accept it as payment in taxes. Cryptocurrencies are a good way of exchanging tokens, but just being able to exchange tokens doesn't mean that you've exchanged something of value.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (1)

itzly (3699663) | about 4 months ago | (#47348591)

Cryptocurrencies are a good way of exchanging tokens, but just being able to exchange tokens doesn't mean that you've exchanged something of value

As long as other people are willing to trade items or work of value for these tokens, it would be reasonable for me to also attach a value to these tokens. For example: assuming current exchange rate of about $600 for a bitcoin. Let's say you loaned a friend $400, and he's offering to pay you back with 1 bitcoin. Would you accept it, knowing that you can probably find someone to pay you more than $500 for it ? If so, it has value to you.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 months ago | (#47348709)

That depends on the volatility. If the price of bitcoin today is $600, but judging by previous trends, might swing to $200 tomorrow, then I'd probably just take the money. If it were a really sound choice, then my friend would be an idiot to offer it: he'd just sell the bitcoin, give me the $400, and pocket the $200. Volatility in a market is generally related to the ratio of speculators (people who just buy and sell the commodity but neither produce nor consume it) to producers and consumers. You need some speculators to provide liquidity (when you produce something, it's good if you can find a buyer now, even if no one wants it yet and it's someone who's just buying it in the hope that they can sell it later), but if their trades start to dominate the market then you get lots of volatility.

The volatility of bitcoin has dropped off a bit recently, but it wasn't long ago that it was considered stable if it only had 25% swings in the value over the course of a day. That is the last thing that you want form a currency. If someone pays me a token in exchange for some work, then I hope to be able to exchange that token for something of approximately equal value when I need to. A small amount of inflation is fine (you don't want people hoarding the tokens, you want an incentive for people with spare capital to invest it in real things), but it should be predictable.

Re:California also legalized using polished turds (3, Insightful)

PhilHibbs (4537) | about 4 months ago | (#47348495)

Bitcon is NEVER mentioned.

It IS mentioned.

The assembly member that proposed it, in the press release announcing the passing of the bill [asmdc.org] , talks about BitCoin, Amazon Coins, Starbucks Stars, and Diablo II Stones of Jordan*. Of course the legislation itself doesn't mention BitCoin, since the section that it repeals pre-dates BitCoin, and when you're repealing a section, you just say "Section X is repealed", not "Section X is repealed because BitCoin".

*One of these is a lie.

Illegal? I think not. (2, Insightful)

thesupraman (179040) | about 4 months ago | (#47348013)

Sigh, of course BITCOIN IS NOT MONEY!
Hence was not illegal.

It is a tradable commodity. just like gold, tulip bulbs, or online porn.

But hey, who cares about reality, which fishing for a good story. If trading bitcoin was illegal, then so what a WHOLE lot of other transactions.

Re:Illegal? I think not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348041)

It wasn't illegal, only techinically illegal. Whatever that means.

Re:Illegal? I think not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348131)

It wasn't illegal, only techinically illegal. Whatever that means.

Didn't Satoshi Nakamoto issue all of the bitcoins, and define a protocol for distributing them? One could at least claim that, and thus mining them would have been legal before this change. Spending and having them was fine regardless, since spending money and receiving money != issuing currency.

Of course the article says "using" not issuing, so playing monopoly, or any video game with money in it would have been illegal?

There is nothing quite like debating semantics of blatantly wrong summaries of likely horribly inaccurate summaries (TFA) of I assume badly written laws repealing non-sense laws that weren't even enforced.

Re:Illegal? I think not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47349863)

It means it's something the police can use against you to get a search warrant when they know you're doing something else illegal but have no proof of it, or the police chief thinks you have a nice car.

Re:Illegal? I think not. (4, Interesting)

codebonobo (2762819) | about 4 months ago | (#47348109)

Bitcoin is most often treated like money , but certainly behaves like a commodity. Federally, Bitcoin is viewed as both a currency (FINCEN) and a commodity(IRS).

Re:Illegal? I think not. (2)

tompaulco (629533) | about 4 months ago | (#47349889)

That's okay, currency of any sort including the USD is also treated like both a currency and a commodity.

Re:Illegal? I think not. (4, Interesting)

Antonovich (1354565) | about 4 months ago | (#47348399)

Though not exactly the final arbiter for such questions, Wikipedia's Money page [wikipedia.org] gives a reasonable definition of money and according to that, Bitcoin is *almost* money. It certainly could become "money" if a few more bigwigs get behind it and regulators don't get involved. The "generally accepted" part is key here - it's far from "generally accepted" anywhere outside of a few illegal marketplaces. That could certainly change though.

What we can't forget is that there is no such thing as black and white - things are not just "money" or "not money" and even things that pretty much everyone agrees are money can be treated as other things. Currency is often traded in ways somewhat similar to commodities. And you mention gold, which for centuries was synonymous (equivalent even) with money. Things change. Remember that modern money shares much in common with religion - it is based on an intricate system of *faith* and faith in a particular means for holding generally accepted value for the purpose of the exchange of goods and services is not something God has set in stone...

Re:Illegal? I think not. (1)

LF11 (18760) | about 4 months ago | (#47349057)

>The "generally accepted" part is key here - it's far from "generally accepted" anywhere outside of a few illegal marketplaces. That could certainly change though.

While it is certainly not "generally accepted," Coinbase and BitPay offer bitcoin payment solutions for tens of thousands of merchants already. BitPay's merchant adoption curve is still exponential: a few weeks ago they reported surpassing 40,000 merchants.

Then of course there is Toshiba, which turned on bitcoin support for their POS terminals (Toshiba bought IBM's POS systems a few years ago).

And let's not forget Gyft, through which I buy groceries from Whole Foods, hardware from Home Depot, and lots of random crap from Amazon, all using bitcoin. Furthermore, thanks to the volatility, I save upwards of 15 percent on a regular basis (buy when it drops, buy groceries when it rises).

Jerry Brown (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348015)

owes his California an explanation for why he lets the military spy on them with satellites and giant phased array antennas with ground and building and body penetrating tomography.

and then find out why when the military focuses it's directed energy onto peoples bodies remotely, the assault goes un-investigated, and people die and suffer torture for uptimes of years. thanks to automated radar/satellites that can target whomever they're programmed to.

federal fucking scum. but the states participates. more details @ http://www.obamasweapon.com/ [obamasweapon.com]

-Todd, from Modesto, CA.

I do hear the Captain Mark Gagan and Vice Mayor in Richmond, CA is taking the matter seriously, and will begin to take police reports shortly. The rest of the state and the rest of the nation remains unprotected. Meanwhile I'll take my radar assault every where I go; in my home, and outside, while they heat and mutilate my brain and seek to kill me covertly. He sure spends a lot of time on useless shit that doesn't hurt anyone nearly as bad as this.. why not invest some time on finding out what the military/government is really doing with this shit.

Re:Jerry Brown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348049)

Seek immediate psychiatric help. Seriously.

Re:Jerry Brown (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348195)

Shill!

Next step... (1)

jargonburn (1950578) | about 4 months ago | (#47348051)

BitCoins will be declared as NOT known to the state of California to cause cancer!

Company scrip returns... (2, Insightful)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 4 months ago | (#47348057)

And here I was thinking we'd finally killed defacto indentured servitude/slavery via company scrip.

This is a stupid act, and it's going to have very real consequences in the future before long.

And Bitcoin will still be just as irrelevant regardless.

Re:Company scrip returns... (3, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 months ago | (#47348119)

And here I was thinking we'd finally killed defacto indentured servitude/slavery via company scrip.

You mean like the companies now that refuse to pay employees by check, and instead issue their salary by depositing it to a prepaid debit card, which incurs a $5 or $10 fee, if the employee wants to transfer money from the card to their checking account?

Re:Company scrip returns... (1)

QilessQi (2044624) | about 4 months ago | (#47348141)

Or the companies that issue part of their compensation in the form of company stock...

Re:Company scrip returns... (2)

rtb61 (674572) | about 4 months ago | (#47348295)

Issuing part payment as shares is a tax dodge. You don't pay any taxes until the shares are sold but you can borrow money against them and the dividends can make the payments with you personal loan being tax deducted against those dividends. This means your pay is tax free and after 7 years is disappears as income. So nothing is ever as it seems, especially as companies can sell their stock, buy other better dividend stock and pay you in that, tax deduct it and yet you never pay tax on it.

Re:Company scrip returns... (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 months ago | (#47349055)

Issuing part payment as shares is a tax dodge. You don't pay any taxes until the shares are sold but you can borrow money against them

In the real world.. they don't usually issue shares, they issue options on shares that vest over time. In other words: the employee doesn't get actual stock, they get a right to buy shares of stock exercisable at a price per share determined in advance.

If/When the employee decides they want the stock, after the options vested: they can exercise the option before its expiration date, which requires the employee to pay out of pocket for those shares of stock.

So they pay $X per share for shares of stock that are now worth $X + $Y. Where $X was the price the option was set at, and $Y is the additional amount that shares have appreciated by since the option was struck.

The employee already paid tax on the $X. For a statutory incentive stock option, the employee does not owe ordinary income tax on the $Y, until they dispose of the stock and benefit from the additional appreciation.

The exercise may still result in tax liability under the Alternative Minimum Tax.

Re:Company scrip returns... (1)

QilessQi (2044624) | about 4 months ago | (#47349671)

Assuming $Y is a positive number. :-) I know individuals who have worked for startups, putting in long hours for small wages in exchange for options that would not fully vest until four years had passed (25% per year). In one case the company went bankrupt before they could pull together an IPO. In another case the company told its rank-and-file at the last minute that they were doing a three-for-one reverse stock split before the IPO, so instead of having options on 300 shares at $1 each you had options on 100 shares at $3 each. All well and good to prevent the stock from being de-listed, but at IPO the price spiked to something like $20 and swiftly fell back to something like $2 and stayed there. Great news if you were upper management and either owned shares outright or were given options at $0.10 per share. Not so great for the rank-and-file.

Re:Company scrip returns... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47349531)

I don't know who told you that stocks or options issued by the company were tax-free after 7 years. If it's your accountant, run screaming in the other direction unless you can cite an IRS document for this.

To the best of my knowledge, any sale of those securities is taxable with a few exceptions, and you will have to track down the cost basis. Notable exception: they were put into a retirement account.

Re:Company scrip returns... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348187)

Drink CocaCola, it's famous.

Re:Company scrip returns... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348255)

It's not about Bitcoin.

The governor is signing a law that allows companies issue script (a substitute for legal tender that is often used to pay employees and can only be redeemed with the issuing company for goods or services) just 4 days before the state raises its minimum wage 16% to be the third highest in the state (WA is $9.32, OR is $9.10, CA will be $9.00 starting July 1).

This looks like a corporate appeasement, as if the governor is saying, "we're raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour to appease the masses because the average 1-bedroom apartment costs $1,000-$1,760 a month in 1162 of the state's 2152 zip codes (see http://average-rent.findthebest.com/ and set the state to CA). $9 an hour enables a person working 40 hours a week to take home $1,000 a month after taxes... they can now afford to live as long as they can walk to work and don't have to eat. But you won't really have to pay them that. I'm going to make it legal for you to pay them in scrip. McDonald's can give its employees $6 an hour in real money and $3 an hour in McDonald's gift cards so they can buy their food from you so the money stays with the company. Agribusiness can pay its migrant fruit pickers in scrip that can be redeemed for the fruit they just picked. Just don't expect us to cover your asses if you get bad PR for doing it."

Why else would you time it this close to the new minimum wage, Jerry?

Re:Company scrip returns... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348721)

Just don't expect us to cover your asses if you get bad PR for doing it."

That part seems highly unrealistic. When they have a PR blow-out from this they'll shift the blame to the state somehow/in-every-way-possible.

I don't think you're making sense here. (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 4 months ago | (#47349497)

This legal change allows companies (and people) to issue money other than US dollars.

If a company pays its employee $6/hr in US dollars, it's failing to meet the minimum wage requirement, period. Issuing a gift card loaded with McBucks, quatloos, or whatever will not put them in compliance.

Admittedly, this is a common-sense observation, which means its legal relevance may be limited.

Not money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348061)

What's amusing is that because it has the word "coin" in its name, people automatically consider it money, as per the intention of Bitcoin's creator. But it's not money. It's just tradeable bits. If it had been called Bitvalues or Bitnumbers, no one would think of it as money and it would have gone nowhere.

Re:Not money (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348071)

What's amusing is that because it has the word "coin" in its name, people automatically consider it money, as per the intention of Bitcoin's creator. But it's not money. It's just tradeable bits. If it had been called Bitvalues or Bitnumbers, no one would think of it as money and it still would have gone nowhere.

Fixed that for you...

Re:Not money (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 4 months ago | (#47348691)

What's amusing is that because they have the word "coin" in their name, people automatically consider coins money. But they're not money. They're just tradeable metal discs. If they had called them Nickelplates or Copperounds, no one would think of them as money, and they would have gone nowhere.

*dons white beret*

Guess what! Everything is arbitrary! And it's wonderful! You can buy a house with colored pieces of paper or wear a beaver tail or race steam-powered airships or conduct a symphony underwater. The world we know is nothing but the sum of a billion crazy ideas, and the greatest people in history are the ones who made it a slightly weirder place...Or not! Who knows?

Re: Not money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348095)

Currency is related to the Latin root meaning "flowing." Currency allows for eifficient transfer of value. I would say that by this definition, bitcoin can most certainly be considered a currency.

Re: Not money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348101)

S/flowing/running is more accurate

Re: Not money (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 4 months ago | (#47349537)

'Running' as people do with feet, or as water does down a streambed?

Re:Not money (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 4 months ago | (#47348745)

What's amusing is that because it has the word "coin" in its name, people automatically consider it money

They should have named it PonziCoin.

Also BitBrother (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348947)

Bitcoin is code for big brother technology. Every transaction you do can be tracked by anyone with access to the blockchain. So is anyone surprised big brother legalized a technology that allows easy spying?

One more diff for the legal patch set (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348099)

I hope I'm not the only one that dislikes that how you remove some legal code is to add a patch that removes it to the gigantic patche set that is our legal code.

Wouldn't it be nice if we had a "head" or "master" version of the law, maybe even a "stable" version that said what the legal code is? We can keep the version history if people want that (its needed to know what the law was at some time in the past).

Maybe portions of the law that describe well defined things, like the tax code, could be in a nice declarative language that could be compiled into state and federal tax filing websites?

Maybe I'm crazy for thinking we could handle legal code, a large body carefully edited text describing rules, in a way thats better millions of diff files but I think some people might have come up with better ways.

I won't go so far as to fork our legal code and refactor this horrible mess, but I think thats what it would take since there is no way such fixes are getting merged upstream: they don't even have the concept of merges, and they don't accept pull requests without a lot of money anyway.

kercho (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348181)

oh yea

"other than U.S. dollars" (3, Interesting)

ebonum (830686) | about 4 months ago | (#47348183)

"Section 107 of California's Corporations Code, which prohibited companies or individuals from issuing money other than U.S. dollars"

So issuing US dollars in California is fine? I thought issuing US dollars was called counterfeiting.

Time to see if the the big color laser printer at work is up to the task!

Re:"other than U.S. dollars" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348727)

Why bother with the puny U.S. Dollar when you could start laser-printing the Awesome Bitcoin(TM)?

Re:"other than U.S. dollars" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348779)

While an amusing anecdote, you should know your history better.

Once upon a time in America, there were Pennsylvania dollars, New York dollars, etc. And currencies specific to particular cities, and sometimes to particular companies.

The company only currencies were the worst. They could pay you in dollars and conspire in such ways that your dollars were only redeemable at stores with inflated prices. In some cases, they would plan out your eventual decline into poverty as a means of binding you to the company. Your debt to the company would become your contract. Think of it as slavery on a payment plan.

Emperor Norton (0, Offtopic)

Flwyd (607088) | about 4 months ago | (#47348203)

Excellent!
Anyone know when Fry's will start accept these Emperor Norton bills I have?

Re:Emperor Norton (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348319)

If you were in possession of authenticate Emperor Norton promissory notes, then you'd definitely have something priceless, and something which could sell for a decent amount. Not a fortune, but possibly a few thousand, easy.

Re:Emperor Norton (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 4 months ago | (#47349569)

So, "priceless" does not mean it has no price. In fact, it apparently means it has a price that isn't particularly high.

Re:Emperor Norton (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348351)

They can refuse any sort of money that is not US$ for it is not legal tender. For example, you could steal some casino chips from a Las Vegas casino worth thousands of dollars and it's up to Fry's to decide whether to accept it or not. I strongly suspect they will not accept it.

Re:Emperor Norton (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 4 months ago | (#47349589)

They can refuse any sort of money that is not US$ for it is not legal tender.

The Euro would still be legal tender, even if Fry's doesn't accept it. The company's willingness to accept foreign currency does not affect the validity of that currency.

Emperor Norton (0)

Flwyd (607088) | about 4 months ago | (#47348211)

Excellent!
Anyone know when Fry's will accept these Emperor Norton bills I have?

Re:Emperor Norton (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 4 months ago | (#47349637)

De ja vu...

Quick, hide. Agent Smith just found us in the matrix.

G f J l
r l a e
e o p t
e w a t
n i n e
+ g e r
? & s s
# ] e .
) ^ ~ @

Wallstreet replacement (4, Interesting)

drHirudo (1830056) | about 4 months ago | (#47348359)

Soon BitCoin will became what really it was meant to be in the first place - asset for investment trades. A bitcoin is virtual, non existing in the real world asset, but when the invest market crashed back in 2008, they found most of the assets where non-existing anyway. Now the difference 6 years later - you know that you invest in something that is virtual, so you take a risk again, only more educated risk. It didn't make your investment more risky, just more obsessive, since you can mine with expensive hardware to gain some more coins.

If making currency was illegal... (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | about 4 months ago | (#47348463)

...and money laundering and sanction evading are illegal... and they can fine foreign banks for those activities that were carried out overseas... could they have fined banks for issuing currency overseas?

Seems they still haven't learned... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348573)

...shitcoin ponzi schemes will always be a bad idea.

You FAIl it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47348821)

Usenet. In 1995, downward spiral. Let's keep to the numbers. The steaUdily fucking about bylaws New core is going

Fallacy of Misplaced Importance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47349145)

California thinks it can legalize alternative currency just like they think they can legalize pot.

They can do neither, because both are against Federal Law.

Get ready China... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47349217)

We are figuring out how to devalue the US dollar, before we pay you back with them.

Company Stores (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 4 months ago | (#47349515)

How long until companies are paying in their own special dollars that can only be used at their company stores (again)?

not generally enforced either (2)

paulpach (798828) | about 4 months ago | (#47349827)

From the US. Constitution:

No State shall ... make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts;

I guess that one has not been generally enforced for a while either.

Disney? (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about 4 months ago | (#47349901)

What about all those Disney bucks or whatever they call the currency that you can buy in Disneyland and is only good in Disneyland, and hardly anywhere even within Disneyland? Has that been technically illegal all these years?
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