Key Post Why Bitcoin has value

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tecate

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I think it's a valid question to ask.....
Do you express the same curiosity when it comes to the use of cash for criminal purposes? By the way, cash is far less traceable than Bitcoin when its used for illicit purposes. Criminals also use cars - should we ban cars?

In what you cite above - you make my point for me. The bankers started this tar and feathering way back. Yes, cryptocurrency could be used for nefarious activity but that doesn't define it. It's analogous with the internet being branded as an exclusive haven for pedo's back in the day - perpetuated via ignorance.

When you and others brand it so - I'm more than entitled to point out what has become glaringly obvious to many. That the vast majority of illicit funds are laundered and moved around via the traditional banking system. They're facilitators in that.
 
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Leo

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There can be no doubt that widespread fraud and money laundering continue to pervade the conventional financial system. The regulatory systems can be slow to respond as ever more complex schemes are devised. That doesn't mean we should throw away the regulatory frameworks and pretend everything will be better. Cash is of course the easiest format to use, AML/KYC regulations have had an impact there, so that is progress at least.

The fact that there is fraud in the conventional financial system does not somehow excuse illicit activity in the crypto world.

The MIT study was able to confirm 2% of transactions as illicit, 21% as lawful, with the rest unclassified, a number of other studies have put the number of illicit transactions north of 40%. Those studies were all on Bitcoin, other cryptos have done a much better job at protecting anonymity.

I don't think even the most pessimistic of commentators have ever suggested that anything close to 40% of all global transactions using fiat relate to illicit activity. If we were all to chose the features we wanted in money 2.0, which would we choose? Making it easier to carry out illicit activity, or more difficult?
 

tecate

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That doesn't mean we should throw away the regulatory frameworks and pretend everything will be better. Cash is of course the easiest format to use, AML/KYC regulations have had an impact there, so that is progress at least.
We should throw out AML/KYC for good. The americans pushed this in a big way from 9/11 onwards as a weapon. Governments can go fight whatever they want - but there shouldn't be an expectation that it's ok to trample over the rights of ordinary people as they do so.

Other than that, its a ruse to provide for financial surveillance. Whatever doubt you have about the development of decentralised cryptocurrency, you can be 100% sure that sooner than you'd imagine, we will be moving to digital currencies and cash will be taken out of the equation. In that scenario - given your love of AML/KYC, that will mean a reality in which every single thing that you have ever purchased will sit on a database somewhere. I know we have some committed statists here that don't bat an eyelid at this. However, whilst I'm not an anarchist and accept that we need some form of central government, governments are made up of individuals and people in power screw up (consciously or otherwise) all the time. Ergo, it's not smart to hand over that data to anyone.

Other than that, I firmly believe that a world without this would not look any different. You'll disagree - but I'll short circuit that discussion - we simply won't be agreeing on that one.

The fact that there is fraud in the conventional financial system does not somehow excuse illicit activity in the crypto world.
That's not what is being suggested here - its the other way round. As often happens with new technologies (and particularly those that may be perceived as threatening to certain industries or bodies), they're always sensationalised in terms of what invokes fear. AI - is the same - all we hear is it'll take our jobs and the machines will take over. The internet - we were told it was a haven of criminals and pedo's.
So - everyone in crypto understands that there is illicit use. However, they also know that it is being bigged up beyond what it is. It's also not taking into account that we have not reached mass use in any form - and with that such illicit use gets diluted down much further.

Your buddy on here suggested that Bitcoin only had value as a tool of criminals. That's plain wrong.


The MIT study was able to confirm 2% of transactions as illicit, 21% as lawful, with the rest unclassified, a number of other studies have put the number of illicit transactions north of 40%. Those studies were all on Bitcoin, other cryptos have done a much better job at protecting anonymity.
We can rake over the coals once more if you wish. You're 40% study is outdated. Secondly, if MIT couldn't determine the nature of 70%+ of transactions, it calls into question how they managed that in the 'industry reviewed' [sic] study you cited.

I don't think even the most pessimistic of commentators have ever suggested that anything close to 40% of all global transactions using fiat relate to illicit activity.
As above - we have not even gotten anywhere near mass market use yet. Whatever levels there are now will be diluted down as market capitalisation expands over the coming years.

If we were all to chose the features we wanted in money 2.0, which would we choose? Making it easier to carry out illicit activity, or more difficult?
Criminals use cars - should we ban cars? Let governments and authorities go fight crime in every other way. However, to throw out people's financial privacy and trample over that using fighting money laundering as a pretext is not acceptable. The world will not cave in without all that nonsense. You'll disagree - and that's fine.
 

Leo

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We should throw out AML/KYC for good. The americans pushed this in a big way from 9/11 onwards as a weapon. Governments can go fight whatever they want - but there shouldn't be an expectation that it's ok to trample over the rights of ordinary people as they do so.
Right's aren't being trampled on with AML/KYC. The only people really complaining about these regs are criminals and those who chose to take money out of the conventional system using unregulated entities and later thinking they are somehow entitled to bring that back into the conventional system without hurdles.

Whatever doubt you have about the development of decentralised cryptocurrency, you can be 100% sure that sooner than you'd imagine, we will be moving to digital currencies and cash will be taken out of the equation. In that scenario - given your love of AML/KYC, that will mean a reality in which every single thing that you have ever purchased will sit on a database somewhere.
Great, that should have a terrific impact on reducing the black economy that cheats us all of tax revenue. I'm not buying anything illegal, Visa or Mastercard already have records of 95+% of what I spend. I don't buy much of the conspiracy theories, so I have nothing to fear from them knowing 100%.

The internet - we were told it was a haven of criminals and pedo's.
I don't remember anyone ever claiming that 40% of internet activity was criminal or pedo related?


Your buddy on here suggested that Bitcoin only had value as a tool of criminals. That's plain wrong.
Many have claimed that, I didn't. I see is as having a disproportionate amount of illicit use, it facilitates criminals, most particularly cybercriminals (but hey, that's job security for me).

We can rake over the coals once more if you wish. You're 40% study is outdated. Secondly, if MIT couldn't determine the nature of 70%+ of transactions, it calls into question how they managed that in the 'industry reviewed' [sic] study you cited.
The Oxford University study is from 2017, the Sydney study was Decmber 2018, the MIT one was published only 5 months after that. They all publish their methodology, MIT by their own admission took a very conservative approach, and only looked at a very small sample size.

Criminals use cars - should we ban cars? Let governments and authorities go fight crime in every other way. However, to throw out people's financial privacy and trample over that using fighting money laundering as a pretext is not acceptable.
Criminals do use cars, I don't think anyone is suggesting we should ban them. That would be grossly disproportionate. The vast, vast majority of car use is not associated directly with criminal activity.

I never called for crypto currencies to be banned, some folks embedded in financial services or government may be, but I don't think they're in the majority. With criminal use of cars, we equip our police forces with ANPR so they can see car registration details and tax/ insurance details on the registered user, they are informed of criminals operation in their area, etc., all in order to better detect illegal activity and make it more difficult for these criminals to carry out their activities.

What a number of the crypto community is now pushing for is greater anonymity and privacy to the point where regulation is impossible, where the detection of criminal activity becomes impossible. In the car analogy, that would be the equivalent of removing all car registration, driver licensing, insurance and tax databases, removing all speed cameras, and even the ability of the police to stop any motorist behaving in any way what they choose. Essentially, allowing all drivers to completely ignore the law, and drive as they choose with impunity. I don't think that would make our roads safer.
 

tecate

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Right's aren't being trampled on with AML/KYC
They most definitely are - but you're more than entitled to disagree.

The only people really complaining about these regs are criminals and those who chose to take money out of the conventional system using unregulated entities and later thinking they are somehow entitled to bring that back into the conventional system without hurdles.
There are many others who want them gone. Most in the crypto community want them gone.

I don't buy much of the conspiracy theories, so I have nothing to fear from them knowing 100%.
It's not a 'conspiracy theory'. It's indisputable - such data sits on one or more databases and has to be available to certain sections of government/banking, etc.
Perhaps you've had your head in the sand for the last few years but there's a massive debate ongoing about privacy as it applies to social media and big tech. Everyone knows that we have traded off our privacy for convenience. However, the stakes are getting ever higher as the volume and quality of that data is growing exponentially.
Ask the protesters in Hong Kong whether they're happy with that? Ask them why they wouldn't pay with cards for tickets in the metro during protests.
But i guess the thinking on your part is a Fr. Dougal scenario. That's 'far away' right? Small....far away. What happens elsewhere could never ever happen here.

I don't remember anyone ever claiming that 40% of internet activity was criminal or pedo related?
I'm pretty sure I didn't confirm a percentage rate for that. What I did was give you an example where new technology was greeted with fear - and that's what made the headlines - not the positives of what the technology can do.

Many have claimed that, I didn't. I see is as having a disproportionate amount of illicit use, it facilitates criminals, most particularly cybercriminals (but hey, that's job security for me).
Delighted to hear of the job security. Anyway, that's your opinion and you're entitled to it. Mine is that the shock horror of illicit use via Bitcoin has been disproportionately represented.

The Oxford University study is from 2017, the Sydney study was Decmber 2018, the MIT one was published only 5 months after that. They all publish their methodology, MIT by their own admission took a very conservative approach, and only looked at a very small sample size.
Were they all 'industry reviewed' or just the Sydney study?

Criminals do use cars, I don't think anyone is suggesting we should ban them. That would be grossly disproportionate. The vast, vast majority of car use is not associated directly with criminal activity.
Again, you're entitled to hold that view but I disagree. People are being inconvenienced, their financial privacy is being trampled on and they're being financially surveiled via AML/KYC. Other than that, its also playing a role in holding back innovation.

What a number of the crypto community is now pushing for is greater anonymity and privacy to the point where regulation is impossible,
Well, it's happening whether the powers that be like it or not. It operates outside the current system. The only difference is that the rate of development of decentralised crypto will be much, much slower in a completely adversarial scenario.
One of the inherent properties of Bitcoin is the ability to transmit funds without interference from anyone. Trying to regulate that out is absurd. But of course, that's going to be the fireworks we'll have between those two systems over the coming years.
 
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Leo

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They most definitely are - but you're more than entitled to disagree.
And I do.

It's not a 'conspiracy theory'. It's indisputable - such data sits on one or more databases and has to be available to certain sections of government/banking, etc.
I know it does, never disputed it, and I have no issue with it. I choose to use a credit or debit card for the vast majority of my purchases, I'm perfectly aware of the data that gives them. The convenience is more than worth it.


Perhaps you've had your head in the sand for the last few years but there's a massive debate ongoing about privacy as it applies to social media and big tech. Everyone knows that we have traded off our privacy for convenience.
Are you suggesting that Visa are selling all my data to a 3rd party to mine so they can influence me in a certain way or fire advertising at me? If not, it's just more irrelevance.

But i guess the thinking on your part is a Fr. Dougal scenario. That's 'far away' right? Small....far away. What happens elsewhere could never ever happen here.
I work in IT security, I'm very familiar with the data I give away and what I get in return.

I'm pretty sure I didn't confirm a percentage rate for that. What I did was give you an example where new technology was greeted with fear - and that's what made the headlines - not the positives of what the technology can do.
The internet was never greeted with the level of fear you are suggesting. The vast majority or commentary was overwhelmingly positive.

Were they all 'industry reviewed' or just the Sydney study?
The Oxford one was as well, I can find no evidence of the MIT one being reviewed, but then that wasn't really published by MIT was it? It was a carried out by a company with a vested interest in the space in 'collaboration with researchers at MIT'.

Again, you're entitled to hold that view but I disagree. People are being inconvenienced, their financial privacy is being trampled on and they're being financially surveiled via AML/KYC. Other than that, its also playing a role in holding back innovation..
Regular people going around doing regular business have nothing to fear from AML/KYC. People who want to play outside the system will face hurdles getting back into real money. If that's an issue, then don't do it. No one's preventing anyone getting into crypto, the moaning about problems trying to get out of it is an indictment of crypto, not fiat.


Well, it's happening whether the powers that be like it or not.
Great, gangster's paradise!
 

tecate

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I know it does, never disputed it, and I have no issue with it. I choose to use a credit or debit card for the vast majority of my purchases, I'm perfectly aware of the data that gives them. The convenience is more than worth it.
Again, that's your prerogative. I'd sooner maintain my privacy given the choice - but each to their own.

Are you suggesting that Visa are selling all my data to a 3rd party to mine so they can influence me in a certain way or fire advertising at me? If not, it's just more irrelevance.
I didn't say that. I said that the purchasing data for everything you've ever bought will lie on a database somewhere. There will be central bank digital currencies in the not so distant future. It's not just a question of credit cards. When those CBDCs emerge, your wealth could be switched off by some civil servant somewhere in an instant. That can't happen with decentralised crypto.

Really intelligent stuff to declare your data privacy an 'irrelevance' but i'm not a whole lot surprised given the exchanges of late.

I work in IT security, I'm very familiar with the data I give away and what I get in return.
Good for you but the point that was made is that it's not about how you use that data. It's how someone else could - and that won't always be the same. And as per the point I made, ask the protesters in Hong Kong if they would agree with you. But as per your mindset, that's akin to this . Our government are good lads and could always be trusted. You might want to ask Edward Snowden and Julian Assange about what can happen.

The internet was never greeted with the level of fear you are suggesting. The vast majority or commentary was overwhelmingly positive.
I didn't mention a 'level' but it was a thing. You want to disagree - again, that's your prerogative. However, its as clear as night and day that with the emergence of any new revolutionary tech, the negatives are exaggerated. With AI, it's that the machines will take over and that we'll all be out of work.


The Oxford one was as well, I can find no evidence of the MIT one being reviewed, but then that wasn't really published by MIT was it? It was a carried out by a company with a vested interest in the space in 'collaboration with researchers at MIT'.
And yet we're still waiting for clarification on this 'industry review' you claimed...

Regular people going around doing regular business have nothing to fear from AML/KYC.
They shouldn't be exposed to it from a financial privacy point of view. Secondly, it causes friction on a day to day basis with financial products.

People who want to play outside the system will face hurdles getting back into real money.
Firstly, your 'real money' = 'unsound money'. As regards facing difficulties - that doesn't have to be the case and shouldn't be the case.

No one's preventing anyone getting into crypto
Yes, they are. This nonsense (AML/KYC) is applied in on-boarding as well as off-boarding.

The moaning about problems trying to get out of it is an indictment of crypto, not fiat.
It's only 'moaning' because you're diametrically opposed to it. Secondly, on the 'indictment' charge - its no such thing. Crypto was born into a world with an established system which has been bedded in over generations.

Great, gangster's paradise!
Really? And yet the real gangsters wont need it. HSBC, ABN Amro, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and a host of others don;t need it. They have a perfectly good crooked system in place already.
 
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Leo

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Again, that's your prerogative. I'd sooner maintain my privacy given the choice - but each to their own.
Mastercard or Visa haven't compromised my data yet, I see nothing to suggest that they will do so, despite them being amongst the most prized targets for attackers. I'd sooner trust them than a collection of unregulated companies operating in legal grey space.

I didn't say that. I said that the purchasing data for everything you've ever bought will lie on a database somewhere.
First of all it doesn't. Mastercard or Visa don't have access to that level of detail, they just see the transaction total. So what relevance does excessive voluntary public sharing of data on social media have to do with this? If you're that afraid of the evil state, what are you even doing posting online exposing your location?

Really intelligent stuff to declare your data privacy an 'irrelevance' but i'm not a whole lot surprised given the exchanges of late.
Where did I say that?

Good for you but the point that was made is that it's not about how you use that data. It's how someone else could - and that won't always be the same.
Clearly I wasn't talking about how I use it...


Our government are good lads and could always be trusted. You might want to ask Edward Snowden and Julian Assange about what can happen.
You are sadly underestimating the powers of nation states if you feel crypto of any variety will protect you from evil states ability to monitor your actions.


However, its as clear as night and day that with the emergence of any new revolutionary tech, the negatives are exaggerated. With AI, it's that the machines will take over and that we'll all be out of work.
Maybe it's just your news preferences at play, but the exaggeration usually equally spans both extremes.

They shouldn't be exposed to it from a financial privacy point of view. Secondly, it causes friction on a day to day basis with financial products.
As a member of society, you are not entitled to private income that you hide from the state, that is tax evasion and cheats your fellow citizens. All AML/KYC does is help uphold that social contract.

Firstly, your 'real money' = 'unsound money'.
It's more sound than the crypto market which continues to show evidence of wide scale manipulation by those unregulated entities in charge.


Yes, they are. This nonsense (AML/KYC) is applied in on-boarding as well as off-boarding.
How is anyone managing to buy crypto so? Is that why the price is plummetting?


It's only 'moaning' because you're diametrically opposed to it. Secondly, on the 'indictment' charge - its no such thing. Crypto was born into a world with an established system which has been bedded in over generations.
No, it's moaning because these people want to play in the regulated financial system, but they are unwilling to play by the rules of that system and somehow feel that's unfair.
 

tecate

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Mastercard or Visa haven't compromised my data yet, I see nothing to suggest that they will do so, despite them being amongst the most prized targets for attackers. I'd sooner trust them than a collection of unregulated companies operating in legal grey space.
Perhaps Leo you didn't understand this - but I said that's your prerogative. However, it's not mine. Governments have lent on visa/mastercard and others to throttle the accounts of those that have spoken up against them and exposed wrongdoing. Other than that, your data is available to more than just visa. Additionally, your data can be hacked.

First of all it doesn't. Mastercard or Visa don't have access to that level of detail, they just see the transaction total. So what relevance does excessive voluntary public sharing of data on social media have to do with this? If you're that afraid of the evil state, what are you even doing posting online exposing your location?
Eh, it exposes plenty Leo. On the second 'point' that's none of your business.

Where did I say that?
It's clear as night and day, that's what you're going with - and you'll scream blue murder that's not what you meant. I don't care. That's my take away from your commentary. Others can make up their own minds.


Clearly I wasn't talking about how I use it...
Bully for you. Then it's agreed - it's about how others will use that data.

You are sadly underestimating the powers of nation states if you feel crypto of any variety will protect you from evil states ability to monitor your actions.
:rolleyes: Yeah, a fool to myself, Leo.

Maybe it's just your news preferences at play, but the exaggeration usually equally spans both extremes.
I can't help you with that. If that's your view, that's your view - but I strongly disagree.

As a member of society, you are not entitled to private income that you hide from the state, that is tax evasion and cheats your fellow citizens. All AML/KYC does is help uphold that social contract.
Eh, who said anything about tax evasion? I certainly didn't. I talked about financial surveillance. They're not the same thing. All KYC/AML does is finacially surveil citizens, cause friction in terms of people accessing financial services, costs a shed load of money in and of itself - costs which are passed on to consumers. The world functioned just fine without it in the past and it can again.

It's more sound than the crypto market which continues to show evidence of wide scale manipulation by those unregulated entities in charge.
Not by its underlying nature it doesn't! As regards manipulation - that exists in the conventional world of finance - it's where it came from. Markets with small market caps can be moved quite easily. However, as they grow, it becomes more and more difficult.

So tell us - why did the Fed have to print off more USD than the entire market cap of crypto the other week? 'Real' money indeed!

How is anyone managing to buy crypto so? Is that why the price is plummetting?
100s of thousands of additional consumers would have been onboarded into the crypto economy by now if it wasn't for the friction caused by your precious AML/KYC.

No, it's moaning because these people want to play in the regulated financial system, but they are unwilling to play by the rules of that system and somehow feel that's unfair.
Let's be clear here - it's moaning because you're diametrically opposed to decentralised crypto. Other than that, anyone who may have an interest in crypto is part of the conventional economy and conventional systems as that's what we came up with. That's the system that was established and that we inherited. Last time I checked, I was still entitled to an opinion. I was still entitled to call these precious 'rules' into question. By inferrence you suggest that because these are 'rules' that they are beyond reproach. Governments are made up of people and they do wrong or get it wrong all the time. I have every right to call those rules into question - just as much as you have to disagree. So lets be clear - this is 'moaning' from you.
 

Leo

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On the second 'point' that's none of your business.
So you can just raise points that have no relevance, and when questioned just say it's none of our business! What a constructive way to engage in debate.
 

tecate

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So you can just raise points that have no relevance, and when questioned just say it's none of our business! What a constructive way to engage in debate.
It's private and I don't intend discussing it. With this, it is you that is raising a point with no relevance (in terms of the actual subject for discussion).
 

john luc

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I considered that Bitcoin is like candy floss, explosive expansion from little to massive. I now consider that to be wrong because I forgot that the stick has value:)
 

tecate

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Fair enough, you have selective paranoia
Oh, my - how insightful. I;ll consider this an intervention then.

So these guys are paranoid also? ->

I'll stop there. I'm sure I could pull up a 1000 articles from the past 6 months on the subject. As I outlined above, you'd need to have your head buried in the sand not to understand that there is a global debate going on these days with regard to the use of personal data. Yet, apparently I'm paranoid.

I considered that Bitcoin is like candy floss, explosive expansion from little to massive. I now consider that to be wrong because I forgot that the stick has value:)
Yeah, you can keep the stick Johnny. Put it somewhere safe and in a few years when the penny satoshi drops, you'll need it to self flagellate yourself for basic comprehension difficulties. In that circumstance, your stick could definitely have value. :cool:
 

tecate

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So no examples of Visa or Mastercard then, no? Thought not.
Firstly - I pointed this out before but you continue to ignore it. If (and when) cash is removed, we won't be left with just visa/mastercard. There will be a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in place.

And as regards any suggestion that we can take for granted data privacy with Visa/Mastercard, that's bonkers!

Capital One data breach affecting 100 million customers => https://www.wired.com/story/capital-one-paige-thompson-case-hacking-spree/

Mastercard Mining Customer Data


Mastercard Selling Customer Data to Google


Visa has paid Facebook to be a partner in the upcoming Libra digital currency - where participation is all about access to customer data.

Visa and government - are you trying to tell us that visa don't share data with governments and the various arms of government? As a committed statist, of course what could possibly happen with personal data in the hands of government, right? Ask the protesters in Hong Kong who won't use payment cards.
How do you explain Visa's actions with Wikileaks? It's clear that they broke the law in a nod to the US government and participated in that very democratic strategy of trying to strangle free speech and civil liberty by preventing people from contributing towards the upkeep of the organisation?
 

Leo

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Firstly - I pointed this out before but you continue to ignore it. If (and when) cash is removed, we won't be left with just visa/mastercard. There will be a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in place.
Yeah, I get it, and then the Illuminati will finally emerge as the powers behind it all.

Visa and government - are you trying to tell us that visa don't share data with governments and the various arms of government? As a committed statist, of course what could possibly happen with personal data in the hands of government, right? Ask the protesters in Hong Kong who won't use payment cards.
My point is you're fooling yourself if you think cryptos go any way towards protecting you from such government action. If you want to avoid the potential for that level of scrutiny, you need to get offline and stay offline, there is no technology that will protect you from it. What CA are you using that is immune to government influence? Remember the Lenovo Superfish adware that intercepted and modified encrypted web traffic? Snowden's leaks on how the NSA cracked VPNs? That's only the tip of what's going on, most of the big nation states have far more complex abilities.

The Chinese don't need to monitor payment card use, lots of the photos show the protesters with their phones out!! The level of facial recognition capability they have means they can identify they want on public transport or in public spaces, they are spraying protesters in the front lines with a dye for easy tracking too, so even full face coverage isn't enough.
 

tecate

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Yeah, I get it, and then the Illuminati will finally emerge as the powers behind it all.
You cheapen your argument with your 'illuminati' jibe. You claimed that Visa/Mastercard were beyond reproach in terms of safeguarding personal data. You can't defend that so you try this 'illuminati' nonsense. I haven't mentioned anything related to conspiracy theory. It's not something that's all that interesting to me for the most part.
Sweden is closer than most to launching a CBDC. They're practically cashless but they don't want control of payments to be in the hands of visa/mastercard or similar. That's not 'illuminati'-anything - that's part of open discussion from those involved in looking at that project there.

My point is you're fooling yourself if you think cryptos go any way towards protecting you from such government action.
I'm talking about a broader and lower level of financial surveillance and its application in relation to everyday people. I wasn't necessarily talking about someone who needs to make Snowden level security arrangements.

If you want to avoid the potential for that level of scrutiny, you need to get offline and stay offline, there is no technology that will protect you from it. What CA are you using that is immune to government influence? Remember the Lenovo Superfish adware that intercepted and modified encrypted web traffic? .
Technology changes and we have to change with it. Furthermore it can be used positively or used against us. What's happening in China (particularly with social scoring and their use of facial recognition) has brought to the fore that debate. As I said before, we have all traded privacy for convenience. As tech marches on and the level of data collection expands exponentially, we're going to place more value on data privacy. That is not my sole contention. It's been a hot subject globally - increasingly so over the past 18 months.
We're talking about both governments and corporations in that respect. There are blockchain projects open to decentralise internet browsing, the internet itself, social media platforms to provide for decentralised versions of facebook, twitter, whatsapp, etc.

Snowden's leaks on how the NSA cracked VPNs? That's only the tip of what's going on, most of the big nation states have far more complex abilities.
Given that you mention Snowden...he used Bitcoin during that pickle he found himself in. More recently, he believes in the project albeit that he wants to see the application of privacy features as do many in the community. But...as above...I am not primarily thinking in terms of guys who need a Snowden level security regimen. I'm thinking about ordinary people.

The Chinese don't need to monitor payment card use, lots of the photos show the protesters with their phones out!! The level of facial recognition capability they have means they can identify they want on public transport or in public spaces, they are spraying protesters in the front lines with a dye for easy tracking too, so even full face coverage isn't enough.
And yet they do monitor payment cards. It's a reasonable expectation that such data is useful to them in doing so.
 
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