Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“I consider Paine our greatest political thinker. As we have not advanced, and perhaps never shall advance, beyond the Declaration and Constitution, so Paine has had no successors who extended his principles.”     Thomas Alva Edison

October 2, 2013

A Simple Question About Motive

by Brad Warbiany

The Feds just arrested the owner of Silk Road, a black market web drug marketplace, and seized the domain name.

Now, there are obviously a lot of reasons why they’d want to catch this guy. But I was struck by the headline at the above linked article:

Feds arrest the alleged founder of Bitcoin’s largest drug market

It makes you wonder…

Is this about drugs, or is this about fighting Bitcoin?

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4 Comments

  1. Who can resist a BOGO? Amirite?

    Comment by thomasblair — October 2, 2013 @ 5:21 pm
  2. They don’t actually have to FIGHT bitcoin. It’s already illegal (alternative currencies are illegal in this country, as is using technical means to circumvent anti-money laundering, and anti-tax evasion efforts), they just have to enforce the law whenever they feel like it.

    And this is speaking as someone who ran anti-money-laundering (AML) for one of the largest banks in america, for six years…

    Comment by Chris — October 2, 2013 @ 11:17 pm
  3. After a quick panic of traders on Wednesday after the news came out, the exchange rate for bitcoins recovered today to close to the pre-Silk Road news level. The bitcoin economy will go on just fine without Silk Road.

    Using alternative currencies is not illegal in this country.

    Comment by Peter — October 3, 2013 @ 1:31 pm
  4. Your last statement is entirely false, if you are referring to the United States.

    18 U.S.C. § 486:

    Whoever, except as authorized by law, makes or utters or passes, or attempts to utter or pass, any coins of gold or silver or other metal, or alloys of metals, intended for use as current money, whether in the resemblance of coins of the United States or of foreign countries, or of original design, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

    The federal government has taken the position that 18usc, plus the legal tender act, the federal reserve act, and various other minor acts and regulations; prohibit the promulgation, promotion, minting, printing, or exchange of alternate currencies.

    Now… the status of purely electronic alternate currencies is unclear… But the government could, at any time, push the issue, as it has in the past with previous attempts.

    Hell… they have consent decrees with paypal, about how paypal can operate so as to NOT fall afoul of these regulations etc…

    Comment by Chris — October 3, 2013 @ 3:09 pm

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