Tag Archives | Bitcoin

Bitcoin and the Ontology of Money

Image representing the decentralised Bitcoin network

Image representing the decentralised Bitcoin network

This was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions.

Money is accordingly a system of mutual trust, and not just any system of mutual trust: money is the most universal and most efficient system of mutual trust ever created.

(Yuval Noah Harari 2011, 180)

Money has long fascinated me, and not for the obvious reasons. Although I’d like to have more of it, my interest is largely philosophical. It is the ontology of money that has always disturbed me. Ever since I was a child, collecting old coins and hoarding my pocket money, I’ve wondered why it is that certain physical tokens can function as money and others cannot. What is money made from? What is it grounded in? Why do certain monetary systems fail and others succeed?

For many years, I set these questions aside, convinced that I had a basic grasp of how they could be answered.… Read the rest

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DEA Agents Investigating Silk Road Embezzled Bitcoin

Cops pilfering criminals’ loot isn’t exactly new, but perhaps it is when the bounty is Bitcoin. From the Guardian:

“French Maid” wasn’t Carl Force’s officially sanctioned darknet alias.

Bitcoin logo.svg

In his capacity as an undercover Drug Enforcement Agency agent, and a senior member of the team investigating the deep-web drug market Silk Road and its owner, Force used the alias “Nob”.

Ross Ulbricht, the founder of Silk Road known then as “Dread Pirate Roberts”, believed Nob to be a drug smuggler operating in the US with criminal underworld connections.

But Force also created “French Maid” and “Death from Above” – separate aliases not sanctioned by his bosses which he used to extort from Ulbricht hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of bitcoin, according to a complaint filed in a US district court in California.

In 2013, after a two-year investigation, the FBI arrested Ulbricht. In February 2015 he was found guilty on charges of money laundering, conspiracy to traffic drugs and attempted purchase of a murder-for-hire.

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Bitcoin, the Digital Deluge and the Seeds of an Open Source Society

IMG_6496It’s all been swept up by the digital deluge: the way we create, consume, socialize, learn, all of it. Yet no matter how much of the analog world seeps into the digital realm, the almighty dollar continues to resist the pixel-y tide. The act of currency creation remains an esoteric, behind-the-scenes process controlled by a few privileged, monocle-clad, suit-wearers with fancy titles and special permissions.


Actually, we do have digital money and it’s called bitcoin. It does work, it’s safe and it’s easy to use. On top of that, for the first time ever, no government, corporation or human being can claim dominion over, control, destroy or create a currency. Bitcoin is decentralized, open source, peer-to-peer, lives completely online and created through a programmatic process.

Practicality wise, you can already buy basically anything using bitcoin and a growing number of merchants, services and corporations are accepting it every day.Read the rest

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A Bot Purchased Illegal Drugs — Who’s to Blame?


When bots break the law, who pays the price?

UPDATE 1/16 via the !Mediengruppe Bitnik blog (the Random Darknet Shopper):

On the morning of January 12, the day after the three-month exhibition was closed, the public prosecutor’s office of St. Gallen seized and sealed our work. It seems, the purpose of the confiscation is to impede an endangerment of third parties through the drugs exhibited by destroying them. This is what we know at present. We believe that the confiscation is an unjustified intervention into freedom of art. We’d also like to thank Kunst Halle St. Gallen for their ongoing support and the wonderful collaboration. Furthermore, we are convinced, that it is an objective of art to shed light on the fringes of society and to pose fundamental contemporary questions.

via Fusion.net:

Maybe it’s a sign that robots are growing up, and thus hitting the rebellious stage.

The Random Darknet Shopper, an automated online shopping bot with a budget of $100 a week in Bitcoin, is programmed to do a very specific task: go to one particular marketplace on the Deep Web and make one random purchase a week with the provided allowance.

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Ransomware Nets $500 Bitcoin Payout From US Sheriff’s Office

Zach Copley (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Zach Copley (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via Coindesk:

A county sheriff’s office in Tennessee paid a $500 ransom in bitcoin after it became the victim of a cyberattack this week.

As reported by Nashville-based WTVF-TV, the Dickson County Sheriff’s Office ran afoul of a bug known as Cryptowall, a derivative of infamous ransomware CryptoLocker.

Cryptowall is a Trojan horse program that, once inside a computer, encrypts its contents and triggers demands for a payment in bitcoin. The firm’s estimates suggest that after being discovered earlier this year, as many as 1,000 computers have been infected.

Detective and sheriff’s office IT director Jeff McCliss told WTVF-TV that a data cache containing sensitive documents, photographs and criminal reports was impacted. Overall, more than 70,000 files were temporarily inaccessible due to the malware infection.

Read More: http://www.coindesk.com/ransomware-bitcoin-payout-sheriffs-office/

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Man Gets NFC Chip Implants in Hands to Store Bitcoin Wallet

Having just read the new William Gibson novel The Peripheral I’m inclined to think that this fellow is only a little bit ahead of his time. Android Authority reports on the man with the Bitcoin hands:

For those of you that aren’t familiar with Bitcoin, it’s currently the biggest cryptocurrency in the world. For safety reasons, users of the currency normally keep the majority of their bitcoins offline, like on an encrypted USB stick or even physically on a piece of paper. In this day and age, keeping as much information as possible offline can (in theory) lessen the chances of it being hacked.

So what’s safer than than encrypted hardware, or even a piece of paper? Why inside your own body of course, which is exactly where one Bitcoin user has injected and stored his currency.

Martijn Wismeijer, a Dutch entrepreneur (and apparently a very avid fan of Bitcoin) has walked around with an NFC chip injected in both of his hands for the past 10 days.

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OpenBazaar: P2P Marketplace to Undermine our Corporate Overlords

Howard Pyle: The Buccaneer (1905)

Howard Pyle: The Buccaneer (1905)

Around the turn of the century, Amazon, eBay and other online marketplaces provided revolutionary new venues for small-business entrepreneurship, but they have since grown into heavy-handed corporate behemoths that treat sellers like share croppers while exerting an ever-expanding influence over government and the economy. In the future, online marketplaces will be publicly shared via distributed p2p networks. There will be no fees, no trade restrictions, no corporate overlords running the show. The concept is gaining traction; the technology is already here.

One promising effort in this direction is OpenBazaar. They hope to offer a full release in 2014, and are currently seeking beta testers:

OpenBazaar is an open source project to create a decentralized network for peer to peer commerce online—using Bitcoin—that has no fees and cannot be censored. Put simply, it’s the baby of eBay and BitTorrent.

Right now, online commerce means using centralized services.… Read the rest

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