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Bitcoin Privacy Your Rights Online

RMS Calls For "Truly Anonymous" Payment Alternative To Bitcoin 287

Posted by samzenpus
from the don't-follow-the-money dept.
BitVulture writes "Richard Stallman took time to air his views on the crypto-currency that has become virtually as valuable as gold. In an interview with Russian media giant RT, Stallman praised Bitcoin for allowing people to 'send money to someone without getting the permission of a payment company'. But he also warned against a major weakness of Bitcoin and called for the development of 'a system for truly anonymous payment' online."
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RMS Calls For "Truly Anonymous" Payment Alternative To Bitcoin

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  • by thatkid_2002 (1529917) on Monday December 02, 2013 @03:06AM (#45572597)
    Zerocoin is an extension to Bitcoin. It has been implemented in some altcoin(s) already IIRC.
    http://zerocoin.org/ [zerocoin.org]
    • There are so many kinds of altcoins that they are no longer funny.

      From litecons to worldcoins to feathrecoins to bbq to your "zerocoins" ... which one of them will survive, and worse, which one of them are pure scams ?

      • Zerocoin is an *extension* to Bitcoin - if it is accepted as part of Bitcoin then it will be part of Bitcoin. Because it has been developed as a library (and documented) altcoins can use it too. TLDR: it doesn't matter which coin comes out on top because they can all use it.
        • by gl4ss (559668)

          how does it work then? mixes up the coins? and by extension do you mean that 50%-100% of bitcoin users would have to start using it now or that you can just use it with your transactions now?

          by the way, just developing an anonymous payment platform is shit easy(just take money in and send money out). being allowed to operate one is not!(unless you're called western union).

          developing a new crypto money that would gain the acceptance of bitcoin though is rather hard, so looking into how to anonymize/mix up bi

  • ZeroCoin (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 02, 2013 @03:17AM (#45572629)

    So RMS wants the same thing as everyone else in the Crypto-Currency community. Good for him (If only he would contribute something other than a desire...). I only know of one design that gives both anonymity and decentralization, and thats ZeroCoin [zerocoin.org] which has major performance problems (it is not currently scaleable in any practical sense). In my opinion bitcoin does not scale well either, but at least it scales drastically further than ZeroCoin.

    David Chaum's Digital Cash [wikipedia.org] provides anonymity without decentralization, and bitcoin provides decentralization without anonymity.

    Reminds me of how RMS wants Emacs to become WYSIWG [gnu.org], but seems opposed to using existing solutions, or implementing it himself, or actually making a feature list or design for it himself. RMS is good at taking positions on issues, and does a good job representing his particular viewpoint, but I wouldn't expect much more out of him.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Chaum is another weirdy beardy, and so paranoid that he makes RMS look like a beacon of sanity.
      We need more stable people in the geek community. Stable people with people skills who can code like gods.
      We need to up our game.

    • Re:ZeroCoin (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Vintermann (400722) on Monday December 02, 2013 @03:48AM (#45572703) Homepage

      It's disappointing that Stallman buys into this pipe dream.

      Bitcoin worked (works) because it's not anonymous. Fundamentally, if you have dirty coin, you need someone with clean coins to help you. There's no reason people with clean coins should help you.

      The zerocoin proposal is akin to an agreement that everyone should trade their bikes one for one upon request. Sure, that'd be great for bike thieves - that hot bike you just stole you can just trade for some else's clean bike!

      Would that work? Sure, it would work. It would make bikes anonymous, and overcome the problem that they are identifiable (with serial numbers, colors, etc.). The question is what the hell would be in in for legitimate bike owners?

      Stallman should accept that sharing and modifying software is one thing, sharing and modifying information that is used as a token of agreement (passwords, signatures, contracts, licenses, "written by Richard Stallman" notices etc.) quite another.

      Transfer of property claims are not a private matter - not if you want everyone else to respect those property claims.

      From a practical perspective, anonymous payment would legalise corruption, legalise money laundering (to the disadvantage of everyone having more money in the legitimate economy than in the criminal one), and legalise tax evasion. You got to be a pretty kooky libertarian type to think that's a good idea.

      • Would that work? Sure, it would work. It would make bikes anonymous, and overcome the problem that they are identifiable (with serial numbers, colors, etc.). The question is what the hell would be in in for legitimate bike owners?

        There is a difference between short-term and long-term benefits. In the short term, there is no benefit for someone "swapping bikes". In the case of digital currency, there is no short-term benefit for swapping coins, but there is no loss either.

        In the long term however, having anonymous currency removes opportunities for oppression and corruption in government, manipulation and injustice. The bike-swappers enjoy a stronger, more robust government which has less opportunity to screw with their lives.

        Of cour

        • by GauteL (29207) on Monday December 02, 2013 @05:00AM (#45572833)

          "In the case of digital currency, there is no short-term benefit for swapping coins, but there is no loss either."

          Are you kidding? There's a major loss; making theft virtually untraceable and thus making theft considerably more attractive. Now even the not-so-clever criminals in western easy-to-reach-by-the-law countries can get in on the online theft game. Not just those that are good at hiding their tracks or are in countries that won't cooperate with your own country's police.

          If someone steals your digital coins, they may end up virtually (ha!) anywhere, with little or no chance of ever find them again.

          This is what we had with a cash-only economy, except much, much worse, since the thieves don't have to be physically close to you or your money. For most people, moving away from a cash-only economy has had the great benefit that their accumulated wealth is much better protected.

          Also, corruption (which anonymous currency is fantastic for) is hardly a "friendly thought-crime which doesn't affect others".

          • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

            Potentially safer for non-criminals though. At the moment if you accept BTC it is hard to know where it came from and if it was stolen. Being decentralized there isn't a central point where lists of allegedly stolen Bitcoins are kept. The "allegedly" part is important too because for coins to be declared legally stolen there has to be some kind of legal process, and it would only apply in certain jurisdictions, and may not be recognized by everyone.

            Anonymous currency would at least protect people from havin

          • If someone steals your digital coins, they may end up virtually (ha!) anywhere, with little or no chance of ever find them again.

            Yes. That's the way cash works. It's a consequence of anonymity. The answer to it is, don't leave your cash where it can get stolen. If your system doesn't allow for unattended tokens to be stolen, don't call it digital cash.

            Bitcoin is the most useless thing ever. It's not as good as cash for anonymity, not as good as credit cards for acceptance. It's the dot-com stock of the 20

        • by thoth (7907)

          In the long term however, having anonymous currency removes opportunities for oppression and corruption in government, manipulation and injustice.

          Wait, what?

          Anonymous currency makes corruption easier. Corporations and the wealthy wouldn't have to bother with lobbyists if they could funnel anonymous money straight to their congressman.

      • Re:ZeroCoin (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Monday December 02, 2013 @05:46AM (#45572927)

        The same applies for cash, but people dont hesitate to use it. They dont really see it as clean cash and dirty cash. Cash is cash.

        • To add to that, you might already know the stats about % of notes with traces of cocaine in them. I dont see it bothering people. Well they never know if the cash they have is dirty or clean. The same applies here, they dont know if the coins they have are dirty or clean, they just see at as any other physical coin.

        • Re:ZeroCoin (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Tom (822) on Monday December 02, 2013 @06:29AM (#45573075) Homepage Journal

          But cash is hard to automate. Washing $100 you stole from someone's wallet clean is easy, you just go shopping. But washing $1 mio. you picked up in a drug deal or bank robbery isn't that easy anymore.

          • Bingo.

            I recently had to get a home mortgage. I had to identify every deposit into my bank account of more than a couple hundred dollars.

            The only way I could do that was to wait a month and not deposit any checks into the account during that time to get a "clean" statement.

            Another thing: Try withdrawing $10K from a bank account that you own in the U.S. They'll give you the third degree. Apparently they have to report large withdrawals of cash to the Feds.

            • by Tom (822)

              Same thing in Europe. Even the same limit - withdraw or deposit above 10k âuros and you are in for a bit of paperwork. It's not a big hassle, more of an inconvenience, so I'm not singing the "evil government nazi control freaks" song because I realize that the opposite of control is not only freedom, but also anarchy, crime and (after a while) tyranny.

              (and before anyone trolls, of course that doesn't mean I'm all for total control. Part of growing up is understanding that the real world is complex, has

              • by Tom (822)

                10k Ãuros

                Really? /. still doesn't have UTF-8 support? That was a € sign. Are you fucking kidding me?

        • by TeknoHog (164938)

          The same applies for cash, but people dont hesitate to use it. They dont really see it as clean cash and dirty cash. Cash is cash.

          Yup. There needs to remain a way for people to use cash, without letting a single "dirty" transaction taint the whole (block)chain of transactions.

          This is why I have a problem with money laundering laws -- it's not the money's fault if it's being used for something illegal. Money laundering laws are like monitoring everyone's Internet traffic for the off chance that something illegal takes place online, surely we'd never do anything like that...

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        Basically anonymous money allows digital currency to sink tax havens. So on the one hand both anonymous money and tank will have the same core function servicing criminal activity, on the other hand when digital currency is attacked, third party persons tend not to suffer as all those people who live in tax havens but are not directly or indirectly involved in financial services to facilitate crime.

        The only acceptable 'Anonymous' money is free labour, for example those who already donate their efforts to

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        by that logic soon enough all bitcoins would be marked "dirty".

        nobody refuses to take euros or dollars just because there's cocaine traces on them.

    • Re:ZeroCoin (Score:4, Insightful)

      by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortexNO@S ... t-retrograde.com> on Monday December 02, 2013 @04:52AM (#45572807) Homepage

      So RMS wants the same thing as everyone else in the Crypto-Currency community. Good for him (If only he would contribute something other than a desire...).
      ...
      Reminds me of how RMS wants Emacs to become WYSIWG [gnu.org], but seems opposed to using existing solutions, or implementing it himself, or actually making a feature list or design for it himself.

      Maybe you missed that whole GNU project thing. He contributed so much he can barely type without a special low pressure keyboard anymore because his hands are ruined from all the contributing ungrateful fucks like you ignore. Now he contributes the best way he can via public awareness, speeches, etc. When he's dead I bet you'll be bitching about how his corpse doesn't even advocate for free software anymore.

      When I was a teen I only new a little ASM and some BASIC. I wanted to make games with smooth scrolling graphics, but BASIC was too slow. I complained on local a BBS's BASIC board about the predicament and the sarcastic response was, "If BASIC is too slow, make your own damn language." So, with only a rudimentary knowledge of x86 assembly, and not a single programming lesson, I did just that. I had wasted months of fighting to increase performance of my BASIC program: It only took a couple of weeks to make an interpretor and then a simple compiler for my language and it faster than BASIC (didn't need a runtime.exe either). It had just never occurred to me that I could make my own programming language -- or anything wholly in ASM for that matter. My sarcastic friend was impressed and surprised that I had heeded his bad advice, and we both sold software on Compuserve built with my language for years afterwards, no expensive C compiler / license required. The point is that making a suggestion, or getting the idea out there is sometimes all it takes to cause something to spring into existence.

      RMS is good at taking positions on issues, and does a good job representing his particular viewpoint, but I wouldn't expect much more out of him.

      So, he's good at what he does, and though he doesn't claim to do the grunt work of implementing or designing stuff anymore, we shouldn't expect him to? Gotcha. Additionally: You're essentially in agreement with RMS if you think that we need a workable anonymous crypto currency -- You essentially said so yourself by mentioning that Zerocoin has performance problems. Hey, maybe a protocol that was built for anonymity from the ground up wouldn't suffer such performance problems? His advice when re-implementing a UNIX tool is to aim for different goals. If theirs is fast, aim for less memory consumption instead; If theirs is processor intensive, aim for stability instead; or vise versa -- This way the implementations will be very different even if they serve the same ends. In other words, what RMS and I know is that just because Zerocoin or BASIC exists doesn't mean there's only one way to skin the cat.

  • Bitcoin has been around for quite a while, and nothing special seemed to be happening with it. Then along came the Wikileaks release of information that genuinely infuriated the United States. All of a sudden, PayPal, several imitators and all the major credit card companies decided not to process donations to the organization.

    Time passes, and people who might not want the United States to have final say over their financial arrangements were just starting to move lazily toward some form of anonymous money transfer.

    Then the Snowden situation arose, and those people got their noses rubbed in the fact that the kind of spying and control they were worried about in a vague way was on-going, comprehensive, and aimed at everybody from heads of state to some granny who attended an Occupy demonstration.

    So they got the message: We need a way to move money anonymously, and we need it right this minute.

    Enter Bitcoin. (dramatic music)

    • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday December 02, 2013 @03:40AM (#45572685)

      Governments not only back money, they also want to control it. For good reason (at least good from their point of view). At the very least they want to control its flow. Money is a tool for control, maybe the easiest. You can incite people, you can convince people, you can inspire people to do your bidding, but the easiest way to make them do it is money. Given enough of it, you will almost certainly find enough people to do what you want to happen.

      Now, if you not only control who you can give money, but who anyone else can give money, control is yours. Not only can you make people do your bidding, you can deny others the same.

      • by jythie (914043)
        Something else to keep in mind, not all of that control is malevolent. One of the historical problems with unregulated economic systems is they tend to be notoriously unstable and have even worse class divides then we have today. People often look back on those times and talk about how great they were, but for the most part only the wealthy and the impact the system had on them makes it into the popular mythology. So while we might feel iffy about some 3rd party being in charge of our fates like that,
    • by mrbluze (1034940) on Monday December 02, 2013 @03:56AM (#45572721) Journal

      We need a way to move money anonymously, and we need it right this minute.

      1. Cash
      2. Barter
      3. Disposable credit cards purchased with cash

      But what about Bitcoin? It allows you to stow away massive amounts of money in an untouchable way... kind of nice but it's not without its problems. Is it in society's interest that people can move huge amounts of money without them or the government knowing? It can be very much to our detriment, such as being unable to stem the proceeds of crime that flow out of a country into another, unable to check the movement of money by foreign government sponsored subversion, and so forth. I know that nobody has been realistically able to stop the illegal transportation of gold, but why should we make the task of money laundering easier than before?

      • by anagama (611277)

        In Canada and Europe there are some services like UKash: https://www.ukash.com/en-GB/ [ukash.com]

        You go up to the counter in a minimart, hand over cash, get a ticket with a number on it, sort of like an account number I guess. You can then spend that online till you are out of money providing of course that the site accepts UKash. https://www.ukash.com/en-GB/whats-ukash/ [ukash.com]

        I don't know if there is anything like that in the US, but it comes close to anonymous ... of course there's the security video footage at the store

        • by anagama (611277)

          oops, I meant to replace the first link with the second link, not double up. Anyway, the first link is more marketingish, the second link is a little more informative about the process, although what I said above basically outlines it.

      • Disposable credit cards purchased with cash

        No such beast in Australia AFAICT. You can pay cash for the card but you have to activate it online with the usual intrusive questioning.

        • by mrbluze (1034940)
          You can pay cash for the card and load it at the counter with cash. No questions asked.
      • But what about Bitcoin? It allows you to stow away massive amounts of money in an untouchable way...

        erm... amounts of money which today may seem massive and tomorrow very very easily be a fucking LOT less massive!

        Also, amounts of money which, when you view the value of bitcoins at the exchanges seem massive but when you try to cash in a fuckton of bitcoins suddenly the value shrinks a lot.

    • by Vintermann (400722) on Monday December 02, 2013 @03:58AM (#45572723) Homepage

      Bitcoin money transfers are not anonymous. They're pseudonymous - at best.

      A good example is wikileaks itself. In order to receive donations, it needs to have a public address. They have, and it's completely transparent - we can see exactly how much Wikileaks has received at that address: 3,795.80380943 bitcoins. They have a balance on it of 1,111.97135027 bitcoins, or roughly a million dollars at today's prices.

      Think about it. There's no economy that's more transparent to the public than the bitcoin economy. And that's a good thing. In the conventional economy, banks, credit card companies and governments can see more than we can see in the block chain, but it's completely hidden for us.

      Stop trying to fight or deny the transparency of bitcoin. It's a strength, not a weakness. Governments could have effectively stopped bitcoin payments to wikileaks too, by making it a crime to give or receive money from wikileaks. Since everything is so transparent, that would have been really effective. But it would also be bare-faced tyranny. It's much more convenient for them to be able to suppress wikileaks by having private companies make the decision to not offer service, officially on their own.

    • Bitcoin has been around for quite a while, and nothing special seemed to be happening with it. Then along came the Wikileaks release of information that genuinely infuriated the United States. All of a sudden, PayPal, several imitators and all the major credit card companies decided not to process donations to the organization.

      Time passes, and people who might not want the United States to have final say over their financial arrangements were just starting to move lazily toward some form of anonymous money transfer.

      Then the Snowden situation arose, and those people got their noses rubbed in the fact that the kind of spying and control they were worried about in a vague way was on-going, comprehensive, and aimed at everybody from heads of state to some granny who attended an Occupy demonstration.

      So they got the message: We need a way to move money anonymously, and we need it right this minute.

      Enter Bitcoin. (dramatic music)

      In addition, there was Cyprus, where the banks were threating to take a bunch of people's money.

  • Paper money (Score:3, Informative)

    by x0ra (1249540) on Monday December 02, 2013 @03:22AM (#45572645)
    It already exists, it's called bank note and coins, especially the US Dollars. Why try to re-invent the wheel ? It is the main way to exchange goods anonymously in the whole world. As long as enough people believe in and trust its value, it will continue to run. While some anarchist might argue that there is no place for a state controlled money, this argument is not really valid here. That argument has more to do with the fact that too much rely on it. What we are trying to assert here is the level of anonymity of the currency.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      bank notes are 'online'?
      • by x0ra (1249540)
        The problem is to create an anonymous currency, not whether or not it is online or IRL. That being said, there will be no anonymous online currency without online anonymity, something that nobody (ie. neither tech companies or government) wants in these time of erosion of public liberties.
        • by Eskarel (565631)

          Regular people don't really want pure online anonymity either. They might think they want it, but that anonymity comes with a pretty major price.

    • This is about an anonymous virtual currency, though. At the moment, as far as I'm aware, it's impossible to 100% anonymously send money online. As for using bank notes and coins, that's obviously not an option online and not all transactions nowadays can be done in-person cash-in-hand.
    • I tried to use it to pay online, but my business partner complained the bills I faxed ain't legal tender.

      • Re:Paper money (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mrbluze (1034940) on Monday December 02, 2013 @04:05AM (#45572739) Journal

        I tried to use it to pay online, but my business partner complained the bills I faxed ain't legal tender.

        This is a good point. Credit card companies and banks use promisory notes (credit) and we trust them that the electronic transactions become real at the other end.

        The problem with Bitcoin is it is a floating currency and it is prone to price fluctuation that means its meaningfulness as a means of monetary exchange is currently dwarfed by its speculative importance.

        And consider this also: Bitcoin mining depends on processing power. Who has most of that? The very people no one trusts anymore (finally!). Money does not just have to be based on a finite resource, but an honest resource. It needs to be off the grid, independent of power companies (no power, no electricity to do your Bitcoin transactions!), telco's (no internet, no Bitcoin). To store value I would still favor metals, and for day to day anonymous purchasing there are better ways.

      • by JustOK (667959)

        Scan it and send it as an email attachment.

    • by dworz (50185)

      What makes you think bank notes are anonymous? They have serial numbers. I just assume the government scans them at every ATM, Bank and other "trusted" money I/Os...

  • by Loki_1929 (550940) on Monday December 02, 2013 @03:31AM (#45572665) Journal

    Private Online Reserve Notes!

    I have no idea how to implement it, but good things should have good names!

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday December 02, 2013 @03:35AM (#45572673)

    "But then criminals will have a way to transfer money completely anonymously, too"

    Newsflash: They already do. Their "problem" is just that it's costly. They need to employ quite a few mules and split the money. That's fine and dandy if you're getting money from blackmail where it doesn't matter whether you get 90% or 70% of the illegal assets you squeeze out of your patsy, less so if you are trying to run a legitimate business.

    What? Oh, why someone would like to buy anonymously even if it's legit what he buys? Well, maybe because he doesn't want anyone to know that he's buying porn or (legal) drugs, that he buys information certain entities do not want him to have. There's plenty of stuff that is perfectly legal to buy, sell and possess, but embarrassing.

    • What? Oh, why someone would like to buy anonymously even if it's legit what he buys? Well, maybe because he doesn't want anyone to know that he's buying porn or (legal) drugs, that he buys information certain entities do not want him to have. There's plenty of stuff that is perfectly legal to buy, sell and possess, but embarrassing.

      There's also plenty of stuff that is perfectly illegal to buy, sell and possess, and some for very good reasons. For the embarrassing stuff, complete anonymity doesn't help you hiding stuff from your wife, because she still sees money disappearing from bank accounts and you have to explain that. If she doesn't notice that, then your bank will sell you a credit-card like thing where you have to pay in money and then can use it without anyone else knowing.

  • by tfufu (3450769) on Monday December 02, 2013 @03:51AM (#45572711)
    https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=349198.0 [bitcointalk.org] and here is how it works: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=353971 [bitcointalk.org]
  • by gox (1595435) on Monday December 02, 2013 @05:12AM (#45572853)

    No system can guarantee anonymity. Bitcoin transactions are completely traceable. On contrast, DigiCash transactions were completely untraceable. However, neither of these statements tells us about how much anonymity one can achieve using them.

    When you buy Bitcoin from a company by identifying yourself to them, and then directly transfer the money to, say, a publicly known donation address of Wikileaks, you surely are perfectly identifiable. However, anything slightly more complicated than this quickly becomes impractical to analyze. Even with a considerable amount of data, scientists who claim they can trace identities screw up:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/silk-road-satoshi-paper-retraction-2013-11 [businessinsider.com]

    Sure, they can use the system to try to gather some statistics about usage or try to infiltrate Bitcoin services to accumulate as much personal data as possible, but it's quite easy to fool these systems and people who have something to worry about can figure these out easily.

    Let's begin seeing Bitcoin for what it is: A distributed decentralized notarization system. That's all there is to it. You can build all sorts of features on top of this. There are already implemented anonymization solutions, both third party and protocol-level, that work on top of Bitcoin. Or, maybe, what you want is some payment system that supports chargebacks? Sure, that is easy to implement on top of an irreversible payment system; Bitcoin supports different signature schemes at the protocol level. Maybe you don't need a payment system, but want to notarize a document? Sure, you can even use the blockchain to copyright your work. So an and so forth.

  • As valuable as gold (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Monday December 02, 2013 @06:53AM (#45573141) Homepage

    Pretty sure that however many electrons it takes to encode it, Bitcoin's price by mass is a few orders of magnitude more than gold.

    Of course, 1 BTC is roughly 9E-8 of the overall supply (4.8E-9 of the theoretical cap); one ounce of gold is about 1.81E-10 (assuming 171,300 tons of gold in total). As a fraction of world supply, that makes gold still about 1000 times more valuable than BTC.

  • by some old guy (674482) on Monday December 02, 2013 @07:25AM (#45573221)

    As long as any government or criminal has the will and resources to break a security system, it will. This is a 100% certainty. Obfuscation, encryption, and ambiguity merely annoy and inconvenience the bastards. Nothing will stop them except political and/or law enforcement action. Attempts at technical solutions are just bumps in the yellow brick road.

    Given the above, we should be skeptical (OK, cynical) enough to see proposals and products that pretend to solve the problem as just marketing crappola. Somebody is trying to sell something. In this case. RMS is proposing a hurricane-proof fart catcher. Good luck with that.

    • by ljw1004 (764174)

      Do you reckon that police detectives look at crime scenes, sigh, and say that laws will never work to change behavior - there'll always be crime - and the only real solution is a technical one to make the crime impossible in the first place.

      And tech-savy Slashdot readers look at technical measures, sigh, and say that technical measures will never work to change behavior - there'll always be hackers - and the only real solution is a legal one.

  • A lot of the comments here refer to either bip 32 [bitcoin.it] or ZeroCoin [zerocoin.org], with their supporters giving each as a solution to bitcoin anonymity. Can anyone describe the differences for the non-cryptographer?
  • by paiute (550198) on Monday December 02, 2013 @07:40AM (#45573267)
    Stallman died and was taken to Heaven. He looked around a bit, sniffed, and remarked that it was okay, but there were some things that needed to be changed to suit his tastes.
  • by DrXym (126579) on Monday December 02, 2013 @08:31AM (#45573429)
    Services like The Silk Road basically anonymized payments. The site ran a "tumbler" where incoming and outgoing payments were separated. Presumably the site also multiple wallets so incomings went in one wallet and outgoings from another. The wallets could be balanced out with random transactions between them. So anyone tracing it out would have a seriously hard time and could only make weak inferences.

    I assume anyone could run such a service although it would be predominantly used for money laundering and therefore instantly attract the attention of law enforcement. Zero coin sounds like pretty much the same idea but in a more distributed way, to allow people to exchange money for a token and then redeem that token later, separating the transaction chain.

    • by Solozerk (1003785)
      There are several tumblers existing for exactly this purpose. See for example: http://bitcoinfog.com/ [bitcoinfog.com]
      I do not know whether or not they did indeed attract the attention of law enforcement, but since they are running as a tor hidden service and such a tumbler is pretty easy to code/deploy (meaning any such service taken down would be pretty assuredly replaced by 10 others the next day), it is unlikely LE could do anything about it.
      • by DrXym (126579)
        The Silk Road was running in Tor as well and it got taken down. It just depends how high profile the service is and how badly the cops want to shut it down - a cost benefit thing. So if a service was laundering millions of bitcoins then the cops are sure as hell going to run an investigation on it. Also if I were a cop or an intelligence agency, I would be setting up some laundering services of my own. Perhaps some of these services running right now are sting operations.
  • eMunie [emunie.com] looks like a good alternative to Bitcoin. It does not only give a solution to the anonymity issue, but solves a number of other issues with Bitcoin, like the huge block chain size, the long time before a transaction is confirmed and waste of electricity through mining. The start of the production network is expected for the end of January. I'm really looking forward to see if it can hold up to all its promises, but the developer is a really capable and motivated guy (he was the owner of the company t

    • by Teancum (67324)

      It looks interesting, and seems to solve some of my concerns about Bitcoin including some of the poison pills that Satoshi introduced into the protocol (and are now extremely hard to remove precisely because Satoshi put them in). I could go into some details, but the main gist is that Satoshi (whoever that might have been or still is if he ever decides to be active again) had a vision about Bitcoin and didn't like others messing with that vision. Once substantial and valid criticisms of his work started t

  • If RMS would wear shoes if we could guarantee his anonymity when he went to purchase them.

  • Unless somebody is going to re-write IP [ietf.org] and get the entire planet to implement it, it's a fool's errand to try to implement an anonymous system on an inherently non-anonymous network.

    If you want anonymous, use cash.

Two can Live as Cheaply as One for Half as Long. -- Howard Kandel

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