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VOLUME 16 | ISSUE 15 2013

[Inside]

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Volume 16 | Issue 15 | 2013

PUBLISHER Jaguar Web Media EDITOR Julius F. Kedvessy COPY EDITOR Michelle Leekam

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PROOF READER Cindy PHOTOGRAPHERS JFK HOSTING National Net GRAPHICS Angela Derasmo PRINTING Get It Done Bindery

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DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS Howling Dogs Enterprises WEB COORDINATOR Sandra J. Kane

6................. BITCOINS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Submissions via U.S. Mail will not be returned unless requested, and accompanied by an S.A.S.E. Fubar Times reserves the right to revise any accompanied material(s) to fit editorial guidelines. Submission implies the work is original. Those submitting bear the responsibility of any copyright infringement.

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The products and services available herein are not to be purchased by minors. The articles and editorials are meant for entertainment purposes only and do not necessarily represent or reflect the opinions of FubarTimes, its affiliates and/or subsidiaries. This publisher in now way offers any recommendation, endorsement or guarantees of any kind in regard to any service, product or person advertised or mentioned within. Therefore, Fubar Times and its publishers may not be held liable or responsible, in any way, for any actions ensuing from advertising. For questions or comments on this publication, please contact us at: 551 ne 28th Court, Pompano Beach, FL 33064.

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Copyright © 2013 No part of this publication may be reproduced with the express written permission of its publisher(s). The publisher(s) reserve the right to refuse any advertisement or submission for any reason, including, but not limited to, content or design, with no further responsibility beyond a refund of any payments made. The publishers assume no responsibility for errors and/or omissions, or inability to publish due to mistake, or any other reason caused or suffered by themselves or their sub-contractors. Such an occurrence will not constitute a breach of any contract and the publisher will be liable for only the price of the ad space and may, at their option, run a“make good”ad of the same size in a subsequent issue. No right to discount or credit will be given. The advertiser is solely responsible for ad content and photos, and/orartwork submitted for their advertisement and shall indemnify and hold harmless the publisher from and against any legal actions resulting from statements, photos or artwork run in their ad due to copyright or trademark infringement, lack of proper releases, slander, libel, unfair trade practices, etc. The advertiser also assumes and takes full responsibility for keeping all records as to the age and identity of all models in submitted photos, as required by law, and providing that all models are 18 years of age or older. To contact Fubar Times, or to send questions, comments and submissions, write to: Fubar, 551 N.E. 28th Court, Pompano Beach, FL 33064

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BITCOIN | WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

BITCOIN | WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW tral market for Bitcoin to peg the price, so each is literally worth whatever someone else will pay for it. MTGOX has become an exchange of sorts for Bitcoin but the rates being listed can be thought of best as suggested values. In the last 6 months the values on MTGOX have skyrocketed well over $200 each and plummeted back down around the $50 mark. Worse than that, 8% to 10% rises and falls during the course of a single day are not uncommon. So, while your Bitcoin is unlikely to be hacked or stolen, the value of it can be wildly different from moment to moment of any given timeframe.

BitCoin

The Bitcoin phenomenon has created very passionate viewpoints in people as they quickly sort themselves into Team Bitcoin and Team Global Financial System for debates on industry message boards about the viability of a new form of digital currency that has no central backing or governmental tracking. Some speak of the chance to create a thriving cash economy online, while others note that powerful players have a primary interest in preventing this seemingly untaxable currency from becoming accepted by a mainstream audience. However, many webmasters are in the middle, unsure of exactly how this will all shake out so FubarTimes asked webmasters in the know for their views about where Bitcoin and put together this guide of what you need to know most.

What You Need To Know

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HOW SAFE IS BIT COIN?

Initial reports about Bitcoin all included a caveat about how the entire currency system would eventually be hacked by someone smart enough to crack the code and either mine most of the currency or steal currency already allocated to others. However, now that Bitcoin has been around a while it seems clear that has not happened, and wont happen any time soon. Noted data security researcher Dan Kaminsky wrote an entire article about his failed attempts to hack Bitcoin for Businessinsider.com. That’s the same Dan Kaminsky best known for finding a critical flaw in the internet’s Domain Name System (DNS) and leading the largest synchronized fix to the internet’s infrastructure since it first began. He is also the American representative of the seven Recovery Key Shareholders who possess the ability to restore the DNS root keys - so with credentials that impeccable, his declaration that Bitcoin is safe for now from a hacking standpoint carries a lot of weight. What was less discussed at the onset but has become the central focus lately is a different kind of insecurity. The price volatility of Bitcoin has been staggering. First, there is no cen-

Initially Bitcoin was intended to be ‘mined’ by independent people who would build and operate their own computer ‘mining rigs’ to crunch numbers until one managed to ‘mine’ a Bitcoin successfully, starting the computational contest all over again. This worked much like a lottery where everyone had a relatively small chance to win the next Bitcoin by mining it. In an effort to improve the odds, just as with lotteries, smart players started to form syndicates where they would all mine together and whatever percentage of the total effort they invested, would result in a value equal to that percentage of all Bitcoins that the syndicate won over a period if time. In other

HOW DOES BITCOIN DERIVE VALUE?

Diamonds, Gold, Oil and other precious resources have been valued by humans for centuries. Their value has always been driven by objective characteristics including scarcity and properties of the materials themselves like conductivity or combustibility. However, in order to create a viable economy with liquidity and the ability to foster trade, humans moved away from bartering one resource for another and created fiat currencies like the Dollar to represent the value of those resources. Initially the Dollar was tied to the gold standard and each Dollar was meant to represent a specific amount of gold in the national treasury. That value was changed artificially a few times but in 1971 President Nixon detached the US Dollar from the gold standard completely. That move begs the question, why is a Dollar worth anything at this point if it is not directly backed by a resource of intrinsic value? The answer is that the Dollar has value because the US government says it has value and others agree to abide by that value. This may sound childish or fictional but each dollar in your pocket is objectively worth no more than the paper and ink printed on it. In fact, many US coins are worth more in metal

...when asked what gives a Bitcoin any value at all, the Bitcoin fanboys are quick to point out they have the same intrinsic value as any other currency. words, rather than going it alone with a tiny chance to win, miners were soon putting in 14 or 17 percent of the effort for a group and getting back that same percentage of all the Bitcoins won by the much larger mining operation. These ‘mining pools’ as they became known, quickly dominated the overall mining effort with BTC Guild becoming the largest of them all. At one point BTC Guild controlled 50% of all mining work being done and even today they still represent one third of the total mining effort.

According to the http://blockchain.info/pools chart, less than 15% of all mining is now done by unknown groups or independent miners. That means right at the source of Bitcoin creation, the initial resources are being consolidated into the hands of very few players who can then impact price by holding or releasing new currency into the marketplace much the way De Beers has long manipulated the diamond markets according to the allegations of diamond industry watchdogs.

value than their face value and the US Treasury had to go so far as to get laws enacted to make it illegal for anyone to smelt US coins into base metals for the purpose of profiting from the process to prevent refineries from cashing in millions of nickels for more than five cents each. So, when asked what gives a Bitcoin any value at all, the Bitcoin fanboys are quick to point out they have the same intrinsic value as any other currency. Since the dollar has no objective value, it should not matter that a series of numbers representing one Bitcoin also has no intrinsic value. The point being missed is that the US Dollar is something that massive economic powers, including entire nations and huge global banking conglomerates, have a vested interest in maintaining. The United States has the most powerful military ever assembled in human history and strong diplomatic ties to the organizations that set the subjective value of the dollar or modify monetary policy. On the other hand, Bitcoin has ‘people who want to avoid that powerful financial machine’ as its primary backers - with no military, no centralized authority and no connection to the

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BITCOIN | WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW macroeconomic systems that provide reliability for a modern currency system. Put simply, while the Dollar may not need to be backed by any specific resource because it now represents the work product of 300 million people in the context of a global economic framework, Bitcoin’s lack of any real resource backing means it will only ever be worth whatever people who use Bitcoin can agree it is worth. The fact that those people tend to be the disenfranchised already coupled with the fact that most Bitcoins are being mined by a very small handful of mining pools suggests that while Bitcoins are secure, their value is not.

I S B I T CO I N H E R E T O S T A Y ?

Left on its own, Bitcoin already has a large enough following and easy enough system of engagement to be around for quite a while if not forever. Without a doubt, the biggest reason Bitcoin has gained popularity and notoriety so quickly comes from the failures of the traditional banking system in recent years. Frustration with the traditional banking system is the primary fuel for all of Bitcoin’s existence.

BITCOIN | WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW lion dollars in allegedly criminal proceeds over the past seven years. Arthur Budovsky, a 39-year-old Ukrainian native who moved to Costa Rica to start the business was arrested in Spain as part of a global law enforcement action undertaken by government officials who claim LibertyReserve.com has been used for ‘facilitating a broad range of online criminal activity, including credit card fraud, identity theft, investment fraud, computer hacking, child pornography, and narcotics trafficking.’ While the claims of the government have not yet been proven, it seems clear at the vety least that not every transaction through the system was for illegal purposes. Many saw it as a cheaper, more secure and private alternative to mainstream systems like PayPal. Liberty Reserve charged only a 1% fee and a 75 cent “privacy fee” according to court documents, making it a much less expensive way to transfer funds than Paypal which charges triple that amount.

A very large segment of society is fed up with bailing out banks that are too big to fail, having countries like Cyprus make unilateral decisions that cost people billions of dollars in sudden taxation, navigating the seemingly arbitrary enforcement of capricious policy changes by Paypal, and constant application of high fees on wire transfers and other transactions by banks that amount to little more than ‘you were charged a fee because we can.‘ The list of financial ailments and banking grievances has become a long and painful one for many consumers.

Recentl, a lesser-known alternative currency was crushed by the US Government when federal law enforcement seized LibertyReserve.com. According to the government it was little more than a financial hub of cyber-crime processing more than 6 bil-

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Perhaps even more telling, JPMorgan Chase, the biggest of the banks too big to fail, recently launched its own alternative currency system called Chase Quickpay. The system allows any US entity to send funds to the email address of any other US entity as long as one or the other has an account with Chase. The system essentially copies the Paypal model with two important differences. First, it only works within the United States and secondly, Chase is currently charging absolutely zero fees for the service! That’s right, it’s entirely free to send money directly to any email address in the United States and yet most people don’t even know the system exists. Some have said the Chase Quickpay zero fee schedule is likely to rise over time. Others claim it is a loss leader intended to allow Chase to capture market share from Paypal and acquire new accounts from other banks as consumers learn of the free service via payments from other Chase customers. Still, a third angle raised by some suggests that Chase is only offering the new alternative payment platform everyone has been seeking in terms of simplicity, reliability and reduced cost as a method of isolating targets for future audit or prosecution. According to their logic, if Chase is letting people move money around for free with complete security, other than avoiding taxes or paying for illegal activities, why would anyone ever choose Bitcoin as an alternative? Notice the way the IRS recently targeted certain groups based solely on political leanings. Watch the way the US government has accessed literally every communication through telecom giants and online platforms via the Prism operation. Pay attention to the consolidation of law enforcement and tax policy everywhere from Cyprus stealing funds based on pressure from the EU to New Zealand cutting Kim Dotcom out of his safe room at the request of US anti-piracy officials. It becomes pretty easy to see that the better Bitcoin works, the safer and more reliable it proves to be, and the bigger a threat it develops into... the less likely it will be allowed to exist by trillion dollar interests who all favor the status quo - often at the expense of any technological progress or even the direct will of the people.

However, even as those failings have spawned many ‘alternative methods’ of dealing with moving money digitally, in many cases it is precisely those same corporate interests who co-opt the new alternatives. Paypal for example, was initially created to fill a void left open by huge banking interests but later became a division of those same entities when eBay famously bought them out for 1.5 Billion dollars in 2002. Other alternatives met their own demise without help from the establishment, like the infamous shutdown of ePassporte that many webmasters are all too familiar with from just a few years ago. Ironically the biggest risk facing Bitcoin isn’t a flaw in the mining system, hackable code, volatility of value or a lack of any resources backing it. The much more important danger is the one presented by governments and corporations who have a financial interest in making sure Bitcoin fails.

parently the fact that Bitcoin ‘could’ be used for illegal purposes is now enough for many to conclude it ‘will’ be used to avoid taxes, fund illegal transactions and promote everything from illicit drug trade to terrorism.

S O U R CE S

http://krebsonsecurity.com/2013/05/u-s-government-seizes-libertyreserve-com/ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22680297

http://krebsonsecurity.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Liberty-Reserve-et-al.-Indictment.pdf

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-0...onspiracy.html

That of course didn’t stop the mainstream corporate media from drawing ties from Liberty Reserve to Bitcoin and laying the foundation of what may become a future action by government officials to squelch the impact of Bitcoin on a global scale. Outlets from Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal to CNBC, The Washington Post, the BBC and International Business Times all quickly ran stories about the Liberty Reserve closure and made mention of Bitcoin as the next potential target. Ap-

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...238052256.html http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/1...ring-case.html http://www.cnbc.com/id/100769961

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...-bitcoin-next/ http://www.ibtimes.com/liberty-reser...dovsky-1281369

http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/05/lets-cut-through-the-bitcoin-hype/ https://medium.com/money-banking/2b5ef79482cb

http://www.businessinsider.com/dan-kaminsky-highlights-flaws-bitcoin-2013-4 http://blockchain.info/pools


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FUBAR Times issue 31  

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