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Bitcoin Government Privacy Software Hardware Technology

Venezuela Will Force Bitcoin Miners To Register With the Government (themerkle.com) 152

schwit1 shares a report from The Merkle: No one will be surprised to hear the Venezuelan government isn't too keen on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Since Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can't be regulated or controlled by the government in any official capacity, they could damage the country's brittle economy even further. As a result, the government has imposed new rules for anyone mining cryptocurrency. To be more specific, all miners will now be taxed and required to register with the government. Being taxed is not entirely illogical, but the registration requirement is pretty worrisome, to say the least. The government shouldn't need to know who is doing what in regards to crypto trading and mining. Nevertheless, authorities want to know who is mining, where they are located, and what type of equipment they use. "That'll put food back on the shelves," adds schwit1.
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Venezuela Will Force Bitcoin Miners To Register With the Government

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  • "These days, the American dream is more apt to be realized in South America, in places such as Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, where incomes are actually more equal today than they are in the land of Horatio Alger. Who's the banana republic now?" - Senator Bernie Sanders

    https://www.sanders.senate.gov... [senate.gov]

    • The answer is nobody. Bananas are extinct.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Mining virtual coin needs to use a lot of electricity, so if you are looking for cheap electricity, consider the small kingdom of Brunei

      http://www.des.gov.bn/SitePages/Electricity%20Tariff.aspx

      NEW ELECTRICITY TARIFF STRUCTURE
      0001 kWh to 0600 kWh B$ 0.01 cents
      0601 kWh to 2000 kWh B$ 0.08 cents
      2001 kWh to 4000 kWh B$ 0.10 cents
      4001 kWh and Above B$ 0.12 cents

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Sounds like the US dodged a bullet with that guy.

      • Well, whether a dud bombshell is that much better...

        • by Anonymous Coward

          4% economic growth seems like a better choice than Venezuela-levels of poverty.

          • Are you 4% richer or the rich? Ya know, that works in Venezuela, too, if you're part of the government cronies, you're by no means starving.

              • Yes, I always go to CNS News when I want to get my biased facts to support the right.

              • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @09:09AM (#55767745)

                Unemployment is down? Great. How about earnings?

                People need money. Not employment. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who finds enough things to do with my time, what I need is money. If you allow me to hold slaves, I am fairly sure I can ensure 100% of them will be working.

                • That part is coming, that's why they just lowered the tax brackets and changed withholding so that you have more takehome pay

                  • And who pays for that tax break?

                    • In the end, we all do, through inflation.

                      In fact, I consider that not a half bad idea. If it works, governments should retire debt and end income taxes by imposing measured money inflation.

                      It worked for Zimbabwe, didn't it?

                • by mjwx ( 966435 )

                  Unemployment is down? Great. How about earnings?

                  People need money. Not employment. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who finds enough things to do with my time, what I need is money. If you allow me to hold slaves, I am fairly sure I can ensure 100% of them will be working.

                  This, you can do all kinds of funky calculations to show different employment figures (either to make the govt of the day look good or bad), but the real test is how much disposable income you have (money after taxes) and how much discretionary income you have (money after taxes and essentials). Ultimately we want more people to have a high level of discretionary income.

      • by Rei ( 128717 )

        To be fair "these days [senate.gov]" was referring to 2011, when that article by Sanders was written. A time when the Venezuelan economy was rebounding [wordpress.com]. Two years before Maduro was even sworn in.

        • by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @07:04AM (#55767435)

          Even 2011, Venezuela was awful; it just was able to paper it over with huge oil exports. Then the bottom fell out of oil prices and Venezuela's lottery prize ran out.

        • by goose-incarnated ( 1145029 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @07:20AM (#55767465) Journal

          To be fair "these days [senate.gov]" was referring to 2011, when that article by Sanders was written. A time when the Venezuelan economy was rebounding [wordpress.com]. Two years before Maduro was even sworn in.

          To be really fair, when someone predicts something and their prediction turns out accurate, then their hypothesis is *probably* correct.

          Like if, for example, someone in 2011 said "Socialist policies don't really work, mostly", and Sanders points to Venezuela as an argument that they do indeed work, the future collapse of Venezuela provides support for the statement "Socialist policies don't really work, mostly", not for whatever counter-argument Sanders was attempting to make.

          Another example to clarify: if I were to say, right now, that BTC is not really a currency and you point to its use by $fraction of retailers as proof that it is a currency, any future decline in BTC acceptance by retailers adds support for my assertion, not for your counter-argument. A future rise in % BTC acceptance by retailers may provide the support for your counter-argument, but current cherry-picked examples do not.

          Predictive power beats single-data-point examples when proving or disproving a hypothesis. Pointing to a single example only works when the assertion is an existentialist one ("All $FOO are unworkable" needs only a single counter-example to disprove, while "$FOO is not long-term viable" cannot be disproved with a single counter-example).

          • by Rei ( 128717 )

            To be really fair, when someone predicts something and their prediction turns out accurate, then their hypothesis is *probably* correct.

            So if I predict "Company A's stock will rise and become huge!", and then the next day someone blows up Company A's headquarters in a terrorst attack, is that my fault that the prediction turned out bad? Heck, Sanders isn't even making a prediction, just an observation about the present.

            Most of the disastrous policies that led to Venezuela's plunge were enacted under Maduro.

            • by PrimaryConsult ( 1546585 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @09:41AM (#55767881)

              That's the inherent flaw of centrally planned economies, though. A small number of idiots can tank an entire country. In a capitalist country, a large number of competing idiots have to simultaneously ignore facts and reason, and all make the same move, in order to tank the country. Our closest recent example was the banking crisis, and even then, there were still winners - all the smaller banks that were like "lol wtf?" at the sub prime mortgages and stayed out of that game. As well as any individuals with precious metals stashed away. When things are traded at what they are worth, it's difficult to make wealth disappear. In this regard planned economies make David Copperfield jealous.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            To be really fair, when someone predicts something and their prediction turns out accurate, then their hypothesis is *probably* correct.

            Nope. That's a faulty way of thinking, and easily refuted. For example, I can predict that the sun will rise tomorrow, because Apollo won't be late pulling his chariot across the sky since he has a Sony alarm clock. An accurate prediction is not a good indicator of a hypothesis actually being correct at all, and assuming such is a perilous risk.

            Like if, for example, someone in 2011 said "Socialist policies don't really work, mostly", and Sanders points to Venezuela as an argument that they do indeed work, the future collapse of Venezuela provides support for the statement "Socialist policies don't really work, mostly", not for whatever counter-argument Sanders was attempting to make.

            Nope. Recall the above. You have to look at causality in a much more careful scrutiny. For example, Sanders could be wrong about Venezuela enacting Socialist

          • by Freischutz ( 4776131 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @09:05AM (#55767729)

            To be fair "these days [senate.gov]" was referring to 2011, when that article by Sanders was written. A time when the Venezuelan economy was rebounding [wordpress.com]. Two years before Maduro was even sworn in.

            To be really fair, when someone predicts something and their prediction turns out accurate, then their hypothesis is *probably* correct.

            Like if, for example, someone in 2011 said "Socialist policies don't really work, mostly", and Sanders points to Venezuela as an argument that they do indeed work, the future collapse of Venezuela provides support for the statement "Socialist policies don't really work, mostly", not for whatever counter-argument Sanders was attempting to make.

            Another example to clarify: if I were to say, right now, that BTC is not really a currency and you point to its use by $fraction of retailers as proof that it is a currency, any future decline in BTC acceptance by retailers adds support for my assertion, not for your counter-argument. A future rise in % BTC acceptance by retailers may provide the support for your counter-argument, but current cherry-picked examples do not.

            Predictive power beats single-data-point examples when proving or disproving a hypothesis. Pointing to a single example only works when the assertion is an existentialist one ("All $FOO are unworkable" needs only a single counter-example to disprove, while "$FOO is not long-term viable" cannot be disproved with a single counter-example).

            The FUBAR otherwise known as the Venezuelan economy is what happens when you over-leverage your economy and bet on oil prices permanently remaining at an all time high. Conflating Bernie's brand of social democracy with Chavista style socialism and then pointing at Vesezuela as an example that Bernie's ideas don't work is simplistic to say the least.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Sanders and his facsimile in the UK Corbyn are wrong about the South American paradise. Yet neither one of them or their supporters will face up to reality.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Venezuela? Bernie wants us to be like Venezuela? The country is freaking destroying itself! Ah, well, I always knew Bernie was nucking futz.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        Yes, because the GOP are doing such a great job at the moment lowering the tax rate massively for their rich donors while screwing over the poor and middle-class (what's left of it). The president is a uncaring racist who doesn't understand basic economics, is trying to make as much money while being president as possible, is going around destabilizing the world, and only really wants to get rid of all immigrants and start a war with North Korea.

        But Bernie, who wants national health care, is the one who is

        • by johanw ( 1001493 )

          Then be angry at the DNC who sabotaged Bernie's election as presidential candidate and elected the only idiot able to loose from Trump.

    • It would pay handsomely to buy Bernie and all of his supporters one-way tickets to Venezuela, where they can achieve their version of the American Dream. Leave America to real Americans who know how to work for a living.

      And yes, I am aware of the immense difference in my views since I started posting on slashdot, using my online name from college.

      • Well look at you. All it took was a salary to turn you from a marxist to a capitalist. Maybe you were just in it for yourself all along.

        • To be exact, it took a salary to turn me from a marxist to a capitalist, then loss of a salary to turn me back to a marxist, then 10 years of hourly wage to turn me into a distributist. Perhaps, when I go back to being on a large salary next year, I'll be back to being a capitalist, but I doubt it. The problem with capitalism is the same as the problem with Marxism: it's a pyramid scheme. The tiny minority at the top live in luxury and don't do a whole lot of useful work, while everybody below them toil

  • Bitcoin = freedom (Score:3, Insightful)

    by johannesg ( 664142 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @06:22AM (#55767309)

    The only party that might get damaged is the government. The people of Venezuela can at least use bitcoin as a way to store their value, and to conduct trade, free of the hyperinflation their government imposes on them with its rampant spending. For them bitcoin is a gift from heaven, a way out from their broken system.

    The government, OTOH, should definitely be worried. Bitcoin offers no way for them to print money, so as their nation switches away from the old coin, government income will dwindle to nothing. They will be left with a valueless coin, and therefore without the means to effectively control their country.

    And Venezuela is only the first country to go down this road. Eventually _all_ nations will end up in the same spot, as people will generally prefer bitcoin (which is free from inflation) over whatever local currency they are now stuck with. Governments that wake up to this in time will try to put a stop to it, using whatever draconian measures they can get away with. The people, who will have a major part of their wealth in bitcoin, will fight them.

    It will be interesting to see who will win.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Except Bitcoin is going through hyperinflation right now. With massive swings in value, outrageous transaction fees, and weeks to process transactions.

      It doesn't do you any good if it takes 9 days to process a transaction, which is what it currently is taking. Bitcoin is going up in value due to speculators, but you have to hold on to it as it takes 7-10 days to actually be able to sell what you got.

      The futures market should help stabilize it as the big speculators will be money there. It is also why for

      • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @08:31AM (#55767637)

        Except Bitcoin is going through hyperinflation right now. With massive swings in value, outrageous transaction fees, and weeks to process transactions.

        The sad thing is that, even though those points are true, it's still more stable and reliable than Venezuela's currency.

        • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @10:21AM (#55768097) Homepage

          Venezuela, for all practical understanding, is a failed state! But the most insulting thing I've read this morning was this little nugget

          "Since Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can't be regulated or controlled by the government in any official capacity, they could damage the country's brittle economy even further"

          Dude, it's DONE!!!! It's OVER. Christ almighty, let it go people. The only way Venezuela will change with with a revolution, that or the government can remain a festering rotting corpse.

          "...damage the countries brittle economy" You can't break what's already broken. In fact, starting over is the only answer. Pull the plug already on the Bolívar and be done with it!!!

          • They can't let it go because then they would be forced to acknowledge that socialism doesn't work. Instead, we'll be fed stories of plucky leaders struggling to find a place for their little country on the global stage despite the nefarious machinations of the eebil Bankers and Corporatists.
    • Bitcoin offers no way for them to print money, so as their nation switches away from the old coin, government income will dwindle to nothing.

      Stupid statement #1. The problems of Venezuela are not rooted in them printing money. The problems are far more diverse [wikipedia.org] and numerous.

      They will be left with a valueless coin, and therefore without the means to effectively control their country.

      Stupid statement #2. Even if they cannot revive the bolivar they can simply use another fiat currency like the dollar or the euro. Countries experiencing hyperinflation do this commonly for periods of time. It isn't a cure all but sometimes it is a useful tool.

      And Venezuela is only the first country to go down this road.

      Stupid statement #3. Venezuela is not the first country to experience hyperinflation and bitcoin will not save t

      • by Anonymous Coward

        There was a lot of stupid in the grandparent post, but BTC does have a reasonable argument for being free from inflation. The supply of bitcoin is limited which makes it deflationary, assuming human wealth will continue to increase.

    • Hmm...now that is an interesting idea hiding in there. Say you have a country that has at least one waterfall. Make a centralized blockchain currency, limited to only the government mining it, and base all your government income on mining coins in a mint connected to a waterwheel driven turbine. Eliminate all taxes, new currency gets added to your economy in a hyperinflationary but quasi-predictable way, and all government services are funded forever.

      Now that is a dream that might merge my current distri

    • A Ponzi Scheme will not help out Venezuela in any way.

  • That's all they need, another statute to violate the people's rights. This is one that they don't even have a way to enforce.

    -jcr

    • Of course they have a way. Where does the miner get his electricity?
      When in the US potgrowers can be found by their electricity usage, why not in Venezuela?
      Unless someone dams a river in the jungle and imports generators from GE or Siemens (both are massively laying of people since no one buys big generators anymore) there is always a way to find miners. At least miners above hobbyists.

  • This is what happens when you run out of other people's money that you were using to pay for the "free stuff" you were giving away.

    You have to double down on shakedown schemes.

    The only thing sustainable in Venezuela under the suffocating blanket of dying socialism is starvation and disease.

    Are you really going to argue socialism could have worked in Venezuela had it been "done properly"?

    <SARCASM>Yeah, right. Sure it would have.</SARCASM>

    Do you have the brains to even ask why you have to do that

  • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Tuesday December 19, 2017 @08:19AM (#55767611)

    > Being taxed is not entirely illogical

    Whatever services government provides must be paid for somehow. Taxation is not only logical but inevitable.

    > but the registration requirement is pretty worrisome, to say the least.

    Since crypto is being used to subvert the government-controlled economic system... registration is not only logical but inevitable.

    >The government shouldn't need to know who is doing what in regards to crypto trading and mining. ...the opinion of people attempting cheat their government with crypto trading and mining.

    The problem is political mismanagement of the economy, but you don't fix that by removing all economic control from the government unless you want things to get worse.

  • The Chavez family has billions in assets. Is that getting redistributed at all?
  • No one will be surprised to hear the Venezuelan government isn't too keen on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

    I am. In fact I'm astonished, because only last week the Venezuelan government announced that it will develop its own cryptocurrency (backed by natural resources, apparently, although I'm not sure how that will work).

  • Venezuela, unfortunately, has a central bank like we do. The currency in that country has crashed, such that millions of citizens want to get out of the Venezuelan currency and use dollars/pesos/anything else. The government has prevented this by 'fixing' the currency to the dollar to ensure a very bad exchange rate, trapping the citizens into using a worthless currency that can't buy them much of anything. Bitcoin has been enabling transactions, allowing some of the poorest in that country to buy bread, mi
  • Well, a government should not oppress it's people. That said. The people of Venesuela might in unision, accept donations of bitcoin miners, and convert their vast resource of oil into bitcoin to alleviate their debt to international bankers and restore prosperity to the region. Just don't borrow from international bankers ever again.

  • From the summary:

    Since Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can't be regulated or controlled by the government in any official capacity, they could damage the country's brittle economy even further.

    If a competing currency can "damage" an economy, it's already damaged. The competition just makes the damage more conspicuous, by allowing people additional choices, choices they sometimes choose to take.

    Remember the Soviet Union and East Germany? The people running their governments tried to quash competing currencies, too.

    Golly. What's the common denominator, here?

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp

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