Patrick is a founding member and Executive Director for the Bitcoin Foundation. He was formerly General Counsel. His expertise extends across the legal and regulatory issues governing the use of bitcoin, decentralized financial systems, virtual economies, alternative payment systems, and social loyalty and reward programs. He is a member of the bar in Virginia and Washington D.C. Patrick has held executive roles in a number of digital currency companies. He has published in a variety of journals, including Cato Unbound: A Journal of Debate, The Federal Communications Law Journal and The CommLaw Conspectus: Journal of Communications Law and Policy. Twitter: @virtuallylaw
Let's be sure to provide a hospitable environment so that we may all benefit from tomorrow's discussion. The AMA should go live when this thread is 17 hours old. Check your local time here.
NOTE TO THE PRESS: The Bitcoin Foundation does not represent Bitcoin in any way. It has historically hired some Bitcoin developers, lobbyists and organized a conference. Dear Members, I was elected on a platform of transparency and decentralization of core development. Since the beginning, the Foundation has been sorely lacking any transparency of its actions. I can no longer in good conscience hide the truth on what I have witnessed in the Bitcoin Foundation since I was elected last month. First of all, the Bitcoin Foundation is effectively bankrupt. As a result of 2 years of ridiculous spending and poorly thought out decisions, they almost ran out of money in November of last year. In extremis, but way too late, they decided to select a new executive director during that time. That new director decided that the only way to still get funds at that point, was to focus solely on funding core development, in the hope that people would see that as a good cause. But people were smart enough not to trust the Foundation anymore. Despite it’s intentions, they failed to collect the necessary funds to support this idea. With the election in February-March, it became clear that people did not want the Foundation meddling with core development. The truth is that the Foundation’s plan was to hire even more core devs + to start a Bitcoin Standards Body. No organization should have this much control over Bitcoin, and a disaster was avoided. When I joined on my first Board meeting, Jim Harper and myself immediately put forward a vote to have the board meeting recorded. We followed Robert’s rules of orders, and everyone else basically shut us down and failed to follow procedures. There were “more urgent” things to discuss (as you will see later, the urgent pattern was an excuse to just continue on their course and shut us up). It was critical for us to vote on a plan that would save the Foundation. When I mentioned that such a critical vote is all the more reason to make sure the whole meeting gets recorded, I was ignored. The Bitcoin Foundation hates transparency. If they would have been transparent then everyone would know there is no money left. Something I think the members have a right to know, wouldn’t you think? Members have a right to know that the current board failed to tell them the truth, and that their way of running the organization resulted in it going bankrupt. But instead of taking responsibility, they want to find the next executive director, that will come up with another magic plan. Ironically, being transparent from the start might have prevented this whole thing to begin with. Everyone has the right to know the truth:
The Foundation has almost no money left, and just fired 90% of its people. Some will stay on as volunteers.
Core dev can no longer be funded by it, and Patrick Murck is trying to re-create a new Foundation just for core dev, because the current name is tarnished. Do not fall for this.
The current Executive Director (Patrick Murck), will be gone in 2 weeks, and they are trying to find the next person to blame everything on.
Jim Harper was threatened for doing a press release which was (barely) critical of the Foundation after he got elected. The Foundation tries to make sure we hide the truth by subtly threatening us on a regular basis.
If I get asked to leave the Foundation for telling the truth, so be it. The truth is being told.
A special trust fund is being created and I will donate several 100k to pre-pay Gavin’s, Wladimirs and some other core devs wage for the next year (if they choose to accept). The control of this trust fund will be handed over to the core devs, who can decide who can join it. Alternatively, we can give voting power to everyone who puts money in it (pro-rata). I will also organize crowdfunds and help make this fund public. At no point do I want to have any control whatsoever.
It is up to the members of the Bitcoin Foundation to decide what they want to do now. The bylaws allow for a special board meeting to be called by 15% of members. I would recommend you to do so and ask for all information to be released so you can learn the truth. Additionally I would recommend for you to replace the whole board if you want this organization to last. Alternatively you can vote to shut it down and get your money back. There might not be enough money left in the Foundation to pay its members back, but I will personally try to help make up the difference, even though I have not been part of it.
The lesson for all of us in Bitcoin is to never put any trust in a centralized org again that wanted to represent Bitcoin or the Core Development of Bitcoin. Note: I totally expect the current Board members to try to place blame on me for whatever reason. They are very bad at taking personal responsibility. I have had several threats, but I'm releasing this anyway. Olivier Link to Bitcoin forum post: https://bitcoinfoundation.org/forum/index.php?/topic/1284-the-truth-about-the-bitcoin-foundation/
The top ten movers and shakers from Inside Bitcoins in Vegas.
1) Bobby Lee: CEO of BTC China (now the largest bitcoin exchange in the world), Bobby gave a presentation on Bitcoin in China, perhaps the most important panel of the entire conference. He clarified what last week's Chinese government announcement meant for the future of Bitcoin as both a regulated investment and payment system in China. As an investment, it has been given the green light for now, which is important. But as a payment system, it is banned outright, which is very bad news...mostly for China. 2) Charlie Lee: All you need to know about Charlie, a Coinbase executive and creator of LiteCoin, is that he is the understated, non-anonymous founder of the leading alternative currency to Bitcoin. Which naturally meant that people were literally lining up to take pictures with him. Though he was taken by surprise, he smiled for every single one. Upon seeing this, I asked him to sign my chest, but unfortunately he thought I was kidding. He and his brother are as nice and humble as people say they are. I was disappointed that there wasn't a panel on "alt-currencies" with him and the founders of some of the other cryptos. 1a, 2a) "BitDad" (Bobby & Charlie's father): The Lees brought their father to Vegas, where he was affectionately referred to as BitDad for producing two of the industries most important pioneers. 3) Patrick Murck: Head of the Bitcoin Foundation, the industry's leading advocacy group, Murck just testified before the Senate re Bitcoin's potential. All week, I pitched the idea of insuring Bitcoin deposits to other attendees and received overwhelmingly positive reception. But when Murck told me "this needs to happen," I had to double back to my room to change my boxers. 4) David Johnston & Michael Terpin: These two are co-founders of BitAngels, the industry's leading Bitcoin investor network. That alone makes them important. But they are more than just Bitcoin enthusiasts, and BitAngels is about more than just money. Johnston and Terpin have built an entrepreneurial network that turns ideas into companies by syncing likeminded, specialized teammates with the appropriate engineering, finance, and/or legal complements to form a solid founding team. 5) Robert Cho: Today, if you are an investor that wants to own Bitcoin, but prefer to avoid direct investment in digital currency (like many less tech-savvy investors), the only game in town is SecondMarket's Bitcoin Investment Trust, which already raised over $65 million from accredited investors. Cho is the VP responsible for the trust, and has blazed the path for other Wall Streeters to follow in SecondMarket's footsteps. In fact, one major US hedge fund plans to announce a Bitcoin position in the next several weeks. (A long position, of course.) 6) Paige Freeman: My conversation with Paige was short and sweet, but she definitely deserves mention because of how quickly her team at BitPay is on-boarding new merchants. (She's VP of Sales.) They now have over 15,000 merchants on their platform and recently announced that they passed the $100mm transaction processing milestone. Bitcoin investments rely on underlying value in the payment system and $100mm is a big number. It shows people are doing more than mere speculating. 7) Vinny Lingham: I wish I had had more time to speak with Vinny. As the merchant complement to BitPay, his company Gyft, a mobile gift card company, is extremely valuable to the Bitcoin community. Very few major merchants accept Bitcoin today, but you can buy Gyft cards with Bitcoin. And those can be spent at retailers like Amazon, Target, Nike, etc. Ergo... 8) Brock Pierce: I am surprised that some enterprising attendee didn't go out and have "Brock Pierce 2016" t-shirts printed after his panel to wrap up Day 1 of the conference. Two of his best quotes, which were border-line shouted into the microphone because he was so excited: "Professional investors that invest in the currency as if it is an index fund have a moral obligation to invest in the Bitcoin ecosystem. Otherwise, the infrastructure won't get built." "Bitcoin will be the biggest area of VC investment in 2014. Just like VCs asked: "What is our social media strategy?" during the early Facebook / LinkedIn / Twitter years, I guarantee you they asked: "What is our Bitcoin strategy?" at partner meetings after Jim Breyer's investment in Circle." Also, in case Brock's name sounds familiar, it's because you may remember him as the kid who played a young Emilio Estevez in the Mighty Duck movies. 9) Andreas Antonopoulos: The probable VP on Brock's Bitcoin Presidential ticket. He's too "fire-and-brimstone" to be at the top, but holy shit could he fire up the Bitcoin base. Andreas is a writer, speaker and Bitcoin entrepreneur. He was asked to respond to bankers and politicians who questioned whether Bitcoin was "legitimate" and delivered an exasperated soliloquy on the audacity of our "morally bankrupt, corrupt and illegitimate banks and governments" passing such judgment on Bitcoin. I think the crowd nearly gave him a standing ovation when he wrapped up. Follow him on twitter to spice up your feed. @aantonop 10) Stewart Quealy: Media Bistro did a phenomenal job with the conference, and much of the credit goes to Stewart, the primary organizer and emcee for the entire conference. Great guy, and you should look forward to meeting him at future events. Agree disagree with this list? Let me know who I missed. @twobitidiot; (You can also subscribe to my Daily Bit by emailing [email protected] best post to date was the now-prophetic thesis on how Coinbase was a $BN company)
This week Charles Hoskinson posted a thoughtful post on the Bitcoin Foundation and his idea that an audit would help the organization break from the past. I'm happy to support an audit provided someone can lead it and do the work involved and/ or support the costs of one. I do remain skeptical of the value of an audit. We all know that a lot of money was wasted and lost - I detail the basics of the 2014 spending below -- it is unlikely worse than imagined as all the funds are essentially gone. I don't think much can be done about past mistakes, the people involved are no longer with the organization. Also this week, someone on an anti-Bitcoin sub posted this data from the 990 forms and was afraid it would be censored if posted on Bitcoin. I'm happy to post it for them, minus the color commentary and a couple of minor factual inaccuracies. They also implied that some people would want to not have this information brought to light. I'm more than glad to. I don't defend these financial decisions as I had nothing to do with them. I also had thought the 2014 990 form with this was posted once completed this summer. At that time we were going through a website and server change and I was also recovering from a car accident, so if it was posted it wasn't in the proper place. For not having the 990 form posted in the correct section a few months back , that's on me and I'm sorry. The bigger matter is the financials themselves. I don't defend these financials, I certainly don't apologize for them or attempt to justify them. I had nothing whatsoever to do with these decisions. As you can see the spending / loss was caused by: 1) a large drop in Bitcoin value costing millions of dollars - the peak foundation assets were calculated based on a Bitcoin price in the $800 range -- so, had they simply held those coins it would have seen the $6-7 million fall to $2 million or so 2) ridiculously wasteful and reckless spending 3) reasonable and legitimate expenses such as Gavin and dev salaries I have not been presented any evidence of any theft, criminal act or similar wrongdoing but would be happy to pay a bounty of at least 10% for anyone with information and evidence of any such act leading to recovery of any funds which were misappropriated or stolen. Those who imply that there is any wrongdoing at the foundation now or by those involved now should come forward with evidence or at least a solid and specific accusation. If presented with any such evidence I would work to have justice done. It seems strange that so many make an effort to tie those involved now to the sins of the past. This is the point of a turnaround; to take what an organization has and make it as useful as possible. Many people think that the change in management and new focus, combined with a new mission statement can help the organization to help Bitcoin more. I wish that the foundation hadn't had so many problems. I did think it was worthwhile to try to help the organization. Here are the finances: Salaries Gavin Andresen: $147k. Chief Scientist. Salary down from $209k (salary was higher in 2013 as it was pegged to BTCUSD) Jodie Brady: $141k. COO of the Foundation, who also served as CFO at CoinLab (Peter Vessenes' affiliate company). Jon Matonis: $137.5k through "THE HOLE OF ROY LLC". Salary up from $31k. Jon Matonis acted as Executive Director up to October 2014. Patrick Murck: $115k. Executive Director of the Foundation (as of November 2014). Salary up from $57k. Contractors: "LOCAL PRODUCER" was paid $790k to host Bitcoin 2014 in Amsterdam. Apple Fundraising Consultants were also paid $123k for activities related to the aforementioned conference. THEPOLICYCOUNCILCOM INC as the Foundation's 'Global Policy Counsel', paid $114k for about 9 months of work in 2014. And the breakdown of the functional expenses, oh, so many expenses: Office Expenses: $39k up from $8k in 2013. Information Technology: $158k up from $67k Travel: $159k up from $69k Occupancy: $18k up from $7k. Accounting: $50.5k up from $9.1k. Legal fees: $220k up from $161k. Other: $653k, consisting of: Professional services: $307k Public relations: $93k Executive Directory Compensation: $137.5k Professional event expenses: $115k Other salaries and wages: $471k up from $72k Revenues : Membership dues: $335k down from $358k Conference revenue: $584k up from $337k At the end of 2014 not much was left: $366k. 2015 The beginning of 2015 still had many expenses similar to the above. At the time I came aboard those costs reduced dramatically. There were still high outstanding legal and accounting bills as well as the bitnodes funding and Bitcoin.org funding and other previous obligations that were paid. Current spending is in the $8k / mo range Current expenses: Board salaries: $0 Executive Director salary: $0 All reimbursements for travel: in the range of $3000 - primarily for three speakers airfare and hotel (me, Gavin and Andreas) to DevCore, $600 in pizza for the attendees etc. Aside from one economy flight to DevCore and the hotel I have personally not been reimbursed for any travel. I have paid some costs from my own credit card for web hosting etc which were also reimbursed - this is also a small amount, perhaps in the $2000 range Current salaries include one part time bookkeeper and one almost full time ops director. I'd love any feedback about what the organization can do to break from the past. We could close, sure. I'm not convinced that is what's best for Bitcoin and 8/10 top voted candidates from the last four elections don't think that's what the members want. What else can an organization do to move forward? EDIT: BTW, here is the mission statement posted a couple weeks back by the new board - IMHO it's more productive to focus on this than the past https://github.com/BruceFenton/bitcoinfoundationplan
New York has enforced digital currency companies doing business there to get a BitLicense to hold clients reserves and exchange crypto coins for dollars and other regular currencies since 2015. The Department of Financial Services (DFS) was managed by Benjamin Lawsky when it developed those regulations, acting as an campaigner of virtual currencies when other regulators were still in doubt. Even though it stays vague whether such currencies will ever gain dominant approval, they are now part of a broader, promptly-increasing business that combines finance and technology, and which leading financial centers are keen to draw attention. For Corporations, a trademark of approval from a tough regulator cited a chance to win over clients who stayed reluctant about the product. With New York, it was an opportunity to get ahead of rivals around the world that were also trying to charm fintech industries. After the regulations came into charge, Lawsky quit the agency. Few leading personnel with BitLicense expertise soon followed him. DFS has released just two BitLicenses. Another 15 operations are still pending, with four others retreated and four refused. Two virtual currency companies have received trust charters, which treat them more like traditional financial institutions. Patrick Murck, a lawyer and fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, said "by putting the managements together and having key staff members leaving almost thereafter, they really put the business behind the eight-ball in terms of competing with traditional service providers". Nearly all firms that were operating in New York when the regulations took effect can still do business there while waiting for a license. However, start-ups may face trouble raising money or expanding their business. The digital-currency business is very small compared to traditional finance, but it has grown rapidly since bitcoin's launch in 2009. There are now other virtual currencies, and broader uses for underlying technologies that create and distribute them. The bitcoin market is now worth about $10.7 billion, compared to less than $1 billion just three years ago, according to the information site CoinDesk. Financial markets all over the globe have competed vigorously to entice new business, as the market has developed while some have depend on light-touch regulation, the appeal of New York's BitLicense was that it offered a clear permissible foundation. Nevertheless, the slow licensing process and strict requirements are driving some companies away. Application worth $5,000 to file, and once completed, can run 500 pages including everything from compliance manuals to executives' fingerprints. Regulators then drill deeper, asking for details of business models, organizational charts or ownership information. Washington State, has issued seven licenses to virtual currency companies since 2013 under its longstanding law for money transfer industries. North Carolina has licensed two. A uniform virtual currency law that any state can opt into is also in the works, and there has been talk of a possible federal charter. More from ttm.news
States put heat on Bitcoin. (WSJ - 6/26 - article cut & Paste for w/o Subscription)
By ROBIN SIDEL and ANDREW R. JOHNSON State regulators are warning virtual-currency exchanges and other companies that deal with bitcoin that they could be closed down if their activities run afoul of state money-transmission laws, according to people familiar with the matter. According to people familiar with the situation, banking regulators in California, New York and Virginia in recent weeks have issued letters telling the companies that they need to follow the state rules or prove that the rules don't apply to them. The warnings fall short of formal "cease and desist" orders, which would demand that the companies immediately stop engaging in their business, these people said. Still, the moves show that state regulators have moved beyond merely scrutinizing virtual currencies and now are taking steps to prevent people and companies from using them for illegal activities. Federal regulators already are cracking down on virtual currencies. Similar actions are expected from other states in coming weeks and months, according to people familiar with the matter. California, New York and Virginia are three of the 48 states that require the companies to obtain money-transmission licenses to operate. South Carolina and Montana don't have such rules. The money-transmission rules vary among states, but most require detailed financial data, business strategy and information about the company's management. States also typically require companies to put up a bond that could run as high as several million dollars. Bits and Pieces Read about Bitcoin's evolution. The actions aren't related to the announcement last week that Mt. Gox, the largest bitcoin trading exchange, has halted withdrawals of customer funds in U.S. dollars. The Tokyo company said it was making system improvements. Unlike dollars or euros that are backed by a central bank, bitcoin users can create the units in a process called "mining." Users also can trade the currency on a number of exchanges or swap it privately. The state actions come three months after federal regulators issued guidelines placing virtual-currency exchanges under the same comprehensive anti-money-laundering requirements as traditional money-transmission businesses such as Western Union Co. Since then, a handful of bitcoin exchanges have registered with the U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The California Department of Financial Institutions has issued at least three warnings to bitcoin-related companies in recent weeks, according to people familiar with the actions. One of the recipients is the Bitcoin Foundation, an industry-backed group that promotes the digital cash. Patrick Murck, general counsel for the Bitcoin Foundation, said it is a nonprofit organization and doesn't engage in money transmission. The group is formulating its response to the letter it received from regulators last week. A spokeswoman for the California banking department declined to comment on the warning letters, saying the communications are confidential and "the goal is safety and soundness and compliance with the laws that DFI enforces." California is particularly important to the bitcoin community because many of the startup companies that are tied to the virtual currency are based there. California and New York are known for having stricter money-transmission laws than other states. Bloomberg News Bitcoin supporter Peter Vessenes "Bitcoin businesses are spending a lot of time and energy figuring out how to stay out of California," said Peter Vessenes, chief executive of CoinLab, a Bainbridge Island, Wash., company that has registered as a money-services business with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. CoinLab is waiting to launch any exchange-related services until it gets its "state licensing strategy sorted," said Mr. Vessenes, who also is chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation. The New York Department of Financial Services issued a similar letter to BitInstant, a New York company that allows customers to buy and sell bitcoins. The company earlier this month alerted customers on its website that it wasn't accepting cash deposits "as we make steps to transition to our new website." Charlie Shrem, chief executive of BitInstant, couldn't be reached for comment. The company has registered as a money-services business with federal regulators. "Virtual currency firms inhabit an evolving and sometimes murky corner of the financial world," Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of New York's Department of Financial Services, said in an interview. "The extent and nature of their operations morph constantly, so it's important for regulators to ask the hard questions and stay ahead of the curve in order to root out dangerous or illegal activity," he said. In Virginia, a company called Tangible Cryptography suspended the purchase of the currency through its service called FastCash4Bitcoins after receiving a letter from state regulators who received a complaint that the company was operating as an unlicensed money transmitter, according to a notice on its website. Company representatives couldn't be reached for comment. Tangible Cryptography said on its website that its activity is exempt from licensing requirements and that the commission's initial assessment contained factual errors. "While we respond to the commission's notice, the prudent action is for the company to suspend all new transactions," the company said. A spokesman for the Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions declined to comment on whether it has issued similar notices to other companies. Write to Robin Sidel at [email protected] and Andrew R. Johnson at [email protected] A version of this article appeared June 26, 2013, on page C1 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: States Put Heat on Bitcoin.
LINK TO PART I: http://www.reddit.com/Bitcoin/comments/1qx3yfor_those_not_in_us_cspan3_hearing_bitcoin/ WILL CONTINUE UPDATING BITCOIN TIP: public address- 1AkF4HaJrJzXVYuSxifwLUWNEwhbGv5sXu 5:05 EST Jerry Brito A decentralized currency are not a greater risk than centralized currencies for money laundering. The danger is that real hardworking entrepreneurs looking to comply will not find that the US is helpful in economic prospect. 5:07 EST- Jeremy Allaire the digital currency business may be different from other internet businesses. I do not think that two men should not be able to start a business unless it has capital to keep users safe. 5:10 EST Patrick Murck The states have an interest in protecting their consumers. In the EU, there is a system of reciprocity. Perhaps that is a system that would work here [the us] but that is up to legislators. 5:11 EST- Jerry Brito guidance says that you are not required to register with FINCEN if you are buying goods or services, only if you are sending money and exchanging it back into government money. This is a new industry that is still trying to find it's way. The folks trying to participate in this economy are not your average consumers. During this time, we can learn if the existing laws are working or even if they are enough. Digital currencies provide a new choice for users. Currently, If you want to send money electronically, you will be have to pay a fee. This is so most of your transactions can be reversed. With BITCOIN, payments cannot be reversed but the fees are very very low. 5:19 EST- Jeremy Allaire When we pay a bill online, or a check in a restaurant, we are effectively giving away the keys to our bank accounts. When using bitcoin, you never give away your account information when making a transaction. Increasingly, because of ease of use, consumers are using services that host their bitcoins on the internet. 5:23 EST Patrick Murck Bitcoin is still at version 0.9. We have yet to make it to version 1.0. Because of this, the market is still very volital and consumers should be aware of this. The creator or creators go by the nickname "Satoshi Nakamoto." Much of their original code has been reinforced and changed so who he is is nearly irrelevant. 5:27 EST - Jerry Brito Patrick is right in saying that the creator is not important. Much of the code actually has been changed. Additionally, all of the code that represents the bitcoin protocol is open source so anyone can see how it works. 5:29 EST Sen. Tom Carper We wanted to hold this hearing to understand the pitfalls of the currency but also the benefits. The testimonies from our panel have been encouraging. We all have work to do to minimize the bad and maximize the good. The vote will stay open for 15 days. (janet yellen vote) Link:http://www.marketwatch.com/story/senate-banking-panel-sets-thursday-vote-on-yellen-2013-11-18?mod=latestnews&link=sfmw END OF SESSION
Fraudsters and losers: Five greatest cryptocurrency flops in history
Bankruptcies, lawsuits, thefts and information leaks are inseparable companions of any big business, and cryptocurrencies are no exception. CoinFox recalls the most scandalous failures of the blockchain industry. Every child learning to walk and run will be falling, and sometimes quite painfully. The teething problems of the rapidly developing cryptocurrency industry – gullibility, fecklessness, incompetence, overestimation – resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars lost. As we will see, even successful and reputable startups are not immune from this risk. Mt. Gox: A company that nearly buried bitcoin The Japan-registered exchange used to be the biggest online platform for BTC/USD operations, brought to the world in 2009 by Jeb McCaleb as an online marketplace for wizard-themed playing cards (its name stands for “Magic: the Gathering Online Exchange”). Just like an evil wizard, it made a vast sum of money disappear without a trace. Some of its clients lost a fortune. The trading platform, which in 2013 processed 70% of all bitcoin operations, collapsed due to a flaw in its code that allowed hackers to steal digital currency from customer accounts. Over 2011- 2014, the violators managed to drain 744,408 bitcoins, including 100,000 belonging to the company itself. At that moment, the loss was estimated at over $450 mln and amounted to 7% of all bitcoins in circulation. The company admitted the losses in February 2014. And it came as little surprise to people who had knowledge of the Tokyo-based company’s inner work. “Gox is the worst-run business in the history of the world,” said bitcoin advocate Roger Ver, who tried to help the company to sort out an earlier hack, which also resulted in a large bitcoin leakage. No wonder, the Wired magazine ruthlessly criticised Mt. Gox as a “messy combination of poor management, neglect, and raw inexperience.” So frustrating was the money loss and so vast was the scale of the scandal that many people believed it would undermine public trust forever and drive cryptocurrencies totally beyond the law. Up until the crisis, bitcoin had been gradually gaining world acceptance, and the damage to its reputation could have destroyed it for good. It is notable that on 20 March 2014, Mt. Gox declared it “found” 200,000 bitcoins worth around $116 million in an old digital wallet from 2011. In April, suffering from a lawsuit avalanche, the company that had nearly buried the world’s most popular cryptocurrency gave up its plans to rebuild under bankruptcy protection and asked the Tokyo court to allow its liquidation. KnCMiner: the short journey “to the skies” The Swedish company KnCMiner had an extraordinary start. In the beginning, it managed to raise $32 million of investments. Business Insider UK included the miner in the list of top-21 most influential bitcoin companies. In June 2015, KnCMiner implemented the new powerful Solar ASIC that was supposed to boost the efficiency of mining, but that turned out to be useless due to the anticipated bitcoin block reward halving. “We knew that there were risks related to doing this in Sweden. We aimed for the skies, not to build a mediocre medium sized business. We got big investors on board and took a chance. But it hasn’t paid off,” said CEO Sam Cole. Early in 2015, a scandal broke out around the quality of KnCMiner’s products and services. According to Swedish media, more than 100 clients accused the company of fraud and sent a collective complaint to Swedish authorities. As the dissatisfied clients claimed, the mining device called Titan did not work well and caused ignition, whereas the company refused to return the money for it. Besides, it was reported that the company refused to communicate with the lawyers that represented the interests of the clients. “All the while we were having huge problems with their machines (fires, burnt-out cores, random shutdowns, etc.). [At the same time], KnC was making press/Twitter, etc. releases about how happy their customers were with the junk they had sent them,” wrote one of the enraged clients. The Swedish court ruled in favour of KnCMiner, refusing to satisfy the claim of the applicants, but that did not help the company: due to the abovementioned reasons, the KnC was unable to cover its own expenses. Besides, the lawsuits brought in by its American clients are still being considered by courts in the USA. Cryptsy: how to lose $6 million The operation of the cryptocurrency exchange Cryptsy ended in January 2016, also in a flop. According to the company, that was caused by a hacker’s attack that resulted in Cryptsy losing 13,000 bitcoins and almost 300,000 Litecoins (which equalled more than $6 million in January). However, in reality, the theft had happened eighteen months before – on 29 July 2014. The management of the exchange decided not to report the large cryptocurrency leak from the users’ “hot wallets”, hoping to recompense the stolen money with their own reserves. But the exchange failed to make up for the loss. In October 2015, rumours began to spread regarding the hard financial situation of the platform: users started noticing problems when trying to remove their money from exchange wallets. But Cryptsy CEO Paul Vernon denied any financial difficulties faced by the company. The exchange blamed the hacking on one of the platform’s developers, Lucky7Coin. However, some of the clients have a different opinion: they suspect the owner Paul Vernon and his ex-wife Lori Ann Nettles of removing the funds and cashing them out. Now they are involved in court proceedings in Florida. The collective lawsuit to Vernon and his former spouse reads that the money removed from Cryptsy was cashed out and spent to buy a $1.5 mln villa on the Florida coast and an Infinity QX80. A temporary sale ban has been imposed on this property following the investors’ demand. Bitcoin Foundation: the weakest link Lost credibility – that is the situation the Bitcoin Foundation ended up in. Initially launched to spread the knowledge of cryptocurrencies and popularise bitcoin, the foundation was supposed to act as a link between the bitcoin community and the conventional industries and governmental bodies. But the practice has shown that companies can perfectly do it on their own without any help, while the fund’s monthly budget, as big as $150,000, would make for a modest crowdfunding campaign of an emerging cryptocurrency startup. The financial position of the Bitcoin Foundation has got worse during the last eighteen months. First of all, the foundation has lost part of its funds due to the high volatility of bitcoin. Secondly, the inflow of the donations to the not-for-profit organisation by bitcoin companies has considerably dwindled. That happened due to the fund being increasingly accused of inefficient spending of its money. For instance, the community was outraged to learn that Board Member Patrick Murck had spent $12,000 to visit a seminar in London. In October 2015, at a board meeting, it was announced that the organisation has funds only sufficient to operate until March 2016. The board members had to donate money from their own pocket: the head of the Foundation Bruce Fenton, as well as Board Members Bobby Lee and Brock Pierce, contributed $10,000 each. About $65,000 was also received from a miner who chose to remain unknown. Still, the foundation has failed to return the main investment – the trust of the industry. The letter Fenton wrote in May in which he tried to encourage Bitcoin Core developers to enhance cooperation with the fund was scorned by the community. The Core team was not convinced either: Peter Todd noted that Bitcoin Foundation is not the organisation that people want to be associated with. “I personally would like to distance myself from it,” he added. After Bruce Fenton quit his position of CEO, it was occupied by a South African venture investor Llew Claasen. He will have to make a difficult choice: whether to try and return the trust of the industry with more investments, or follow the advice of some bitcoin activists and shut down the organisation. The DAO: the tragedy of “not-so-smart” contracts For a long time, the community only preferred to talk about the advantages of decentralisation: resistance to fraudulent schemes, saving on intermediaries, a more transparent governance system where every participant has a voice that will never be ignored in the voting. True democracy. Now we know what the ticket costs that brings you to this democratic paradise: $60 million. This is the sum lost by The Decentralised Autonomous Organisation (The DAO), albeit not completely, due to a loophole in the platform’s code. Earlier this year The DAO triumphantly raised about $150 million attracting investors by its innovative design. The smart contract turned out to be not so smart: the fraudster managed to outsmart it and make use of a vulnerability in The DAO’s architecture. On 17 June, 3.6 million ethers were removed from the DAO’s main account, which at that moment equalled $60 million. Formally, though, the thief has done nothing illegal, it was not even a hack: he made use of a legitimate function provided by the smart contract itself. Now Ethereum developers are hastily proposing various decisions: from “doing nothing” to temporarily freezing all the funds in The DAO (including those rescued and removed to safe accounts) and even calling off transactions in the whole Ethereum network. Although the latter can certainly return the funds, it will give the industry an irreparable reputational blow. One of the advantages of the blockchain – irreversibility – will be discredited. And whenever you allow yourself to pull back and change the name of the game, there will be always room for fraudsters. by coinfox.info
Inside the Bitcoin advocates’ closed-door meeting with federal regulators
What do we think the impact of this will be? Despite their initial skepticism, regulators seemed more interested in learning than in confrontation, according to attendees. And that’s about as much as Patrick Murck, the Bitcoin Foundation’s top lawyer, said he could hope for. “The foundation has asked FinCEN to be open and transparent as they move forward,” said Murck. “FinCEN’s saying, ‘Not only are we going to do that, but we’re going to introduce you to the whole regulatory community.’ And that’s new.” Bitcoin Foundation representatives plan to spend Tuesday on Capitol Hill meeting with lawmakers’ staffs. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/08/27/inside-the-bitcoin-advocates-closed-door-meeting-with-federal-regulators/
Entidades Reguladoras Veem Valor No Bitcoin, E Investidores Se Apressam Em Concordar.
BY NATHANIEL POPPER A moeda virtual bitcoin deu um grande passo em direção a sua popularização nesta segunda-feira quando as autoridades federais sinalizaram sua disposição de aceitá-la como uma alternativa de pagamento legítimo. Um número de funcionários federais disse em uma audiência no Senado que essas redes financeiras ofereceram benefícios reais para o sistema financeiro, assim como eles reconheceram que as novas formas de dinheiro digitais haviam fornecido caminhos para a lavagem de dinheiro e atividades ilegais. "Há muitas oportunidades para as moedas digitais operarem dentro das leis e regulamentos existentes", disse Edward Lowery, um agente especial do Serviço Secreto, que é encarregado de proteger a integridade do dólar. Sinais de que o governo não iria se colocar no caminho do desenvolvimento do bitcoin, mesmo que ele venha reprimindo as redes criminosas que usam o dinheiro digital, alimentou uma forte recuperação no preço do cripto-moeda. Na segunda-feira à noite, o valor de uma unidade de bitcoin explodiu ultrapassando 700 dólares em algumas trocas. Esse excepcional montante de bitcoins - que é criado por uma rede de usuários que resolvem problemas matemáticos complexos - agora vale mais de US $ 7 bilhões. A audiência do Senado nesta segunda-feira à tarde, foi uma indicação mais clara do desejo do governo de lidar com as consequências deste crescimento, e o reconhecimento de que o bitcoin e outras redes semelhantes podem se tornar peças mais duradouras e importantes do cenário financeiro. Video: http://www.nytimes.com/video/business/100000002167289/bitcoin-has-real-world-investors.html "A decisão de trazer a moeda virtual dentro do escopo do nosso quadro regulamentar deve ser visto por aqueles que respeitam e obedecem aos fundamentos básicos da lei como um desenvolvimento positivo para o setor", disse Jennifer Shasky Calvery, o diretor do Departamento de Execução de Crimes Financeiros do Tesouro. "Ele reconhece a inovação que moedas virtuais fornecem, e os benefícios que elas podem oferecer." Ms. Shasky Calvery e os outros funcionários na audiência disseram que ainda havia questões básicas a serem respondidas sobre moedas virtuais, incluindo se elas realmente podem ser consideradas moedas ou se são mais corretamente classificados como bens ou valores mobiliários. A distinção vai determinar quais agências regularam as redes e como elas serão tratadas sob a lei fiscal. Ms. Shasky Calvery disse que a Receita Federal estava "trabalhando ativamente" em suas próprias regras para o bitcoin. A audiência seguiu outras medidas menos visíveis tomadas pelos reguladores e legisladores para trazer o dinheiro digital ao mainstream monetário. O principal regulador financeiro do Estado de Nova York, Benjamin M. Lawsky, disse na semana passada que ele iria realizar uma audiência para considerar a criação de um BitLicense para fornecer mais fiscalização para as transações. Mais cedo, a Comissão Federal Eleitoral expôs um aviso indicando que bitcoin pode ser legalmente aceitos como doações políticas. O conselheiro geral da Fundação Bitcoin, uma organização sem fins lucrativos que defende a moeda, disse em seu depoimento na segunda-feira que ele estava recebendo uma resposta muito mais amigável do governo e do setor financeiro. "Nós recentemente percebemos uma melhora acentuada no tom e ênfase tomada por ambos os funcionários do Estado e executivos de banco", disse o conselheiro-geral, Patrick Murck, disse. Bitcoin tem experimentado uma ascensão notável desde que foi criado em 2009 por um programador anônimo ou coletivo conhecido como Satoshi Nakamoto. O dinheiro, que não está vinculado a qualquer moeda nacional, tem sido popular com tecnófilos que são céticos dos bancos centrais do mundo. Apenas uma quantidade finita de bitcoin será criada - 21 milhões de unidades. Os usuários alavancaram os preços pelas casas de câmbio pela Internet, apostando que a moeda será mais amplamente utilizada no futuro. Há questões importantes sobre a sabedoria de usar o dinheiro digital como um investimento, uma vez que bitcoin não possui valor intrínseco e provou ser vulnerável a hackers. Muitos gestores de fundos têm recomendado aos investidores inexperientes para permanecerem longe. Recentemente, porém, o bitcoin tem pegando fogo em todo o mundo, com trocas na China particularmente ativas. Um número crescente de investidores americanos proeminentes também compraram participações, incluindo Michael Novogratz, diretor da gigante Fortress Investment Group¹, assim como os gêmeos Winklevoss, Cameron e Tyler. A participação cada vez mais generalizada do bitcoin deslocou a atenção para longe dos empreendimentos criminosos que usaram o dinheiro digital, mas era um foco na audiência do Senado. No mês passado, o mercado on-line Silk Road, onde o Bitcoin é a principal forma de pagamento, foi fechado e seu fundador preso depois que as autoridades o acusaram de ser usado para comprar e vender drogas, armas e pornografia. O presidente da comissão do Senado, Thomas R. Carper, democrata de Delaware, disse que poucos dias depois da prisão, um site semelhante surgiu. "Pode ser mais difícil de rastrear os criminosos que usam o Bitcoin", policiais disseram na audiência, "porque operam através das fronteiras internacionais e muitas vezes não usam instituições financeiras estabelecidas que reportem as transações”. Mas Mythili Raman, um procurador-geral adjunto do Departamento de Justiça, também disse que, porque cada transação de bitcoin era gravada em um registro público, foi possível aos investigadores rastrear a movimentação de dinheiro entre contas. "Não é, de fato, anônimo. Não está imune a investigação", disse Raman. Todos os funcionários na audiência disseram que crimes tinham sido um problema durante os primeiros dias de cartões de crédito e sistemas de pagamento online como o PayPal, e não deve ser uma razão para limitar a inovação. "É nosso dever, como aplicadores da lei de permanecermos vigilantes, reconhecendo que há muitos usuários legítimos desses serviços", disse Raman. Os defensores do bitcoin que testemunharam na audiência disseram que o bitcoin pode trazer grandes mudanças para o sistema financeiro por cortar os intermediários necessários para movimentar o dinheiro em todo o mundo. "Estou aqui para testemunhar porque eu acredito que a moeda digital global representa uma das inovações técnicas e econômicas mais importantes do nosso tempo", disse Jeremy Allaire, presidente-executivo do Círculo Internet Financial, que está tentando promover uma utilização mais difundida da moeda. Dado o apelo do bitcoin aos céticos do governo, muitos aficionados têm sido cautelosos com envolvimento de Washington. Mas os defensores na audiência disseram que a crescente cooperação com as entidades reguladoras poderiam lançar as bases para um maior crescimento. "À medida que essa tecnologia se desloca de pioneiros para a aceitação popular, é fundamental em minha opinião, que os governos federais e estaduais estabeleçam políticas em torno da moeda digital", disse Allaire. ¹http://dealbook.on.nytimes.com/public/overview?symbol=FIG&inline=nyt-org Traduzido por Sarah Alexandre Uma versão desse artigo aparece na impressão de 19/11/2013, na página B1 da edição do NewYork com o título: “Regulators See Value in Bitcoin, And Investors Hasten to Agree” Texto original em: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/11/18/regulators-see-value-in-bitcoin-and-investors-hasten-to-agree/?_r=0
The Bitcoin Foundation, started in 2012, has three stated goals.Standardize, Protect and Promote. Recently appointed Executive Director, Patrick Murck, outlined his goals for the foundation moving ... 6 Top Responses from Bitcoin Foundation Head Patrick Murck’s Reddit AMA Tanaya Macheel Nov 5, 2014 New Bitcoin Foundation director Patrick Murck engaged the bitcoin community today in an open Q&A. Bitcoin's general counsel Patrick Murck says regulation would be an opportunity missed, ahead of a US meeting to discuss the potential risks and benefits of virtual currencies. Bitcoin News Roundup for July 15, 2020. Adam B. Levine Lyllah Ledesma Jul 15, 2020. As the race for Central Bank Digital Currencies heats up, CoinDesk's Markets Daily is back for your bitcoin news ... In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, the Netherlands where he has set down his anchor to raise a family and write.
Bitcoin regulatory and legal challenges - Coinsumm.it
Recently, the organization Harvard in Tech, the official Harvard alumni group for technology, hosted a panel of experts on bitcoin and the blockchain. We were thrilled to attend the event, where ... Check out our next GSummit event! http://bit.ly/11ZTXxl Learn more about what's going in gamification by reading our blog: http://bit.ly/11ZU2Ry Recorded at ... Neha Narula (DCI director), Patrick Murck (Berkman Klein fellow), and Gary Gensler (former chair of the CFTC, now senior advisor to the DCI) discuss Gary's recent comments on the classification of ... Panel session: regulatory and legal challenges Constance Choi, General Counsel, Payward, Patrick Murck, General Counsel, Bitcoin Foundation, Brian Klein, Baker Marquart LLP Moderated by Marco ... Brief update on a couple of things going on in Bitcoin and Litecoin and some quick charts. 👕I do not take donations, but if you’d like to support the channel, go buy some gear! - http ...