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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Bitcoin Supporters Defend Cyber Currency At U.S. Senate

Washington (AFP) – Bitcoin supporters told a U.S. Senate hearing the virtual currency unit should not be viewed negatively by authorities despite its links to crime.

The currency has been linked to a series of high-profile criminal cases in recent months, most notably in the raid on the Silk Road website, dubbed the “eBay for illegal drugs.”

“Bitcoin is not a magic cloak for illicit transactions,” Patrick Murck, general counsel for Bitcoin Foundation, which promotes the currency, told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs.

Launched in 2009, bitcoins can be exchanged online for real money or used to buy goods and services on the Internet. The currency is not regulated by any government.

Bitcoins recently made headlines when the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations closed the Silk Road website where illegal drugs, forged documents, hacker tools and even the services of hitmen were hawked. The FBI seized 26,000 bitcoins worth $3.6 million at the time.

Government officials also highlighted another digital currency, the Liberty Reserve (LR), that was created in 2006 and used to launder some $6 billion.

Ernie Allen, president of the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children said that “child pornography is currently being created and disseminated using technologies and using virtual currencies for payment.”

According to Murck, however, if authorities are too unfriendly towards the currency, U.S.-based societies of users will only re-emerge in countries that are more welcoming.

Jeremy Allaire, CEO of Circle Internet Financial, which offers payment services to promote the use of virtual money, denounced “the widely perceived high cost of transaction fees” associated with traditional currency.

While online currencies compete with standard money, such as the dollar, American Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke wrote to the Senate in September that the currency, while risky, could be promising.

Mythili Raman who represented the U.S. Department of Justice, anticipated growth in the money accompanied by growth in illegal transactions.

Earlier this year, Germany recognized bitcoin as a currency, which permitted the country to tax bitcoin transactions.

Some $1.5 billion in bitcoins is circulating in the world.

Allen, of the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said he believed “this is an emerging technology that needs to be protected.”

But, he added, “misuse jeopardizes the virtual ability of the currencies in the longer run.”

Senator Tom Carper, committee chairman, expressed hope that the economic benefits of online currencies can be harnessed, while ridding them of their criminal elements.

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • Socialism is Organized Evil

    Since equality before the law is the only “equality” compatible with liberty, it is the only “equality” that free countries should pursue.

    • awakenaustin

      This statement is on its face simply silly.

      • Socialism is Organized Evil

        How so?

        • awakenaustin

          It is at base a tautology. The premise contains the conclusion. It is fairly artfully constructed, but the conclusion is presumed by the premise. Also, the premise itself is a presumption.

          You have taken as a given your opening line. “Since… etc….”
          This premise may have the status of a philosophical position which you believe to be true or have faith is true, but it is not a truism and you have offered no evidence of its validity.

          Is there truly, absolutely no other type of”equality” in any form which is compatible with liberty?
          We have no idea what definition of “equality before the law” you are proposing or even what that concept may encompass.
          Incompatible with liberty (whatever you mean by that)? In every context? In every set of circumstances?
          Why does everyone in the 100 meter dash start at the same time in the same place? Equal Opportunity?
          Why does the 800 meter race start everyone at the same time in different places?
          Why do penal codes have ranges of punishment or punishment options for the same criminal offense?
          Is it maybe that sometimes it is more “just” to treat people “unequally before the law?”
          Is it possible that “justice” is sometimes compatible and other times incompatible with both liberty and equality?
          Is “justice before the law” (or justice at all) a value “free” countries ought to pursue?
          Why did they put “with liberty and justice” for all in the Pledge?
          Is equality (excepting before the law, of course) also incompatible with “forming a more perfect union, establishing justice, insuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, providing for the general welfare” as well as with “securing the blessings of liberty”?

          Shall I continue or would you prefer I offer an opportunity to respond?

          Oh, one last thing, it is sloganeering! Which is almost never very edifying.

  • Defend Liberty

    If we can make use of more knowledge than we actually know, we can overcome our natural ignorance and create useful things that apply others’ knowledge toward the situations we face.

  • Igor Shafarevich

    Since we cannot know very much about the intricate details of the gadgets, gizmos, and gasoline that we depend upon, we have no choice but to rely upon the liberty of others to produce, deliver, and improve them.

  • Chumba Wumba

    In fact, the notion that liberty means “freedom from obstacles” is often cited by central planners consolidating the power to coerce others.