Bitcoin and crime

As many of you know we had a tragedy in the extended Cat family with Aliice’s 21-year old son dying in November. Daniel died after consuming a product he had bought over the internet using Bitcoin. The death of a child must be every parent’s worst nightmare.

Aliice - Daniel

As part of a long exchange of emails, this is what I said the Aliice:

Here is the thing; your son isn’t dead because he paid for drugs using bitcoin; he is dead because he overdosed on drugs. The notion that drugs trade in a free market is simply wrong. Those sorts of drugs are illegal – that is the greatest form of intervention government has at its disposal.

So be angry – but primarily be angry with your son, with the people who sold him the stuff that killed him, with his friends who didn’t do enough to save him.

Professor Bunyip has had experience with this very situation.

… over the next 15 years the Professor became a polished hand at delivering eulogies, which is quite the art. There you are at the lectern, dead cobber stretched out before you in a pine box, and his mom staring from the front pew with that peculiar eye. They all had it, all the grieving mums, the look that said, ‘Why didn’t you stop him? Why didn’t you do something?’ Instead,rather than make a show of squirming, you would vamp and try to recall the sunbeams in a life gone dark – the day you snagged your first trout with his borrowed rod, for instance, and how good it tasted – and babble on with pap and crap until it was time for the organ music to kick back in. After that, off to the cemetery and more cold burns from a mother’s eyes. Did you help him score, they wanted to know? It was the question that could never be asked out loud, not with any hope of a truthful answer.

Young Daniel probably died from the impurities in the drug that he consumed. To my mind that is an argument for legalisation and then reputable companies with quality control standards manufacturing and distributing recreational drugs. Here I make that argument in the context of plain packaging:

The argument seems to be that all cigarettes are equally bad for you. But that isn’t true. Some cigarettes are worse – illegal tobacco has worse health indicators than legal tobacco.

There are other arguments for and against recreational drugs – I suspect they will be aired in the comments.

In the meantime Aliice is organising a petition to restrict the use of Bitcoin.

I’ve started the petition “Tony Abbott: Stop all our banks accommodating BITCOIN transactions.” and need your help to get it off the ground.

Will you take 30 seconds to sign it right now? Here’s the link:

http://www.change.org/petitions/tony-abbott-stop-all-our-banks-accommodating-bitcoin-transactions

Here’s why it’s important:

Please stop BITCOIN in Australia because our youth are using this method to buy drugs from online sites across the globe. The drug sellers are mushrooming becausing BITCOIN is operating a tumbler style of making the ultimate recipient of the drug money untraceable. Our children are dying. Children in the US are dying. Please support this petition because I have just lost my twenty one year old son to the online drug trade. Its not the little fish the police need to go after. First stop BITCOIN from hiding these criminals. Make it illegal for any Australian financial institution to deal with BITCOIN accounts. Without the might and IT expertise of BITCOIN these criminals who despatch toxic substances can not hide themselves. The beautiful kind hearted boy in this photo has died before he should have. This petition has been written by his mother.

You can sign my petition by clicking here.

Thanks!

I am not convinced that Bitcoin facilitates crime per se. That is just my view – readers may agree with Aliice. If so, give some thought to her petition.

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216 Responses to Bitcoin and crime

  1. incoherent rambler

    If the banks stopped gouging on exchange rates and charges on international transfers then bitcoin would find it hard to compete. I suspect that bitcoin (and the likes of it) will continue to rise. I know (only) two bitcoin traders. One claims a 7 fold return in 3 months, the other claims 20 fold return in 5 months.

  2. Helen

    He is beautiful, Aliice. So sorry my Dear.

  3. dd

    Aliice, I’m really sorry to hear about what happened to your son.
    Any differences of opinion we have about anything, bitcoin, drug legalisation, or whatever else, are separate from the fact that my heart goes out to you.

  4. mareeS

    What’s bitcoin?

    I know about the old drugs like heroin, because my youngest brother and his girl were heroin fiends. She’s dead, he’s a Hare Krishna, and there are 6 kids (all clean).

    Our kids and all of their cousins (26 at last count) have a very bad attitude to drugs because of my brother and his dead wife, and the legacy it left to their cousins. Dead druggo parents are not a good start in life for young children.

    Lots of young people pop pills and smoke stuff, but lots of young people don’t do that.

  5. C.L.

    If we accept the licitness of Bitcoin-purchased drugs, we must also insist that those who sell deliberately impure versions are publicly flogged with a ratan.

    I’m not joking.

    A beautiful young man, indeed, Helen.

    My heart goes out to you, Alice.

  6. nilk, Iron Bogan

    Oh, Aliice, I am so sorry for your loss. It truly is a tragedy.

  7. JC

    Sinc

    I made the same/similar arguments to Alice about a week ago and but she told me to “fuck off”. And yes, I had extended my condolences to her about her loss some time well before this encounter.

    As I told Alice in the “fuck off “episode”. If people weren’t using Bitcoin and doing deals though the internet for drugs they would simply buy them from suppliers face to face. The suppliers will accommodate their customers.

    Banning Bitcoin would simply create the opportunity for buyers and sellers to meet some other way. Unfortunately alice has it in her head that banning Bitcoin will change that, but I’m not going to try and change her mind.

  8. kae

    A beautiful child.

    A parent should never need to bury a child, no matter what the circumstances.

  9. candy

    Bitcoin are indirectly responsible for deaths.

    I’ve signed Aliice, hope Tony Abbott can give it due consideration.

  10. JC

    Bitcoin are indirectly responsible for deaths.

    So if the transaction was on a street corner you would be blaming plain old cash as also being indirectly responsible?

  11. .

    Bitcoin exists because people don’t trust the Government with their money.

    Look at what happened in Cyrpus.

    Lives can be saved if there wasn’t a punishment for drug use and pill testing kits were available without arousing suspicion or surveillance from the police.

    Poor Alice. I can’t imagine her loss.

    Even if her petition got up, I don’t think it would have any effect. Abbott can’t stop me using my bank to transfer to PayPal then BTC, for example.

  12. Motelier

    I have read a little about Bitcoin, and, I still have a lot to read and learn about it.

    My understanding of it is limited to lack of knowledge.

    However, while my heart bleeds for anyone that looses a son or daughter, I am not sure Bitcoin controls are the answer.

    Young adults die in car accidents, and those responsible put controls on motor vehicle access to the young, but the motor vehicle is not banned from society.

    It could be said that gold is used to finance wars, but gold is not banned.

    Aliice, as a parent my bleeds for you, but a rational debate about drugs in society needs to be carried out urgently, and, include the the means of finance by all means! but do not limit any debate to just one means of exchanging funds.

  13. nanuestalker

    Anyone who believe the crap that bitcoin is the problem is a fool

  14. JC

    Even if her petition got up, I don’t think it would have any effect. Abbott can’t stop me using my bank to transfer to PayPal then BTC, for example.

    ‘Sactly, that cat is well and truly jumped out of the bag. Alice isn’t thinking straight on this one and who can blame her of course.

    Follow the sequence. How eggsactly is the government going to prevent people from using Bitcoin or even owning it. Are they going to ban transactions on the internet exchanges that are out of our domicile? How? Are they going to introduce exchange controls? Really? Are they going to ban Paypal from exchanging aussie dollars being remitted to a bit coin seller?

    The government can’t.

    The only government or governments which could clamp down on it of course is the US government and the EU and even there I have my doubts.

    In any event the use of Bitcoin for a drug trade is already illegal and a fat lot of good that did.

  15. Infidel Tiger

    Banning bitcoin will be as effective as banning drugs.

  16. Jazza

    Oh Aliice I am soo sorry for your loss.
    It is not nature’s way to bury one of your children so young.’May God Bless you and yours in this time of awful grief. My only daughter has had six children in two marriages,and the fifth one, a girl a beautiful Lily, was raped and shot in the head in India by a drunk with form for GBH. She was almost 17.My daughter copes still by deliberately not thinking about Lily,as she says to remember her during work hours would just see her crumble and be useless,the pain is so deep.
    I can recall the horror of the phone call from a crying grandie to tell me the dreadful news,so I know some of what you are trying to deal with
    Again –May God and his Angels watch over you all.

  17. JohnA

    I am sorry for you Aliice, and I have a brother who did drugs, who is still affected by that legacy (some of his brain cells don’t exist anymore).

    But banning bitcoin is an ineffective attempt to shoot one of the messengers. Are we to also ban the internet because pushers make contacts online? Phones because they call their customers up?

    I believe the war on drugs should be prosecuted more vigorously, and pushers should be handed the death penalty. Harm minimisation and legalisation policies admit defeat, and young people will still die. We have enough trouble with the legal drugs nicotine and alcohol without adding more.

    We also need to tackle whatever it is that drives some young people to seek a solution to life’s problems in drugs (whether licit or not, alcohol, heroin, valium or ice). Why do they seem to lack hope for the future? Why do they seek thrills this way?

  18. JC

    Can I just say something here without meaning to offend. I always find it a little concerning when a moral crusade develops as a result of an unfortunate loss of life and the person or people using the death are doing so with unquestionable moral authority. Meanwhile the rest of us are supposed to be subjugated by this supreme moral authority.

    Nope, not buying it. I still hope to continue living in a rational world.

  19. Tel

    Banning bitcoin will be as effective as banning drugs.

    True, but given their track record they will ban bitcoin for sure. A few sob stories, a bit of negative press, a poll and then put through the ban. What happens after is anyone’s guess, but the purpose of government is to be seen taking action, not to actually achieve anything.

  20. Mrs Beardsley

    Aliice, may I pass my condolences as well. My own sister died in dreadful circumstances over thirty years ago. I watched as my mother went grey inside a week, during which she had to choose which dress would be used for the wake (open coffin). She will never be forgotten. Always loved. And ever my sister.

    Your son died well too soon.

    :-(

  21. Woolfe

    So so sorry for your loss Aliice. Can’t imagine what you are going through.

  22. Tel

    Harm minimisation and legalisation policies admit defeat, and young people will still die.

    As opposed to not admitting defeat, in which case you might have noticed that drugs are everywhere in our society (both legal and illegal) and the War on Drugs just continues to pump money into the pockets of the least deserving.

    The defeat is there for all to see, admit it or bury your head, your choice.

  23. Chris M

    Terribly sad for Alice, my sympathies.

    The moment a person takes that first hallucinogenic pill or injection they have accepted the likelihood of an early death. Personally I like some of the Asian countries laws where dealers are treated as the mass-murderers that they are and are executed. I don’t think attempting to restrict bitcoin would have any effect at all.

    I have three friend who are former drug addicts, two had a life of crime and one of those did a stint in prison (and he is young). Each of them became Christians and their addiction ceased immediately the moment they were saved, for the first time they experienced true peace and freedom from the soul destroying power of addiction. They are family men now and you would never know their past if you met them.

    Galatian 5v22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, fidelity, meekness, self-control”

  24. JC

    Personally I like some of the Asian countries laws where dealers are treated as the mass-murderers that they are and are executed.

    You realize that most dealers are also big time users and selling stuff in order to pay for the habit. They are not mass murderers in the least for the most part.

  25. Makka

    Aliice,

    May God Bless and care for your handsome son. I can’t imagine your loss. My condolences to you and your family. Take Care of yourself.

  26. AH

    If drug sales were above board, then the vendor would be sued for selling a product that caused harm. This would regulate the system and stop reputable businesses selling harmful drugs.

    Bitcoin itself is glorious, glorious, glorious. It facilitates a free, non-coercive, monetary system.

  27. AH

    Banning bitcoin is like banning money because people might buy something bad.

    Same as banning speech because people might say something bad.

  28. AH

    Or banning free will because people might make bad choices…

  29. Chris M

    You realize that most dealers are also big time users and selling stuff in order to pay for the habit. They are not mass murderers in the least for the most part.

    They are mass murderers of the worst kind, doing it purely for self gain. Absolutely they deserve the death penalty and if they are users also as I said they would already know an early death awaits. That’s the price of the high.

  30. Infidel Tiger

    Personally I like some of the Asian countries laws where dealers are treated as the mass-murderers that they are and are executed.

    That would probably work. However, what is wrong with taking drugs? 99% of the people who do so live ordinary suburban lives.

  31. Makka

    I am and have always been in favour of legalizing drugs . For the reasons Sinc has explained but more too. There is an enormous amount of violent and life altering crime associated with drugs. Much of it committed against weak innocents as people go animal to source money for their drug needs. Home invasions, violent attacks, theft, vicious assaults often on the weakest in our community, businesses regularly attacked where young workers are injured or even killed. People getting quietly and lwafully about their lives then suddenly, viciously and violently put apon by cowardly scum looking to for money to score drugs.

    The costs of managing this situation are simply enormous. The war on drugs was the biggest boom to the assholes who trade in this misery , ever. The whole chain of illicit drugs make huge profits, at the enormous cost to the taxpayer. For what? Legalizing and controlling the restricted and tightly legislated distribution of recreational drugs would save untold Billions of dollars and no doubt thousands apon thousands of ruined lives. How simple would this be with modern technology?

    I can only assume that the current abhorrent situation suites certain elites quite well because it’s abundantly clear that status quo on illicit drugs is entirely fkd up beyond belief. It’s a disgrace and truly, an enormous waste in human lives and money.

  32. Craig Mc

    I can only imagine the horror. My sympathies to Alice.

    However, banning BitCoin because of this tragedy makes no more sense than trying to ban cash. Look somewhere else for a solution.

  33. JC

    ChrisM

    Get in line. There are far more deserving of the death penalty than mere drug dealers. Start with the Greens first and their aligned groups and NGO’s. They are far, far more evil.

    it was reported that 31,000 died in Europe as a result of the cold weather and people unable to afford heating. The perps who caused this crime against humanity would be far more deserving.

  34. duncanm

    Aliice,

    he looked like a beautiful boy. I hope you are remembering all the love and good times you shared.

    I’m afraid banning bitcoin exchange in Australia isn’t going to help one iota. You’d have to ban it world wide, otherwise there’d just be a bitcoin-foreign-aus$ exchange route.

    That being said, I’m with AH. Bitcoin is just a form of goods exchange. The focus should be on the vendors.

  35. C.L.

    Personally I like some of the Asian countries laws where dealers are treated as the mass-murderers that they are and are executed.

    So you’d support the execution of hoteliers too?

    Because alcohol in this country is the biggest killer by a country mile.

    Make that 100 country miles.

    Nothing else comes close.

  36. thefrollickingmole

    I do have a lot of sympathy for the “legalize it” side of things..BUT

    Any substance that produces a feeling so “wonderful” that a 15 year old girl will let herself be pimped out to 40+ men a day for it needs a lot of caution.. Ive known a few girls who have gone down that path, 2 who were lucky enough to get out of it.
    If it was legally available the same perverts who deliberately target youngsters would continue to do so, with slightly less risk to themselves. In most of the cases I know personally the girl was deliberately seduced/drugged then pimped out, this wont change for underage users (who are th preferred targets).
    So legalizing of “safe” drugs, but how do you legalize the heavy hitters without the downside?

    Bitcoin made the purchase easier, if he used silk road then he was effectively buying from a “reputable” dealer, while having great sympathy for the boys family the bitcoin was just money by another name.

  37. JC

    So you’d support the execution of hoteliers too?

    Watch Stevie quickly dump the keg he was latching onto the bar hose and respond He hates this sorta talk. Funnily enough I’d bet he’d be on the side of killing the dealers self oblivious of course.

    It won’t be pretty.

  38. Makka

    “Start with the Greens first and their aligned groups and NGO’s. They are far, far more evil.”

    This is so true. They are our clear and present evil, in every sense. These cretins use the State to do their murdering for them. Govt’s should hang their heads in abject shame on account of the many who die or remain impoverished due to their toxic factless dogma. This northern winter alone many thousands will again freeze to death because they cannot afford the high cost of energy to keep themselves warm , in a cooling world. The Green/Left are the modern version of Nazism and Stalinism. They were evil then, just as the GreenLeft are evil now.

  39. Gerry

    Drugs can be use once off (to see what it’s like), occasionally to heighten senses during good times (recreationally), to deal with difficult emotions, to ward off withdrawals or to self harm…..drugs are drugs …there is recreational use of drugs but not recreational drugs …using certain drugs is not an an alternative to darts and table tennis ….

  40. JC

    It’s a bit too long for a liberty quote Makka. But it ought to be up there.

  41. Gerry

    Drugs can be used once off (to see what it’s like), occasionally to heighten senses during good times (recreationally), to deal with difficult emotions, to ward off withdrawals or to self harm…..drugs are drugs …there is recreational use of drugs but not recreational drugs …using certain drugs is not an an alternative to darts and table tennis ….

  42. MT Isa Miner

    Aliice, I can’t imagine the despair in your heart. I am very sorry.

  43. Megan

    So very sorry Aliice. Using your grief and anger to try and change things is as good a way as any of trying to cope with such an immeasurable loss.

    But, sadly, as so many have already said, bitcoin is not the problem. Your beautiful boy is not the first and he will not be the last to die because of drugs. They all think they are invincible and that the inevitable will not happen to them. It would be more useful to try and figure out why some people understand the potential consequences and others just do not.

  44. Tel

    So legalizing of “safe” drugs, but how do you legalize the heavy hitters without the downside?

    My personal preference would be to legalize just home grow: cannabis, coca leaves, and opium poppies for self consumption. Don’t legalize trade, and don’t legalize derivative drugs like hash, cocaine and heroin. Of course, people will trade anyhow (as they are doing right now) but the price will be significantly lower because lots of regular folks will be happy to grow a bit of weed themselves now and then and stay out of the trade, thus keeping away from career criminals. It isn’t the perfect answer but no one promised a perfect world, it’s a lot better than where we are now.

  45. Jannie

    My deepest sympathies to Aliice. May God bring you peace.

    Banning stuff will not bring back Daniel, it will only strengthen the underground and put more people at risk. You will put other people’s children at risk by this course of action.

    The prohibition model creates the most efficient and profitable criminal networks and leads to greater death and destruction, while certain vested interests rake in the profits. They exploit the people they claim they are protecting. Its simple economics amply demonstrated by real world evidence.

    You cannot protect your children forever, I speak from personal experience. Boys will always take risks, its normal. They dont understand the consequences, and they dont even begin to understand until they are made responsible for their own actions.

  46. candy

    Bitcoin exchange might be used to purchase other illegal things like child pornography and certain weapons. I don’t understand if sellers can be identified with that either or if that is widespread too.

  47. thefrollickingmole

    Tel

    Your position is fairly close to mine, though i do have to keep reminding myself of 2 things to keep my inner statist in check.

    1: I have no right to tell other people what to do with their own bodies as long as they bear the costs/consequences and innocent parties arent affected.
    2: All the negatives I think of are almost all already illegal (ie: selling your legal drugs to minors etc), and crims wont magically stop disregarding lawseven if they get 90% of what they want legalized.

    My thinking is still in flux on drugs, but I do know no good laws ever started with “think of the children”..

  48. thefrollickingmole

    candy

    Lets not forget the governments main concern with bitcoin, its not taxed.

  49. Jannie

    The question of Drugs sure seems to separate libertarians from authoritarians. It really surprises me that there are so many authoritarian posters here. It puzzzles me how people can support economic freedom while fixing to deprive others of their personal freedoms. I reckon banning stuff leads to irresponsible behaviour.

  50. Alfonso

    Seat belts, drugs all the same enforcement.
    If you can truly bear and be held accountable for the full cost of easily avoidable trauma and long term neurological care you should indeed have a dispensation for no seat belt use.

  51. Sinclair Davidson

    Bitcoin exchange might be used to purchase other illegal things like child pornography and certain weapons.

    This is true for any medium of exchange.

  52. duncanm

    Lets not forget the governments main concern with bitcoin, its not taxed.

    this.

    Governments will find any excuse to shut it down, because they have no control over it.

  53. Chris M

    Lets not forget the governments main concern with bitcoin, its not taxed.

    Yes, not taxed or regulated is a problem for governments.

    But I read somewhere that the TOR browser was an offshoot of a US government project and that indeed the whole ‘underground web’ thing where people use the TOR browser to buy illegal stuff was another government project. Anyone know if this is true? Is it another NSA type experiment “gone wrong” like fast & furious etc?

  54. JohnA

    Makka #1124973, posted on December 27, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    The costs of managing this situation are simply enormous. The war on drugs was the biggest boom to the assholes who trade in this misery , ever. The whole chain of illicit drugs make huge profits, at the enormous cost to the taxpayer. For what? Legalizing and controlling the restricted and tightly legislated distribution of recreational drugs would save untold Billions of dollars and no doubt thousands apon thousands of ruined lives. How simple would this be with modern technology?

    The net result will be that most of the social costs will remain (some of the law enforcement will be replaced by regulation and inspection/certification), there will probably be a black market as there is for tobacco, and the profits will remain in private hands.

    So economically legalising will not save us much at all: we will have privatised the profits and socialised the losses.

  55. candy

    This is true for any medium of exchange.

    But it’s the anonymity that facilitates the illegal activity, as Aliice alludes to, Without the might and IT expertise of BITCOIN these criminals who despatch toxic substances can not hide themselves.

  56. Infidel Tiger

    How do trace someone who pays cash Candy?

    The US dollar is used for more drug and arm trades than any other medium.

  57. JohnA

    C.L. #1124981, posted on December 27, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Personally I like some of the Asian countries laws where dealers are treated as the mass-murderers that they are and are executed.

    So you’d support the execution of hoteliers too?

    Because alcohol in this country is the biggest killer by a country mile.

    Make that 100 country miles.

    Nothing else comes close.

    If alcohol was already illegal, we could probably argue the rights and wrongs of this along the same lines. For now we are nowhere near moving community opinion in that direction.

  58. wreckage

    Bitcoin exchange might be used to purchase other illegal things like child pornography and certain weapons.

    Any form of exchange can. The difference is that internet transactions potentially leave a far better trail of indirect evidence, and better yet, it is far, far easier for an outsider (read: cop) to infiltrate. Let criminals use the net. It makes them easier to catch.

    Aliice, I can’t even imagine your pain. I have two kids. But you have to stay strong because there are other people who love you. Survive this, Aliice. That’s all. Just survive it.

  59. wreckage

    privatised the profits and socialised the losses.

    I’m agnostic on the subject, emotionally I want the bastards shut down…. but logically, isn’t what you wrote here EXACTLY the current situation???

  60. AH

    The way to regulate drugs is to remove all legislation around them and allow the free market to regulate them.

    Yes, bad things might happen.

  61. wreckage

    Look, any freedom can be stated and then followed with “and if the criminals couldn’t do that, they couldn’t ruin lives!” property rights, freedom of association and movement, freedom of speech and of thought and of religion. Can’t own, can’t have a lab. Can’t move, can’t ferry drugs. Can’t speak, can’t spruik. Can’t leave the moral strictures of the State Church, can’t sin. Can’t think wrong (eg., hateful) thoughts, can’t want wrong things.

    But let’s look at the facts: more authoritarian countries don’t have less crime. They have more. The USSR turned into a cess-pit under near-total criminal rule, despite having a massively powerful and violent government that restricted everything. People couldn’t move between locations to transport drugs. People couldn’t personally own property to set up labs. People theoretically had only their allotted ration of money and goods and so could not trade for drugs. The entire monetary and market system was controlled. Surveillance was total, punishment swift and brutal.

    And crime ballooned. Instead of hampering criminals, it made them kings. Nearly the entire economy was black market, and therefore criminals controlled nearly the entire economy. Corruption was all-pervasive. The violent thugs such a system required in positions of power gravitated naturally to the violent thugs it bred in its belly, and created a horrific amalgam of government power and organized crime.

  62. Ellen of Tasmania

    Alice, I am so very sorry for you and your family and the loss of your precious son. I’m sure all of us, when we come up against such horrors, want to be able to do something to ease our own pain and stop others from experiencing the same. It helps to ease that sense of complete helplessness in the face of tragedy.

    I hope you can understand why many of us can’t support you in your campaign against Bitcoin. I don’t want young people to die because of drugs. But bitcoins, like any other means of exchange, are not the problem. The problem lies within us. I understand your motives, but believe you are targeting the wrong thing. The real cause is much harder to tackle.

    Please accept my deepest condolences.

  63. steve

    I suppose this is no time for a conversation on personal choice

  64. ChrisPer

    Just out of curiosity, would this bitcoin transaction have STARTED using real money? Ie would this beautiful boy have taken some hundreds of dollars and bought bitcoins with it?

  65. 'S

    RE Tor
    It was originally developed to help dissidents in authoritarian countries

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tor_(anonymity_network)

    FWIW I’m gonna put myself firmly in the authoritarian camp – RE legislation

  66. Makka

    “So economically legalising will not save us much at all: we will have privatised the profits and socialised the losses.”

    Policing /Enforcement, Customs , Public Service, Administration and judiciary, damaged and ruined lives, security precautions, medical costs – all high costs and burdens borne by taxpayers and innocents which would disappear or be vastly minimized if rec drugs were legalized. Yes, let the profits be privatized for the benefits of huge public savings. Bring it on.

  67. Tel

    And crime ballooned. Instead of hampering criminals, it made them kings. Nearly the entire economy was black market, and therefore criminals controlled nearly the entire economy. Corruption was all-pervasive. The violent thugs such a system required in positions of power gravitated naturally to the violent thugs it bred in its belly, and created a horrific amalgam of government power and organized crime.

    In the sort of environment where there’s a death quota, you have the choice of making up a story to get your neighbour executed or else doing nothing and your neighbour will make up a story to get you executed. By definition, only the corrupt survive those situations, the honest and hard working don’t stand a chance.

  68. Motelier

    Makka,

    this is all part of the debate that has to be had.

  69. Tel

    The US dollar is used for more drug and arm trades than any other medium.

    I heard that most of the dealers preferred Euros these days. Don’t have any first hand data on that.

  70. JC

    Tel

    The reason the Euro has gained a decent share of illicit trade is because there is a 500 Euro note whereas the stupid Americans only go to $100 in an attempt to make it more difficult. Prior to the Euro the Dollar and the DM were king. However the DM was a very lowly second place.

  71. wreckage

    Aliice, if there’s any comfort in it, I think you should do what you feel you need to do, and pursue justice.

  72. Tel

    If alcohol was already illegal, we could probably argue the rights and wrongs of this along the same lines. For now we are nowhere near moving community opinion in that direction.

    That’s because there are a small number of people able to learn from the last disaster when alcohol was made illegal. However, there are some Middle Eastern countries out there where you can see how it works in operation. I personally don’t find it attractive.

  73. John Comnenus

    I am sorry for your loss Aliice.

    Let me make two points about this issue. Firstly I agree with the total decriminalisation of recreational drugs. People are always going to use them, and where there is a buyer there will be a supplier. The war on drugs is a futile waste of money. Better to make it legal, in controlled doses, from regulated manufacturers sold on licensed premises.

    The second issue is bit coin. A very good friend of mine works in intelligence for the crime commission. He works in organised crime and gangs. He assures me bitcoin is almost exclusively used for criminal transactions and in particular for money laundering. So I agree with banning bitcoin.

  74. stackja

    John Comnenus
    #1125172, posted on December 27, 2013 at 4:28 pm
    I am sorry for your loss Aliice.

    Agree!

    Let me make two points about this issue. Firstly I agree with the total decriminalisation of recreational drugs. People are always going to use them, and where there is a buyer there will be a supplier. The war on drugs is a futile waste of money. Better to make it legal, in controlled doses, from regulated manufacturers sold on licensed premises.

    Like alcohol? Chemicals legal or illegal have side-effects. Users’ lawyers will still want compensation.

    The second issue is bit coin. A very good friend of mine works in intelligence for the crime commission. He works in organised crime and gangs. He assures me bitcoin is almost exclusively used for criminal transactions and in particular for money laundering. So I agree with banning bitcoin.

    If criminal shut it down!

  75. LordAzrael

    Infidel Tiger
    #1124972, posted on December 27, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    However, what is wrong with taking drugs? 99% of the people who do so live ordinary suburban lives

    99% of statistic are pulled out of someone’s ass.

  76. WhaleHunt Fun

    Depends what suburb you live in. Up the cross, drugtaking is indeed the norm

  77. Oh come on

    It would be practically impossible to ban Bitcoin. Think banning e-mail, but more difficult.

    As for Aliice’s petition, our banks don’t deal in Bitcoin. Never have, and probably never will. You usually obtain Bitcoin by depositing money into a Bitcoin trader’s account, then they will forward you the equivalent value of Bitcoin into your electronic wallet (which would surely be located on a server overseas). The Bitcoin trader often has a personal account – or if it’s a business account, any kind of commerce could be being undertaken. All the bank would see is dollars being deposited into the account, and dollars being withdrawn from the account.

    Banning Bitcoin isn’t going to work on a practical level, so there’s no point moving onto the far more complicated ethical debate regarding such a proposal.

    As I’ve written before, what governments could do to hinder Bitcoin’s progress is destroy confidence in the concept of cryptocurrency – the only reason why people are willing to cough up several hundred dollars per Bitcoin is 100% due to confidence in the currency. There is no tangible value backing the currency whatsoever, unlike conventional fiat currency (issuers can extract resources from taxpayers to back their promises if necessary).

  78. Oh come on

    Tor is still extensively used by dissidents of all stripes. People using it to log on to darknet websites to buy drugs would make up a tiny fraction of the total traffic on the Tor networks.

    And before anyone gets to thinking that banning Tor would be feasible, consider that the NSA doesn’t agree with you.

  79. Peter56

    All drug users are idiots, pure and simple. While it is sad that someone has died here, this person brought it upon himself. It’s nobody’s fault but his own.
    Aliice, if you want to do something that might help, get out there and rail against drug use, instead of being bitter. I can understand the bitterness, but maybe some of that is due to you not being able to do anything, or did nothing when your son was alive.
    Just like I am glad that when a drunk driver only kills him or herself, it is only them.
    Like some bloke on here the other day, wondering whether he should dob in his mate’s son for being a bludging arsehole, letting the authorities know that this young man is rorting the system. Tell your mate, and if he is condoning his son’s rorting of the system, then he’s not such a good bloke anyway.
    Do something before things like this happen. Don’t be afraid that your child might say, ‘Fuck you mum, fuck you dad, you can’t tell me what to do’. And if they are of age, they’d be right, but then you say, ‘Well, fuck off out of our house if you are not going to abide by our rules’.
    But no, everybody just has to be friends with their kids. Tough love save kids from their own stupidities sometimes, even if it might bring bad times for a while, while the kid gets its shit together, and realises they are just stupid little shits, knowing sweet fuck all of very little, while thinking they know everything.
    And this is only one death. What about all those kids on those black communities? Yes, I belabour this over and over and fucking over. So sue me.

  80. WhaleHunt Fun

    So can the govt easily take some action to undermine the value of bitcoin?
    Or do they simply apply the death penalty to any person accepting it or moving it? Perhaps that might impede its use at least a little.

  81. Tel

    Banning Bitcoin isn’t going to work on a practical level, so there’s no point moving onto the far more complicated ethical debate regarding such a proposal.

    Name the last government program that was considered on the basis of practicality.

    I dare you to say “NBN”.

  82. Oh come on

    So can the govt easily take some action to undermine the value of bitcoin?

    Not easily. A concerted campaign to undermine the confidence backing Bitcoin might be effective. Then again, it might not.

    Or do they simply apply the death penalty to any person accepting it or moving it? Perhaps that might impede its use at least a little.

    Do you agree that “guns don’t kill people; people kill people”? If yes, you might want to rethink your proposal.

  83. Oh come on

    Name the last government program that was considered on the basis of practicality.

    I dare you to say “NBN”.

    Well, indeed. That’s why I thought it worthwhile to mention to those who may not know so much about Bitcoin that legislative brute force is not an easy way to solve the problem. It wouldn’t solve the problem. It wouldn’t even start to solve the problem. It’s not an effective tactic to solve the problem, period. And thus it shouldn’t be utilised.

    This blog is generally skeptical of government campaigns to control the behaviour of individuals. The reasons why many people here hold these views apply to this case as they do to other issues such as gun control, 18c, etc.

  84. JC

    I’m not predicting this, but it is worth watching in 2014. Watch out if the oil producers begin accepting Bitcoin as payment for oil. That would really put the fox in the hen house. That would also lend a level of legitimacy the big states cannot ban.

  85. Oh come on

    I reckon the horse has already bolted on this one, JC. Oil producers accepting it would be an interesting development, but I can’t see what would prompt it.

    Forget oil producers; Bitcoin is not being used by established organised crime networks. I’m sure they’ve looked into it – it would be perfect for them. But they’ve decided against it. Why? Go and buy a Bitcoin, and you’ll see why gathering enough of the currency to conduct a single large transaction would be a massive pain in the arse. Obtaining substantial amounts of the currency on a regular basis would use up far too much shoe leather. It’s cheaper and easier to launder conventional means of exchange.

    Bitcoin would need to be much more liquid for it to be adopted by those trading in commodities in any volume.

  86. JC

    Yea, that was my argument all along. Bitcoin would actually make it harder to launder than a 500 Euro note.

    Alice seems to think it’s the worst thing in the history of the world.

  87. Oh come on

    The ethical basis of Bitcoin’s existence is identical to schoolchildren swapping marbles in the playground.

  88. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    I said it in July on Bunyip’s site: grief has no limit to its dominion. Eternal condolences, Aliice. He was a fine boy; anyone can see that and you should hold him close and proud for all that you knew he was and will now always be to you. His was another life cut off far too early. On the Open Forum recently I also said there are two ways for policy: legalization with harm minimisation or abstinance and strict policing. Neither will work. We will have to find, and live with, a contradictory mix of muddled positions, using both sides of this conflict of ideas, for a range of drugs and situations. Maybe that is what you are hoping for with your petition. At least you are focussing your anger and that will get others started on looking at piecemeal solutions too.

    I’d work on visiting schools, examining with kids the whole concept of ‘cool’ and its argot as an ‘ageing hippie’ left-over. You don’t ‘score’ with drugs, you lose, yet some counsellors gave implicit approval by the very use of drug culture terminology. We need major attitudinal change. As this would flow through to many leftie Shibboliths we are only going to get this slowly and with pressure applied.

  89. C.L.

    Peter, can I remind you that Alice has lost her son?

    Show some respect.

    Daniel was just a kid.

    I don’t know about you but I consider it sheer dumb luck to have survived some of the crap I pulled in my teens and 20s.

    Ultimately, he was sold dud product. The person responsible should be thrashed.

  90. Tel

    That’s why I thought it worthwhile to mention to those who may not know so much about Bitcoin that legislative brute force is not an easy way to solve the problem. It wouldn’t solve the problem. It wouldn’t even start to solve the problem. It’s not an effective tactic to solve the problem, period. And thus it shouldn’t be utilised.

    That’s exactly the reason I expect governments around the world to get together and do it. How could they possibly resist such an opportunity for public grandstanding? Better still, since the War on Bitcoin can never result in victory, it will require endless resources.

  91. Tel

    This blog is generally skeptical of government campaigns to control the behaviour of individuals. The reasons why many people here hold these views apply to this case as they do to other issues such as gun control, 18c, etc.

    I’m strongly opposed to government campaigns to control individuals, the sad thing is they happen, again and again. Its one thing to hope for the best, but please be realistic. Governments do what they do because they can get away with it, and for many of the individuals inside the government they end up doing pretty well out of it personally as well. I think it is essential to understand this process, why it happens, and how to look ahead a little bit.

    There is absolutely no value in libertarians campaigning for their government to leave Bitcoin alone. There is no value in pointing out that banning Bitcoin won’t fix anything… they know that already, they don’t care. Making war in Iraq and Afghanistan didn’t fix anything either, but we still went there. Keynesianism doesn’t fix anything but 9/10 economists are in love with it.

    There is no value in asking the NSA to please stop spying on everyone. They do it, we know they do it, and we live with it.

  92. wreckage

    I don’t know about you but I consider it sheer dumb luck to have survived some of the crap I pulled in my teens and 20s.

    Abso fucking lutely. I got lucky.

    He died not from ingesting his drug of choice, but from being poisoned, so the name-calling is senseless. It might as well have been strychnine in his beer. No choice he made caused this.

  93. Yohan

    Putting aside the obvious tragedy of this, I want to start a petition declaring Aliice should have been a better mother.

    That should give her something to think about, perhaps bring the concept of self responsibility to the fore, instead of seeking to have the government ban everything in knee jerk reactions.

  94. Oh come on

    Nah, if they were that cynical, they’d also realise that Bitcoin doesn’t have and will never have the brand recognition to make it worth their time. At least with the War on Drugs, the government has plenty of opportunities to pretend it’s winning. Or that the war’s even winnable.

    A War on Bitcoin will never yield camera-ripe images of dozens of bags of dope, bundled stacks of $100 bills and a variety of firearms laid out on a couple of trestle tables.

    Besides, an attempt to ban Bitcoin would result in a neverending spectacle of failure, if anyone cared enough to check up on the effectiveness of the ban.

  95. val majkus

    Aliice so sorry for your loss and yes, he’s a beautiful boy

  96. Oh come on

    Tel: Í’m not quite sure what your point is. Are you saying that when uninformed mass opinion inspires governnment action, or if the government cynically believes it can utilise uninformed mass opinion for its own ends, we should stand quiet? Not point out and condemn the futility and/or cynicism of government action? We should just anticipate and quietly prepare for serfdom?

  97. Tel

    A War on Bitcoin will never yield camera-ripe images of dozens of bags of dope, bundled stacks of $100 bills and a variety of firearms laid out on a couple of trestle tables.

    There will be images of geeky guys with untidy hair dragged out of houses by police and stacks of confiscated electronic gear around the place. One punter watching TV will say, “Look at that, they got another one, I feel safer already.”

    The other will say, “Ohhh look at his hair.”

  98. Oh come on

    There will be images of geeky guys with untidy hair dragged out of houses by police and stacks of confiscated electronic gear around the place. One punter watching TV will say, “Look at that, they got another one, I feel safer already.”

    You reckon that images of geeky guys with untidy hair being busted would float on ACA/TT? That the presumed behaviour of these individuals you describe would be self-evidently antisocial to the average punter?

    Not a chance. They’d look like the average punter’s dumb kid or dumb kid’s mate.

    Because they are the average punter’s dumb kid or dumb kid’s mate.

  99. Tel

    We should just anticipate and quietly prepare for serfdom?

    I’m not telling you what to do. If you want to get a placard and march in the streets go for it. If I’m bored that day I might even go along, not because it will do anything but one day out is as good as any other. Personally I think the well prepared surf might end up a fraction better off than the serf who gets caught by surprise. Every society has people who are better off, and people who are worse off, that happens under Capitalism and also under Socialism, and any other system you care to mention.

    I think there’s value in teaching people about cause and effect, to the extent they are willing to learn. I predict that government will ban Bitcoin, and I agree with people above who said the bank will be ineffective. If these things happen then I can point to this website and maybe convince some people to think about what happened and why it was a predictable outcome. I think the only hope for long term improvement is when sufficient people have that, “Oh I get it” moment and see the cause of the problem.

  100. Tel

    bank will be ineffective ==> ban will be ineffective

  101. Oh come on

    Tel: influential people read this blog. That’s a good enough reason to post here.

    I don’t know all that much about Bitcoin, but I know enough to realise a ban will fail miserably.

    And, while I don’t know much about Bitcoin, it seems that most others on this thread know nothing about it beyond a recollection of the name and perhaps that it’s somehow connected to criminal behaviour. Some of these people are agitating to ban Bitcoin. If my posts make one or two of these folk jump on Wikipedia and read up on what they seek to prohibit, I’d consider the time I spent typing them out worthwhile.

  102. Alfonso

    Sigh…..another Darwinian selected kiddie incompetent died because he couldn’t think clearly.

    I have a lot more concern for great 6 year olds with 9 months to live who don’t have a choice.
    Perhaps in a perfect world she could have Daniel’s life and Danny could jump into the void because he’s curious.

  103. James B

    The statists really want to stop Bitcoin. Don’t let them.

  104. Token

    Like many others, regardless of our experiences in the past, I offer my condolences on the loss of a son. We understand pain is such that the rest of us who have not lived it could not understand.

  105. Oh come on

    That’s harsh, Alfonso. You can’t see the human condition that we’re all subject to in Daniel’s predicament – and his mother’s reaction to it?

  106. Token

    The notion that drugs trade in a free market is simply wrong. Those sorts of drugs are illegal – that is the greatest form of intervention government has at its disposal.

    The Libertarian concept that legalising drugs will remove the incentive for criminals to exploit the pent up demand is one I struggle with.

    I say this due to the fact there will always be an incentive for sociopaths and others who are only focused on short term profit to create illicit substances which may kill. Who knows what the motives of the dealer and maker of the drug the poor boy consumed, but one suspects their prospects in life would lead them to make the same decision regardless of whether most drugs are made legal.

  107. duncanm

    So can the govt easily take some action to undermine the value of bitcoin?

    Bitcoin is interesting. It is a fiat currency with no backing, and currently experiencing the ultimate bubble (which I think paused for a while when the Silk Road guys were busted), and has a ceiling price effectively defined by the computer power (read: cost of electricity) it takes to mine new bitcoins.

    Where’s it going to end up? I think the (mysterious) founder/inventor still has a large chunk (10-20%?) of the total pool of possible coins.

    Any economists who know more about this have an educated opinion?

  108. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Fuck off, Alfonso

    Well put, C.L. Seconded.

  109. duncanm

    Alfonso. F. off.

    As a teen/young man, did you never ride that pushbike too fast? Get horribly drunk and do silly things? Take risks with cars, motorbikes, people, heights, ocean waves? Have you never taken a recreational drug?

    didn’t think so.

  110. Sinclair Davidson

    Alfonso – too harsh. Even if you think that, you don’t say that to his mother.

  111. Gab

    Alfonso – too harsh.

    Yohan also too harsh.

  112. Oh come on

    Duncan – funnily enough, the irrational exuberance exploded a month or two AFTER the Silk Road bust.

  113. duncanm

    there you go… I know even less than I thought about Bitcoin :)

  114. JohnA

    wreckage #1125078, posted on December 27, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    privatised the profits and socialised the losses.

    I’m agnostic on the subject, emotionally I want the bastards shut down…. but logically, isn’t what you wrote here EXACTLY the current situation???

    Yes, but as I wrote elsewhere (another thread) by legalising the trade, we legitimise and lock in the current situation.

    And Makka, you claim all those expenses would disappear. But they would be replaced by expenses of policing the legitimate trade, including excise and tax collection.

    All we would be doing is moving the boundary between legit and illegal, at which policing happens. Inside it’s regulation, quality control. Outside it’s the same – enforcement. And there would still be illegal competitors – witness the failure of TABs to stamp out illegal SP bookies, until they were both overtaken by the wholesale shift in gambling to online and casinos, or the active trade in excise-free tobacco (quality control – what’s that, eh?).
    .

  115. Chris M

    Bitcoin is interesting. It is a fiat currency with no backing, and currently experiencing the ultimate bubble

    Yes, it seems rather dodgy with totally nothing to back it at all.

    Some guy accidentally threw out his hard drive & was scratching around at the rubbish tip looking for it as there was $9m worth of bitcoin on it. Kinda funny actually. Apparently it didn’t cost him much at, it’s just reached that sort of value because of the huge bubble. Imploding will work much more effectively than any feeble bitcoin law Mr Abbott could make for Alice.

  116. C.L.

    … it seems rather dodgy with totally nothing to back it at all.

    How is it different to the USD, then?

  117. andyd

    Bitcoin is just electronic cash.

  118. duncanm

    Its different in a couple of ways, which are somewhat at odds with each other.

    1/ the US govt at least pretends to back its currency (I think).
    2/ there’s a limit to the total number of bitcoins in circulation. The US can QE till the cows come home.

    for 2/, I’d even argue that the number of bitcoins will peak (when they’re ‘all found’), then drop as they are ‘lost’ (like the pile in the UK rubbish tip).

  119. sdfc

    Alice

    Very sorry to hear about your boy. Terrible news.

    Dot

    Look at what happened in Cyrpus.

    Just is it about the Cypriot bail-in that you object to?

    Please answer on the open thread.

  120. Oh come on

    Well, the US government can stick a gun in the face of the American taxpayer and steal his wallet, and use the proceeds to back their paper – to some extend and if they choose to do so.

    BTC is backed by nothing. There’s more security in a dollar than a Bitcoin.

  121. sdfc

    Price movements suggest bitcoin is very much a speculative instrument.

  122. Rabz

    No point in me commenting here, as it would seem both churlish and hypocritical given my behaviour in another lifetime.

  123. JC

    Price movements suggest bitcoin is very much a speculative instrument.

    The Aussie was also was very volatile when it first floated trying to find its feet.

  124. sdfc

    Yes you can, but where are the bitcoin hedgers and what instruments can they use?

  125. JC

    there weren’t any instruments other than forwards to speak about when it first floated, SDFC.

    You could create forwards and options for bitcion without that much trouble if demand was there.

  126. JC

    SDFC

    if there’s a term deposit and loan market in bitcion, you automatically have a forward differential and therefore would be able to create a forward swap rate.

    As for options.. a Black Scholes model would give you a option price.

  127. As terrible as it is for Aliice (and it is; she has my condolences), Bitcoin is not to blame and her rage is horribly misplaced.

    However, this is where my sympathy for her ends.

    Her son is dead by his own hand because of a decision he made, actions he voluntarily carried out and the consequences that flowed from the decision and the actions. All of these have been warned about time and time again since I was old enough to understand what they were. Trying to lay any sort of moral pressure on Tony Abbott to stop Bitcoin or (subtextually) stand responsible for the drug-related deaths of people who choose to use it to buy their wares is morally reprehensible.

  128. sdfc

    Somehow I can’t see the small vendors who accept bitcoin using derivatives to hedge. Every bitcoin transaction seems exposed to “currency” risk whereas vendors who accept A$ are relatively well insulated from currency risk, particularly service industries.

  129. JC

    It’s in its infancy, SDFC. Talk about it in 5 to 10 years and see what happens.

  130. C.L.

    Her son is dead by his own hand because of a decision he made, actions he voluntarily carried out and the consequences that flowed from the decision and the actions.

    Don’t be sanctimonious. He was a kid.

    The oafishness on display here is reminiscent of Democratic Underground when Reagan died.

  131. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Hey, Perturbed, how’s the view from up there on your high horse? Aliice is going through every mother’s worst nightmare – burying one of her children – and my mother has had to bury two of hers, and all the time I was serving, she wondered whether it might be three, and you’re lecturing Aliice and her son as though somehow they’re in the wrong. Get some compassion sometime, it might be a whole new experience. Fuggoff.

  132. Jessie

    Dear Alice,

    I was deeply saddened to hear of the loss of your son Daniel.
    My heartfelt condolences to you and your family.

    Regards,
    Jessie

  133. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Putting aside the obvious tragedy of this, I want to start a petition declaring Aliice should have been a better mother.

    You deadshit.

    Her kid has been subject to a thousand influences. The Northern Beaches of Sydney is a known druggie paradise too. Many really good people also live there and lead decent lives. Aliice is one of those.

  134. Infidel Tiger

    Man there sure are a lot of cnuts who comment here. They either cheer someone who has died or want to kill others who are just seeking a little bit of fun. I hope they fucking die of arse cancer.

  135. JC

    Wow! There are some serious scumbags on this planet.

  136. Grumbles

    Another victim of Prohibition.

    Feel for the mother but zero lessons learned.

    JohnA; Even if your prognosis is correct the change would be control. Even if policing was required to the current levels (unlikely) less people would be shot (definitely) it would involve far more white collar crime. And even if the social costs remained the same (unlikely) there would be far, far less deaths from both overdose and bad ingredients (definitely). On top of that some of the really bad drugs like meth would disappear if people had legal access to controlled doses of ephedrine.

  137. Oh come on

    Yes, but as I wrote elsewhere (another thread) by legalising the trade, we legitimise and lock in the current situation.

    Spoken like a true social engineer. Do you think things will improve given the current path we’re on? What makes you think so? If you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, then we need a new drugs policy approach.

    they would be replaced by expenses of policing the legitimate trade, including excise and tax collection.

    Well, the basic cost of production of narcotics would generally be a few cents a dose. You could factor in all those expenses, add a fat sin tax (and double the price again for good measure) and you’d still be way below the present street price of any given narcotic.

    The criminal element will only work for triple digit margins – take these away and it’s not worth breaking the law. Drug dealers don’t ply their trade for the love of it. When the price of decriminalised narcotics is more reflective of the cost of their production, at some point organised crime will focus on more profitable endeavours.

  138. westie woman

    Every parent’s nightmare – the loss of a child

    I am so sorry Aliice – seeing the photo of your beautiful boy has brought on the tears

    For those having a go at Aliice, who is grieving – show some compassion – your smug and nasty words are mean, hateful and rude

    As a health professional I have a million stories about illegal and legal drugs and those who take them – what can I say when a young person says to me that it’s cheaper to buy some illegal drug rather than alcohol or even legal smokes?

  139. wreckage

    Grumbles: That’s a real point here: if the kid had bought his high off Pfizer, he wouldn’t have died.

    Figure out the minimum dose you need to get a buzz or stay awake or whatever and legalise it. Maybe leave some of the really esoteric stuff (strong hallucinogenics) illegal, I can’t see how there’s a safe dose of OH GOD OH GOD SPIDERS THE STARS ARE MADE OF SPIDERS, but nor is there a major market for it.

    It is completely legal to ingest alcohol until it acts like an opiate, but it is illegal to ingest a smaller, measured dose of an opiate.

    I’m split down the middle on this. But a few points for the legalise side:

    - No more poisonings from random ingredients.
    - No more pushers and pimps. Just Big Pharma turning a profit. You might not like it but they aren’t going to do drive by shootings, and they pay tax.
    - There’s no need to legalise every possible dose of every possible drug. Just enough access to enough of the popular stuff that the legitimate path is easiest. Why whack an unknown dose up your arm when you can get a controlled dose from the chemist?
    - If you’re getting your drugs from a doctor or chemist, they can prescribe the anti-depressants you actually need. It’s a system whereby every drug user dobs themselves in weekly.
    - There’s plenty of reason to criminalise certain drugs and substances, those that are harmful at any dose. But we know stimulants and opiates are not harmful at low doses, since neither ritalin nor panadeine kills you.

  140. wreckage

    Why is it that if a woman can’t deal with her situation and decides therefore to terminate her perfectly healthy foetus, that’s her body and her right and between her and her doctor, but if she can’t deal with her situation and wants to get high for a couple of hours we throw her in prison?

  141. wreckage

    westie, what you should be able to say is “here’s a script, your dealer can’t get you free stuff on the PBS”

  142. westie woman

    Wreckage – it’s just amazing how regulations are making things so ridiculously hard – cold tablets now without the ingredient to help relieve cold symptoms unless you go through a third degree interview at the pharmacy to name one example of this stupid war on drugs

    My view is just what you have written – make drugs legal to get rid of drug dealers, tainted drugs, crime associated with drugs

    Why do governments spend zillions on controlling legal substances such as tobacco and alcohol?

    Because it’s easy

    Now for a young person, it’s easier and cheaper to score some illegal drug and perhaps put their life at risk than buy a bottle of bourbon or a packet of Winfields

    As for mind altering drugs, it’s a constant throughout history – read anything about any ancient civilisation and there is mention of some drug popular at that time

  143. Gerry

    The whole legalisation debate isn’t as simple as setting up a free market IMO ….for a start the access to drugs is not going to be any freer than what it is now probably …..and …

    The illegal drugs tend to have a greater potential for overdose/death and disastrous effects on mental health just because of the use – the toxic doses and the usual doses are not far apart…if they were legalised then they have such desired effects, and side effects, that society would normally regulate them quite closely ….the chances of them being part of a completely free market would, in the normal course of events, be small.

    One of the reasons alcohol has such a deleterious effect on all sorts of lives is the fact that people can’t be “encouraged” into treatment due to the any illegal use/abuse of regulation (apart from drink driving or alcohol related family violence generally) that is occurring …..many people, because of poor judgement due to addiction, find it easy to reject treatment as part of exercising their “free choice”.

  144. Oh come on

    The illegal drugs tend to have a greater potential for overdose/death and disastrous effects on mental health just because of the use – the toxic doses and the usual doses are not far apart

    Sure you know what you’re talking about there, Gerry? Or did it just seem logical when you were typing it?

  145. Gerry

    Well I’ve been working with people using drugs for a long time ….and seen what heroin and speed and ice can do very readily …I didn’t just write on a whim …

  146. Dan

    (strong hallucinogenics) illegal, I can’t see how there’s a safe dose of OH GOD OH GOD SPIDERS

    You can’t overdose on LSD

  147. ben

    bitcoin is not anonymous. all the transactions made with bitcoin are public knowledge. their might not be an obvious public link between your wallet and your identity. but if you deposit money from an exchange into a wallet then a nation state can de-anonymize you with a warrant. or if you make any transaction that links your wallet to your real identity you will be de-anonymized. if you then make an illicit purchase directly with your wallet there will be a public record linking your wallet with an illicit transaction. if you go the trouble of transferring coins between wallets to try and hide your identity before making an illicit purchase then your activity can be unmasked if you have made sufficient purchases. your best chance is using a bitcoin laundry service but then you will still have your identity linked to using a laundry service and you have to trust the laundry service does not keep logs and is doing their job correctly.

    at the moment bitcoin is much less anonymous than cash. if law enforcement is having trouble tracking bitcoin transactions then it is because they don’t have the technical expertise.

  148. Rabz

    You can’t overdose on LSD

    Tell that to Syd Barrett, pal.

  149. Rabz

    Just for a bit of clarity, I will make a few comments, having thought a bit more about this vexed issue.

    Let’s get one thing out of the way first – when I was Alice’s son’s age I was a serial drug abuser. These activities were engaged in at the time because I thought I was indestructible and I just enjoyed the drugs, m’kay? Nowadays, my only vice is a lot of beer on a weekend.

    I can’t even begin to imagine what Alice has been going through, I’m not a parent. I feel for her, because it is a tragedy almost beyond comprehension.

    Young people will always seek out cheap thrills, it’s a fact of life. However, as noted above, her rage does seem misplaced. A more logical course of action might be to target sites such as silk road, which were responsible for the purchasing and delivery of the drugs. Whether or not a medium of exchange such as bitcoin was used to facilitate the purchase seems irrelevant.

    if it’s any consolation, nowadays I’m a strict prohibitionist. I just don’t see the point in making even more intoxicants freely available to young people. If that makes me a hypocrite (on this issue alone, thanks) then so be it.

    Vale, Daniel.

  150. Gerry

    “The illegal drugs tend to have a greater potential ….” Is what I wrote …..I haven’t heard of anyone overdosing on LSD ….sometimes the dose may last longer than hoped or the dose the person buys may be larger than they were told ( that would be rare!) or the dose is laced with another chemical which provides an unwanted side effect ….

  151. Cold-Hands

    Sincere condolences, Aliice. I can’t even begin to imagine how you’re feeling at this time of year.

  152. Dianeh

    My condolences to Aliice. Such a tragedy and so heartbreaking. I understand fully why Aliice is taking the action she is and I would do the same.

    I agree with the legalising the illicit drugs but with it must be the responsibility to the manufacturers and suppliers to provide the drugs in a safe form and in safe dosages. If the manufacturers fail in their duty, charge them etc. make the penalties very strict.

    The current illegal status of the drugs has done nothing to stop the usage and to stop lives being ruined, especially the lives of innocents. Trying to ban bitcoin won’t help either.

    However, it should be clear, in the legal sense, that drug use does not reduce responsibility. Deliberately taking drugs should not be an excuse for abusing or neglecting children, or for committing crimes. Let people take legal recreational drugs but throw the book at them if they break the law and especially where children are involved.

  153. Dan

    Syd Barrett loved his drugs, but he died from cancer. He slowly went crazy from taking a cocktail of drugs over several years. Keith Richards ran the same experiment, with largely different results.

  154. candy

    I’d be very concerned with legalising some drugs we’d have girls taking them in pregnancy with the result of already addicted babies or retarded children.

  155. JC

    Candy

    Is there anyone you know who hasn’t taken drugs because it’s illegal? What makes you think that legality would make pregnant women more prone to doing crack etc? I don’t quite get the argument.

    Illegality is directly comparable to the prohibition when bootleggers were using methylated spirits and even keroseene in their concoctions.

    In fact Alice’s boy would be still alive if drugs were decriminalized.

  156. wreckage

    Candy, those outcomes are actually less common and less severe than the poor outcomes from bad diet and carelessness.

    Look, I am not saying that tomorrow I’d go out and Vote 1 Legalise Everything, but I am saying there are major inroads to be made if we cautiously loosen up on some things that are already conditionally legal.

    And of course, it should be completely legal to grow pot and smoke it at home, as long as you’re not smoking in an enclosed space with kids, since that will give them asthma. (So will candles, by the way).

  157. .

    Alice’s approach is all wrong:

    http://www.cato.org/publications/white-paper/drug-decriminalization-portugal-lessons-creating-fair-successful-drug-policies

    The death rates from overdoses and also HIV infection rates fell significantly after Portugal decriminalised all drugs.

  158. JC

    I’ve read pretty good things about Portugal’s experiment with Semi-decriminalization. In after allowing for the recession use rates have actually dropped and there is less crime.

  159. candy

    What makes you think that legality would make pregnant women more prone to doing crack etc? I don’t quite get the argument.

    Because if they’re doing drugs already it’s high unlikely some women will stop even for pregnancy, like with smoking and drinking. Just looking at possible consequences.

    In fact Alice’s boy would be still alive if drugs were decriminalized.
    things might not be that simple and it might be intruding on family grief .

  160. johanna

    Like many on this thread, the only reason I am still around is good luck (including a good constitution). If you didn’t do risky things when you were young, you are a pretty boring person, IMO. So, my sincere condolences to Aliice. It’s not her fault, at all, and her son was unlucky.

    However, Bitcoins are irrelevant. I lived in and around Kings Cross for several years, and you could buy anything, 24/7/365, in a few minutes. That was more than 20 years ago. Bitcoins have nothing to do with it. Every now and then, a “bad batch” would hit the street and people would die. It goes with the territory.

    As for overdosing on LSD, Syd Barrett (a founding member of Pink Floyd) showed the classic symptoms of schizophrenia in his early 20s, which is when it commonly appears in young men. Taking LSD wouldn’t have helped, but he reminds me of a guy I knew at uni who went down the same path. Very bright and creative, but just got crazier and crazier, and took all manner of drugs by the handful, possibly as a form of self-medication. He eventually ODd, from a mixture of booze and downers, at the age of 23. Always refused the psychiatric help he obviously needed.

    Anyway, talk of Syd again raises the question – any chance of a music thread here? :)

  161. .

    things might not be that simple and it might be intruding on family grief

    Welcome to the real world, candy.

    Grief is not a debating tool.

  162. Joe Goodacre

    It is wrong to suggest Bitcoin is responsible for any deaths, or any crime.

    Bitcoin is purely a currency – to ban any currency because it facilitates crime is wrong.

    As tragic as it is, Aliice’s son made a terrible choice with terrible consequences.

    Any blame either lies at his feet, or at his parents who did not succeed in equipping him to make better choices.

    This appears a sad case of blaming others to avoid dealing with the terrible truth of how this could have been avoided.

  163. roger

    Not an expert over here on either of hard drugs, Bitcoin, or raising children. I have no experience with any of these.But I do think that this is one darn silly thread.
    With all the sympathy to a mother who lost her son, how does her grief qualify her as an expert? Does she still have a right to express her mind? Sure. To write to our PM about some issue she finds troubling? sure. But on the power of what exactly does this warrant publication of her opinion in this blog. Emotions and logic do not mix, Sinclair.
    In debates – including political debates – mixing emotion for logic, or grief for expertise is – imo – plain wrong.

  164. I personally hope that anyone who supports “ramping up” the war on drugs (with death penalties and military-style policing as they have now in the US) has to watch their family shot in the head by overzealous coppers who raided the wrong house.

    Seriously, die in a fucking fire, fascists. People like you are the reason this kid (and millions like him) are dead.

    You are wrong, and you are morally culpable.

  165. Let me spell it out even more clearly:

    It’s not the drug dealers who are responsible for deaths. It is people like you who vote to keep drugs illegal. Drug dealers are doing nothing more than trying their best to provide a product that people want to buy. Because of laws supported by YOU, they are sometimes forced to garnish the product to meet demand. This would not happen in a legal market.

    The people who deserve the death penalty are fascists like JohnA and ChrisM and the others in this thread who support the war on drugs.

    It’s your fault.

  166. Like many on this thread, the only reason I am still around is good luck (including a good constitution).

    Well yes, luck comes in many forms. Luck has kept me from succumbing to a blowout at the wrong moment, for example.

    If you didn’t do risky things when you were young, you are a pretty boring person,

    I’ve done some risky things, but this is different to doing insane things.
    Shoving clandestinely obtained unknown substances into one’s bloodstream? Insane.

  167. No, what’s insane is running a business that’s primary function is to sell (legal) drugs, while remaining ignorant of the misery that was caused when idiots tried to make that drug illegal. Then forgetting all the lessons of the past and thinking it’s a good idea to apply the same laws to other drugs which are less dangerous.

  168. No, what’s insane is running a business that’s primary function is to sell (legal) drugs, while remaining ignorant of the misery that was caused when idiots tried to make that drug illegal. Then forgetting all the lessons of the past and thinking it’s a good idea to apply the same laws to other drugs which are less dangerous.

    ???????????

  169. Yeah, I suspected that might be too much for you to process. Try reading it loud.

  170. It is insane for someone to sell a legal drug, while being ignorant of misery caused when an attempt was made to make said drug illegal, then to try to make illegal some other drugs.
    But it is not insane to obtain an unknown substance from an unwashed stranger in a dark alley, and pump that substance into your own bloodstream?

    Er…. are you trying to write in legalese or something? That couldn’t be more convoluted if it were written by Kevin Rudd.

  171. dd

    Yobbo is right. Prohibition is not only illogical it also causes deaths.

    as for ‘Steve at the Pub,’

    I’ve done some risky things, but this is different to doing insane things.

    You don’t seem to know what the words “risky” and “insane” actually mean.

    Shoving clandestinely obtained unknown substances into one’s bloodstream? Insane.

    No, that’s ‘risky.’ In fact it’s pretty much the definition of what taking a risk is. Specifically, it is trying to get a reward while there is a possibility of it going wrong. Playing drinking games and thumping the table singing “here’s to wally he’s true blue” does not constitute ‘risk taking’.

  172. Yes, it definitely makes it harder to understand my post if you mash it up with yours and copy/paste it as if was all the one paragraph.

  173. Agreed DD, the definition of “risky” is broad.

  174. Yes, it definitely makes it harder to understand my post if you mash it up with yours and copy/paste it as if was all the one paragraph.

    Then you’ll just have to live with your post being relegated to the “hard to comprehend” bin Yobbo. It is too late at night for me to decipher Kev Rudd style doublespeak.

  175. Infidel tiger

    100 years ago Steve’s customers could all have been high on cocaine and heroin and he would have legally served them. Due to some capricious wowserism and moral outrage from the USA he now wishes them death. He’ll probably feel the same way about his clientele who smoke in 5 years.

    The only resin

  176. dd

    Steve, he’s saying the tragic lessons of prohibition are identical for alcohol as other drugs, and as a purveyor of alcohol you should realise that.

  177. JC

    WTF

    Stevie, are you copying and pasting random words/sentences hoping it all makes sense?

    It is insane for someone to sell a legal drug, while being ignorant of misery caused when an attempt was made to make said drug illegal, then to try to make illegal some other drugs.
    But it is not insane to obtain an unknown substance from an unwashed stranger in a dark alley, and pump that substance into your own bloodstream?

    Er…. are you trying to write in legalese or something? That couldn’t be more convoluted if it were written by Kevin Rudd.

  178. Steve, he’s saying the tragic lessons of prohibition are identical for alcohol as other drugs, and as a purveyor of alcohol you should realise that.

    Thanks DD. If I may I’ll call on you again to translate into English anythin else written in officialese.
    But the legalising/prohibition of alcohol happened long before I was born, thus the finger points of it are not something I’m accross, nor do I spend much of my workin day thinking about it. I’m too busy being tied up with pointless compliance.

  179. 100 years ago Steve’s customers could all have been high on cocaine and heroin and he would have legally served them. Due to some capricious wowserism and moral outrage from the USA he now wishes them death. He’ll probably feel the same way about his clientele who smoke in 5 years.

    IT, you may have to do some brushing up on the Queensland Liquor Act of 100 years ago.
    That aside, I don’t wish my customers death. At least, not until they’ve paid their bill.
    I have no feelings about clientele who smoke, except they’re usually less likely to make trouble, and more likely to pay cash.

  180. Coca extract and opium products were completely legal pharmaceuticals 100 years ago. Why would they be mentioned in the liquor act, you utter pillock?

  181. Jarrod

    I read in Reason Magazine some time ago that Libertarian types tend to score very highly when tested on logic and quite poorly when tested for empathy. Some of the responses in this thread appear to support those findings.

    Poor kid.

  182. Combine_Dave

    Coca extract and opium products were completely legal pharmaceuticals 100 years ago.

    If the consequences for drug use were felt by the individual alone I’d have no problem will all illicit drugs being 100% legal.

    The problem here is if things go wrong you’ve got the taxpayer picking up the tab; public hospitals, centrelink/NDIS, Ambos.

    Obviously it’s not too different to the current situation of legal drugs were the costs of abuse are socialised and not borne by the individual.Aka the carnage present at our pub scene/public hospital emergency ward every friday night.

    Fix this first before allowing additional wide spread use of newly legalised recreational drugs.

  183. Tel

    The problem here is if things go wrong you’ve got the taxpayer picking up the tab; public hospitals, centrelink/NDIS, Ambos.

    The taxpayer picks up the tab for the illegal industry as well, and that’s a much bigger tab.

    If you want to save money for the taxpayer legalization would certainly reduce the hospital intake on OD’s (because quality control would be much better) and probably reduce the severity of the side effects. People would seek help more quickly (not being afraid the hospital will call the cops).

  184. Splatacrobat

    Sorry Aliice for you loss.

  185. The problem here is if things go wrong you’ve got the taxpayer picking up the tab; public hospitals, centrelink/NDIS, Ambos.

    As opposed to the billions of dollars we currently spend in a futile attempt to stop people from consuming drugs that are mostly far less harmful than alcohol?

    No, really. There is no good argument in favour of the drug war. It is the worst government decision since 1914.

  186. I agree with the legalising the illicit drugs but with it must be the responsibility to the manufacturers and suppliers to provide the drugs in a safe form and in safe dosages. If the manufacturers fail in their duty, charge them etc. make the penalties very strict.

    Obviously that would be the case in a country with legal recreational drugs. We already do the same thing with current medications, alcohol and even food.

  187. Aliice
    I don’t know if words on a screen can offer comfort, but please except these.
    My wife and I lost a daughter a long time ago.
    We still grieve, but time does heal.
    Take each day at a time, and if a crusade helps, go for it.

  188. 1735099

    Apologies Aliice – should read “accept”…….

  189. Coca extract and opium products were completely legal pharmaceuticals 100 years ago. Why would they be mentioned in the liquor act, you utter pillock?

    You’re a class act Yobbo.

  190. Joe Goodacre

    Aliice is channeling her grief in a dangerous manner.

    Some of the advice here seems to have little thought behind it – ‘If a crusade helps, go for it’.

    The episode is a tragic affair. Fullstop.

    Aliice’s crusade however is not well thought out and is dangerous.

    There aren’t enough voices for freedom in the market place of ideas to justify going silent on an issue that is patently an exercise in tyranny, and a pointless one at that.

    Many comments above address the futility of such a ban, which goes to the point of not well thought out.

    To the point of it being dangerous – the parents that lost their children at Sandy Hook followed similar crusades – blaming the tool, as opposed to the use of the tool.

    Ultimately however, those grieving parents became the face of tyranny – advocating for restrictions on individuals to own guns.

    It is often through tragedies, that ‘empathy’ is used to justify all sorts of restrictions on freedom (e.g. Port Aurthur and gun control).

    The truth is that freedom comes with all sorts of costs – not just benefits.

    One benefit is that we truly own our lives and our decisions.

    The cost, is that if we don’t use that freedom in a responsible manner, we can do all sorts of damage to ourselves.

    Bitcoin provided Daniel with freedom.

    He used that freedom to try drugs – a poor choice.

    The bigger picture for Aliice and her family is that her child wasn’t equipped well to deal with freedom. If she has other children, hopefully that lesson won’t be in vain. One thing is certain – Aliice won’t be the first, or the last person to deal with the reality that freedom without responsibility can be dangerous to the individual in question and those around them.

    A more appropriate channel for her grief might be advocating to others, the dangers of drugs, and the dangers of decriminalising them.

    As to people saying that comments like these lack empathy – it is important not to mistake empathy (which is understanding a person’s loss), with placation (appeasement).

    Just because Aliice is not in a good place to hear the truth, does not abdicate those around her from the responsibility of speaking out when grief is channeled into inappropriate avenues.

  191. Joe Goodacre

    Correction to my earlier post and the following sentence:

    ‘A more appropriate channel for her grief might be advocating to others, the dangers of drugs, and the dangers of decriminalising them.’

    The sentence should have read that it is dangerous not to decriminalise drugs (for reasons such as quality control and social pressure as to what constitutes reasonable use, as opposed to abuse.)

  192. wreckage

    Actual data on partial decriminalization:

    http://www.cato.org/publications/white-paper/drug-decriminalization-portugal-lessons-creating-fair-successful-drug-policies

    Use and possession became non-criminal issues. There are still rules but you can’t go to prison for personal use. Dealing and trafficking are still criminal acts. Drug use has stayed steady or dropped slightly, but the social and medical costs of drug use have plummeted.

  193. Aliice

    Thanks Sinclair – at least you post both your view and mine and honestly I dont think anyone knows what is in the package that gets delivered. I would like to say on Daniel’s behalf that the police told me there wasnt enough to kill anyone, and the substance was supposed to be the kind that woke you up.
    Instead it killed my child rapidly in apparently about an hour. That seems to suggest to me that what is freely available online is not alwways what it is marketed as.
    Mine is not an argument for a free market in drugs.
    However I have some sympathies for a regulated availability and decriminalistaion however Bitcoin is basically a black bank that serves an additional purpose of encrypting all transactions for both the buyer and seller. This has enabled the global drug traffucking trade to flourish (mushroom) and Australia is now becoming a market for Express Post deliveries from any drug manufacturer anywhere from Amsterdam to Canada to Asia to Australian children’s doorsteps in vacuum packed sealed plastic (no sniffer dogs wiill detect this – we need imaging equipment) inside envelopes cheaply. Is this what we want our children to have access to?
    Actually its no safer, because any unemployed person can set up and send whatever they like from anywhere in the world as a seller. User ratings can be and are being concocted.
    But the children as ever do these stupid things and many will survive and my Daniel was very unlucky.
    For any parent this world and this age is a nightmare to negotiate. The kids are half adult half child and think they are immortal and it wont happen to them. Same old. Most survive. Its not the amount. Its not an OVERDOSE. They simply dont know what the substance is they take in most cases. There have been cases on the new Silk Road called BMR where they sent out veterinary drugs marketed as cocaine.
    All synthetic – new variations – any bastard who works in a lab anywhere in the world and even if they dont can get a sellers account and go global.

    Just trying to warn others. Its a nightmare what I have discovered. What is a worse nightmare is how many kids are involved. I am slowly ringing other parents now so they arr not as shocked as me at what this generation assumes is normal.

    Yet the immediate passage of legislation to make it illegal for any Australian financial institution or corporation or retailer etc to accept BITCOIN will go a large way to reducing this criminal activity because its BITCOIN that makes it all untraceable. China and India and Thailand has done it now. Why are we trailing the developing nations?

    Enough is enough. Parents need to know what their kids are doing and who they are misxing with and facebook doesnt permit that.

  194. Aliice

    My boy was beautiful and he had a big kind heart and yet he was naive and subject to peer pressure when it came to this.
    Thanks to all who said he was beautiful. He really was.
    I miss him so much.

  195. Joe Goodacre

    Aliice,

    What a tragic case.

    As someone new to the Catallaxy community, may I make the following comments.

    One need not read many of Sinclair’s posts to appreciate that any proposal to regulate Bitcoin on the grounds suggested (because people may abuse it) would go against every fibre of his being.

    Had anyone else made such a suggestion under ordinary circumstances, it appears unlikely he would have been posted the petition with so little vehemence in the case made against it.

    That he has presented your petition in such muted tones reflects the respect he clearly has for you.

    Make no mistake though, the petition conflicts the principles of liberty and his muted discussion is a contortion to accommodate his disagreement versus not inflicting emotional pain on you in such a time.

    Attempting to influence policy, so recently after your family’s loss however has the effect of muting what people can say in response. Why – people are obviously concerned with not inflicting more pain. Whether it is your intention or not, the circumstances of your son’s death provide a stronger platform than would otherwise be the case within this community to discuss such a proposal.

    Looking at a number of the comments of people that have supported the petition, most appear to be doing so in order to do something – rather than because they have thought about the issue in depth.

    It appears to me appropriate to respect that your family, friends and the Catallaxy community are unable to truly have an objective discussion on this issue whilst such sensitivities hang like a sword of Damocles overhead. Further – it would appear inappropriate (whether intentionally or not) to take advantage of people’s sensitivities at this time.

    May I suggest you simply grieve. Remember your son and what was good about him. Cherish the moments that you shared together, and how he touched others in his life.

    If others without persuasion from yourself launch a similar crusade so be it. You are not honouring your son’s memory though by using him as the reason for many restrictions people on here would vehemently disagree with if they could do so without inflicting further pain to you.

  196. wreckage

    Thanks to all who said he was beautiful. He really was.

    He was a gorgeous kid, Aliice.

  197. Aliice

    Thankyou Wreckage. He really was beautiful.
    Now Joe Goodacre – I know you mean well with this comment
    “That he has presented your petition in such muted tones reflects the respect he clearly has for you.”
    And I have an awful lot of respect for Sinclair Davidson precisely because he embeds his own values in this blog and is very open to discussion on anything from any view.
    However, I do mildly object to this comment of yours Joe

    If others without persuasion from yourself launch a similar crusade so be it. You are not honouring your son’s memory though by using him as the reason for many restrictions people on here would vehemently disagree with if they could do so without inflicting further pain to you.

    How I grieve or what actions I take is no real business of yours. We are what we are. We do what we do. We cope how we cope.
    It is fine if people vehemently disagree with me. I can deal with it and will. That much Sinclair Davidson understands which you are yet to do. Its ok. I am sure you didnt mean it or hadnt really thought your comment through.

  198. Aliice

    I cannot help but think the bad outweighs the good with bitcoin due to the encryption technology bitcoin employs and the marketing services bitcoin offers to illegal markets. This is not the free markets we all want.

  199. Joe Goodacre

    Aliice, it takes a lot of strength to be able to separate your pain regarding Daniel, and to discuss the issue objectively – I commend your attempt.

    Below are where I think the arguments for regulating Bitcoin are weak.

    Firstly, why was Bitcoin created?

    Paper money is cheap to produce. Government’s are usually trusted. A paper, government backed form of currency should have an unapproachable monopoly – why would anyone spend time attempting to establish a new currency and build trust in it.

    The reason is that Government has abused it’s monopoly in a number of ways. Government has:

    a) removed anonymity in order to tax;
    b) removed anonymity in order to identify and control illegal behaviour; and
    b) undermined constant purchasing power through inflation.

    In relation to the first, taxes are collected via government inserting itself within institutions that handle currency (i.e requiring banks to provide TFN’s and businesses to withhold PAYG). Compare this to the day when people were given an envelope with cash at the end of a week. Government has introduced more and more controls to ensure that our currency is no longer largely anonymous to people outside the transaction. As a result, Government is able to maximise taxation revenue.

    In relation to the second, by removing anonymity regarding currency, Government can identify what activities people are engaged in and match their spending habits to their declared income.
    This identifies potential criminals who receive cash from illegal activities.

    As more things have become illegal, anonymity has become an increasingly valued attribute of a currency. Drugs and guns are two well known examples of things that were originally unregulated, are now heavily restricted if not illegal, continue to remain in demand and now provide vast sums of money which are anonymously laundered.

    In relation to the third, inflation in government controlled currencies are the third certainty in life after death and taxes. Take China… the Chinese government has been:

    a) artificially preventing the Yuan from rising which has led to domestic inflation; and
    b) artificially restricting the amount savings account owners can receive as interest to provide cheap funds to government controlled banks (incentivising citizens to store their wealth outside the banking system).

    As a result, Chinese people have channeled the inflation into a property bubble – buying apartments purely as a store of wealth since the currency was being inflated. The Chinese government then restricted the conditions people could buy properties.

    Chinese citizens then moved to gold (cue the bubble in gold). The Chinese government responded by restricting the purchase of gold.

    Bitcoin was created and surged on the back of demand from China. This was further evidence of Chinese citizens attempting to protect their wealth when the existing currency was inflated and property and gold were closed as alternatives.

    That China regulates Bitcoin is not evidence of their sophistication – but a further confirmation that Chinese citizens live in a totalitarian society.

    The situation in India is different. India imports a lot of gold as a traditional store of wealth which devalues their currency. Given that they also import substantial amounts of oil and coal, a devalued currency makes these items more expensive. The Indian government restricted the import of gold as an attempt to strengthen their currency. As Bitcoin is an alternative currency that results in a foreign exchange, the same arguments that led to their regulation of gold account for their restrictions on Bitcoin.

    Currencies are ultimately government monopolies. Monopolies survive only by removing competition. The most totalitarian society with the greatest to gain from a government monopoly on currency (China) was predictable to move first. Other countries that followed had other reasons to preserve a monopoly on currency (e.g. India controlling it’s current account deficit and Thailand manipulates it’s exchange rate to favour exporters). Preventing illegal activity is nominated as important, but really is a side benefit, which is why countries that manipulate their currencies less, haven’t historically banned currencies that threaten that monopoly.

    If Bitcoin is a symptom of the desire of individuals to seek forms of currency that are anonymous (as more things become illegal) and have constant purchasing power, then as governments make more things illegal, taxes increase and inflation increases, there will be a greater demand for alternative currencies.

    We can see this via the fact that like many other symptoms, it is only one of many.

    Prior to Bitcoin, there was Gold Age, Liberty Reserve and E-gold to name a few. After September 11, a greater focus was initiated in the US on alternative currencies in order to stifle funding sources for terrorists. In 2006, Gold Age was shut down. E-gold was prosecuted and effectively shut down during 2008. In 2009 Bitcoin was created. Liberty Reserve was shut down in the US in May of this year.

    So the US has a long history with these online currencies, and they will likely regulate Bitcoin for other reasons. Bitcoin will also likely fail due to the inherent vulnerability of any online currency to fraud. E-Gold was nearly wiped out in 2005 due to hackers, and as Bitcoin has increased in popularity and value, it will become a target itself.

    It seems to me that if Bitcoin is another expression of individuals seeking freedom, whilever the disease persists (governments abusing a monopoly on currency), the symptom will persist (alternative currencies coming into existence).

    With government controlling currency and making drugs illegal, there was less onus on parents to warn of the dangers of drugs. With Bitcoin and other online currencies bringing anonymity and the ability to try drugs with much less chance of getting caught, there is a real risk that other parents are not aware of the new dangers out there. I fully support your push to alert parents that the safety net of prior generations (government controlled currency and illegal drugs) has weakened, and that this new freedom is dangerous if our children are not fully equipped to recognise that with freedom comes responsibility. In my household, your tragedy has highlighted in our hearts and minds the new perils our children must be equipped to deal with.

  200. Aliice

    Hi Joe

    thanks for explaining the background to alternative currencies springing up. I must confess I am not seeing it from any ideological perspective but it helps to know. However even if parents are made aware in here of the “dangers of the mix” then I have contributed something good. The mix in my view is a combination of three – social media, online unregulated global drug trafficking, and bitcoin which is acting as a facilitator.

    With Bitcoin and other online currencies bringing anonymity and the ability to try drugs with much less chance of getting caught, there is a real risk that other parents are not aware of the new dangers out there.

    I can assure you this is true. Many many parents are not aware of the dangers. We have all been operating on trusting our children, respecting their privacy in their use of facebook and the like. My child was just one around here amongst many I have discovered experimenting. Some names I discovered communicating about drugs in his facebook have really shocked me coming from good families and good schools. He was not on his own. The purchases, whilst sporadic and of small value, were joint purchases. The most terrible thing is his friends were bright children, most inclined towards IT and extremely tech savvy. Perhaps this is the worst type that sees the TOR browser as a challenge?

    Yet in discussions some friends told me after my son died “we see online purchases as safer” (wrong), we dont have to mix with “those druggie types” (??) – “we see ourselves as middle class and its beneath us to hang around pubs etc” “the sites provides safety information in dosage”, “the sites are user rated which makes it safe” (user ratings can be concocted). They knew the passwords, they shared them. They assisted to install this browser on each other’s computers and then they browsed and made purchases as if it was a shop. Something different. Something new. Needless to say the stories changed quite rapidly in a few days after the death of their friend and no friend did anything except “weed and alcohol”.

    Yes most parents trust and believe in their children and want to do that. We did as well. We didnt want to invade his facebook privacy – in fact we never even thought about doing that. We had no reason whatsoever to suspect. Knowing what I know now, I would do exactly the opposite as regards my son’s facebook use. It expands the flow of information exponentially and rapidly between their friends and not just their friends – friends of friends of friends who are not friends at all.
    I believe the information about the TOR browser, Online drug sites and Bitcoin payment methods for drugs is now rife. The police tell me they are overwhelmed by it. On the news this morning there are complaints that “alcohol fuelled violence” in the city of Sydney is out of control yet this is not just alcohol. One commentator on the TV this morning said that hospital emergency workers were increasingly dealing with methamphetamine and ice use. I thought to myself “I know where it is coming from”.

    I just wanted to break one link in the chain of this ugly phenomenon and it seemed to me that the obvious choice was the accommodation of bitcoin by all our banks. Bitcoin also provided an insidious marketing service. My son made an initial inquiry last year on how to pay. Then he left it alone. Bitcoin continued to send weekly communications to him “Hi Daniel – we notice you have an open inquiry – anything we can help you with – feel free to contact Jeremy West” even going so far as to say in one email “we guarantee you will have a fantastic experience.” I could not believe what I was reading. What is Bitcoins real role here?

    Yes, all parents need to be aware. I even found a grey anonymous facebook user in my sons page from when he was at Uni Newcastle. This unidentified “user” communicated to him by mobile phone “hey do you know these two guys on campus? Two names were then provided. “if you want any weed, just go see either one of them and place an order – I deliver weekly.” My son never appeared to respond to this anonymous person.

    So you see – to me it is not just facebook friends – facebook is also allowing predators to prey on contacts of contacts. Yes, all parents should be aware that facebook is not the innocuous thing we think it is and this is a very dangerous age that we live in for children / teenagers / early adults.

    If I have helped anyone here understand better then that has to be a good thing.

    In addition some children whos names I did know also had alias facebook pages ie not their real names at all.

  201. Aliice

    Chris Per says

    Just out of curiosity, would this bitcoin transaction have STARTED using real money? Ie would this beautiful boy have taken some hundreds of dollars and bought bitcoins with it?

    Yes it did. That is how they buy. They are instructed by bitcoin exactly and in precise terms by email what to do ie like this “go to your bank – withdraw cash only and then go to either of these banks (BSBs and account numbers given (at three of our major banks so there is choice and convenience) and deposit the cash. Once we receive the deposit we will complete the purchase of bitcoins and notify the seller etc) “”. It is all very precise instructions sent by Bitcoin to the buyer by email on how to do it including the words “note – no transfers, no cheques and cash only”. They look exactly like invoices and the invoice comes from bitcoin. I have sent those I found in my sons email to police. That is why I so object to Bitcoin. It clearly plays a very active role in the facilitation of the drug trade but then so do our major banks by accommodating it (I know people here will disagree re bitcoins role generally as currency, but this sort of servicing of online drug sites for commission, and the commission taken by our regulated banks, really goes beyond the pale).

    Another way I just thought of to protect your children, might be to watch your kids bank statements. Look for odd round amounts of cash withdrawals ie 100 or 150 or 200.

    Thanks to all for the lovely wishes and thoughts in here and so very sorry to here of the terrible tragedy that caused the death of 17 year old Lily and Mrs Beardsleys young relative who died 30 years ago. Buying a dress for your own childs funeral is terrible. I fell apart when I bought mine and my mother helped me stay together that day, only just. I wouldnt buy black – not for one so young.

    All parents of this youth this age need to be afraid and forwarned, and yes the children, particularly young males, think they are immortal and it wont happen to them. I am now scared for my neices. Two lovely girls oldest is 15 – has only just started on facebook. My brother told her after this “no facebook unless I am a friend” and he told me she cried for four hours when he said that. I said to my brother “she will get over it – just stick to it”.

  202. Aliice

    wreckage just one last comment

    Grumbles: That’s a real point here: if the kid had bought his high off Pfizer, he wouldn’t have died.

    These online drug sites like silk road (shut down thank god) and then Sheep and BMR sprang up very fast after Silk Roads closure. Both Sheep and BMR(?sic) both closed because their systems couldnt handle the exodus from Silk Road and both got hacked and lost all their bitcoins (good) and then supposedly shut down. As to what has sprung up to take their place who knows? The kids would.
    The point I was trying to make actually is that these sites WERE selling EVERYTHING both prescription and non prescription and drugs made by manufacturers like Pfizer, Roche as well – actually everything. I dont know how black market dealers get these supposedly legal drugs except perhaps by bribing chemists in third world countries and then on selling online? Make no mistake you could buy anything and I am sure whilst you may not die from an overdose of a Pfizer drug (who says?) you will if you mix things. If you read the drug forums online there are no end of idiots advising mixes (I take this to get high, take this to extend the high, and then take X to help the come down). Madness everywhere with this and all online.

  203. JC

    Alice

    Questions.

    Do you really think drug sales would slow down if Bitcoin or these drug sites were closed down? You really think there wasn’t a market before bitcoin or the web?

    Yes or no?

  204. .

    Alice

    I doubt you can keep up with people opening up new websites, on the internet, let alone the dark web or with a TOR browser.

  205. 2dogs

    I think what can be done is for the RBA to provide a better alternative. People aren’t trusting the banks, but that doesn’t mean they need an untraceable alternative.

    If the RBA could issue some AUD as eCurrency, and other central banks likewise, the competition could help to drive out BitCoin.

  206. Aliice

    JC

    Do you really think drug sales would slow down if Bitcoin or these drug sites were closed down? You really think there wasn’t a market before bitcoin or the web?

    Yes or no?

    Actually JC yes I do because Bitcoin technology and website technology such as Silk Road, Sheep etc (and the strategic alliance these site have obvioulsy formed with Bitcoin technology) makes it easier for two bit sellers without the wherewithall to set up IT systems to hide themselves able to operate anonymously online. That means “the crap comes from anywhere across the globe” very easily.
    I think there is also an opportunity cost in seaching for the man on the street to sell it to you. Its inconvenient. You have to search from yukky or dangerous people. That way deters a lot of buyers from the search. The online ease removes / reduces that deterrent to experiementation.
    So my answer on two fronts ie buyer perpective and seller perspective -

    Yes I do think drug sales would slow down.

    In answer to your second question. Of course there was a drug market before Bitcoin and online drug websites sprang up in the past 4 years but I think the market was smaller before, and the product range certainly much more limited and it was much less convenient.

  207. Aliice

    Dot

    I doubt you can keep up with people opening up new websites, on the internet, let alone the dark web or with a TOR browser.

    It brings new meaning to the axis of evil in my opinion. TOR, Bitcoin and new online drug websites.
    Break any one link and it will reduce but to me the most effective link to break is TOR. However that is harder to break. The next most effective link is BITCOIN and encryption. The easiest and least effective link to break is to chase after every drug website that opens up. The authorities in various countries seem to me to be chasing their tails doing the latter because they cant keep up. Therefore its a waste of resources.
    China managed to shutdown Bitcoin in their banks. I have therefore selected that option as the best. However I would also like to see the US feds stop subsidising TOR browser. This is not a market we want to be globalised.

  208. .

    I’m not sure how TOR browsers are subsidised, but the concept of mesh webs makes policing of online transactions even more difficult.

  209. Aliice

    Dot from a post on an article on TOR browser
    “According to Wikipedia, Tor is financed from various donations, most of which come from America. 80% of the funding is said to come from the American State Department, the next biggest slice from the Swedish government, and the rest from individuals and other US government departments.
    They do this because their need for security is as high as anyone else’s.
    So, the Americans paid for what was originally an open to all service but now they don’t like it because it it is being used for things they don’t approve of.
    Other American government departments are attacking a system mostly funded by the American government.Even Orwell would be flumoxed.”

  210. You’re a class act Yobbo.

    And you’re a troglodyte spouting off bullshit on a subject you know literally nothing about.

  211. Aliice

    I have to disagree with the comment above Yobbo

    You have never been a class act.

  212. Michael

    Very sorry for your loss. But should we also ban cash, since that is used in 99.99999% of drug trades and is untraceable, whereas bitcoin is traceable, it is not anonymous as widely misreported.

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