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Announcing the Blockchain Alliance

Thu Oct 22, 2015 5:39 pm

I'm just wondering how the forum folks here feel about this new endeavor?

http://coincenter.org/2015/10/announcin ... n-alliance
http://blockchainalliance.org/

The thing that gets me is, if this is the blockchain, where is the transparency? All I see is an email address to contact this new Alliance group. Why not have an open forum that is at least viewable from the general public to see inquiries. Kind of like Google's Transparency reports. I would expect nothing less.

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Re: Announcing the Blockchain Alliance

Thu Oct 22, 2015 6:18 pm

"Dubbed the Blockchain Alliance, the initiative is being spearheaded by Coin Center and the Chamber of Digital Commerce, with support from a range of companies including: BitFury, BitFinex, BitGo, Bitnet, Bitstamp, Blockchain, Circle, Coinbase, CoinX, itBit, Kraken, Noble Markets and Xapo. The Alliance will also draw support from several bitcoin developers and the MIT Digital Currency Initiative’s Brian Forde."

http://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-groups- ... -alliance/


impressive list. i guess this group will not support something like Zerocash...
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Re: Announcing the Blockchain Alliance

Thu Oct 22, 2015 6:24 pm

I think Bruce Fenton summed things up very well:
Some people I respect a great deal have joined this Blockchain Alliance where Bitcoin companies will partner with agencies like the DHS, FBI and Immigration Service (of all things).
I must be missing something because I don't see how this is beneficial.
A couple years back, many industry leaders gladly cheered and supported the "bold" and "progressive" efforts of Ben Lawsky to proactively regulate Bitcoin.
At the time, I was one of the very earliest minority voices who spoke out against this and the reasons I thought supporting Lawsky was a terrible idea.
Our industry engaged him, we attended his media show hearings, we cheered at his Reddit AMA marketing and gave him fame, notoriety and legitimacy.
The result was a horrible and overbearing Bitlicense which took thousands of industry man hours and millions of dollars to roll back to the current point...which is still quite onerous and harmful to business. Did we learn nothing from this?
Unlike many who thought it was a good idea, I've actually been a regulated investment professional (with a spotless compliance record) for over 20 years...including 18 years as a FINRA General Securities Principal and time as an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. I've seen first hand the massive harm that many of these regulations do to business while doing little to nothing to actually stop actual fraud or bad behavior.
The investment industry spends billions of dollars annually on compliance with vague and ever changing rules directed by unelected bureaucrats who generally seek to increase influence and power with more far reaching regs.
Meanwhile, derivatives scams, penny stock pumping schemes, dishonest bond underwriting, conflicts of interest, corrupt rating services, fraudulent marketing and outright frauds run rampant.
Even one of their own, Bernie Madoff, the Chairman of the largest industry regulator, the NASD, was not caught for years...despite a 17 page detailed tip from a whistleblower to the SEC. The regulators simply are not adept at catching bad actors....they are far more adept at creating hurdles for legitimate business.
As with proactively supporting more regulations, the support of the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, ICE and others in partnership with Bitcoin industry leaders is unlikely to yield any positive results in improving the image of Bitcoin OR reducing bad behavior -- but will most certainly result in a form of reverse regulatory capture where the govt officials our industry are dealing with seek increased influence and control over Bitcoin and related technologies.
In what way is Federal involvement in our technology with peaceful, non criminal actors a legitimate role for government? By what logic does one assume that the government officials and agencies involved will not continually expand and increase influence and control over this technology? Would the cooperation of the Blockchain Alliance with government agencies continue if the agencies asked for blacklisting of coins, elimination of privacy features, removing fungibiliy features and other requests? Does the Blockchain Alliance support current actions by the agencies including the current methods of asset forfeiture without trial by which the government can seize property without even charging someone of s crime? Does the Blockchain Alliance support the Federal government's policy of ignoring the mandates of voters in jurisdictions such as Colorado and prosecuting crimes that the majority of state voters and representatives have already voted against? Is there ANY law, rule or policy by any future agencies or future politicians which the Blockchain Alliance would refuse cooperation on? From the current announcements it does not seem so.
I hope I'm wrong and have misunderstood somehow.
As I said, many I respect a great deal have supported this.s.
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Re: Announcing the Blockchain Alliance

Thu Oct 22, 2015 6:46 pm

For me personally, I am done using bitcoin for anything except as a gateway to other cryptocurrencies that have inherent privacy built in at the node. (and even this is risky, cash is still king to obtain cryptocurrencies) What we are seeing is exchanges keeping massive data on customer purchases, etc., in order to essentially track who has what. Of course this is all done under the guise of unmasking criminal activity. I feel at this stage of my life, I have more in common with criminals than I do Joe Blow zombie worker who pays his taxes and recites passages from "How to Easily be Shorn as a Sheep".

All these clowns are doing is selling their soul to dance with the devil.

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Re: Announcing the Blockchain Alliance

Thu Oct 22, 2015 7:19 pm

There has always been a split among bitcoiners on how best to interact with regulators and law enforcement.

There is the "ignore them, they're illegitimate. Honey Badger don't care" side.

And there's the "engage them, educate them, show them the positive benefits to balance the negatives that are, otherwise, probably the only thing they see" side.

I still think engaging is the best strategy. Yes, there will be more failures like the BitLicense, but overall I think every positive interaction with law enforcement or regulators helps move opinions from "Bitcoin is Evil and must be eliminated" towards "Bitcoin is an innovative technology that should be allowed to grow."

And no, I don't think "we" will compromise the technology or our deeply held beliefs because we interact with "them."

At least, I know I won't. If you are worried that talking to the FBI about the latest version of CryptoLocker might corrupt your morals, then great-- nobody will twist your arm to participate.

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Re: Announcing the Blockchain Alliance

Thu Oct 22, 2015 7:36 pm

Welcome Gavin. :)

Personally i think that this was inevitable. VC companies will always work with regulators to push their business and bring it to success. We will never reach "moon", when regulated companies have to fear that bitcoin gets "banned". If you want big money in bitcoin, you need regulation.
In the end this is an US Initiative and bitcoin is a global phenomenon. some countries will have stricter laws, some will be like the Isle of Man. Bitcoin will have enough room. Bitcoin will evolve. Sidechains will emerge. Other cryptos will always be an option for some groups.
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Re: Announcing the Blockchain Alliance

Thu Oct 22, 2015 7:44 pm

I still think engaging is the best strategy. Yes, there will be more failures like the BitLicense, but overall I think every positive interaction with law enforcement or regulators helps move opinions from "Bitcoin is Evil and must be eliminated" towards "Bitcoin is an innovative technology that should be allowed to grow."
Hi Gavin, I'm not totally against engaging either, however, I believe in transparency and I feel as though from what I have read and seen so far from this press release is that this is going to be a closed-forum with little to no transparency to outsiders. I believe that transparency will be one of the most important factors if this is to be successful from an outsider point of view. Otherwise, people will have the feeling of spying, surveillance, and backdoor tactics to undermine the network and users.

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Re: Announcing the Blockchain Alliance

Thu Oct 22, 2015 9:13 pm

I agree with Gavin that engagement is preferable. I've met many regulators and had some productive conversations...particularly globally. The regulators in Massachusetts for example are pretty reasonable to speak with.
I was not a fan of engaging with Lawsky because I think he had bad faith.
My concern with this new Blockchain Alliance is that the agencies have generally bad track records and also, they are not lawmakers or regulators...just enforcers. So no amount of convincing will get them to relax, consider or change policy.
A couple examples: Fed enforcement agencies target legal pot businesses in Colorado, despite Colorado voters deciding this should not be criminal.
Another example: the DHS/ TSA was recently involved in prosecution of a gay male prositution ring in NYC. This is a massive stretch from anything which could be claimed to "protect us from terrorism" and the type of thing which would be harmful if these agencies want Bitcoin traced and tracked for this purpose.
I have many members of law enforcement in my family. They are generally hard working, good people. But above all else they follow orders and the code is more based on chain of command than a moral code.
I know very little about the program / alliance overall -- hopefully I'm wrong.
Last edited by brucefenton on Fri Oct 23, 2015 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Announcing the Blockchain Alliance

Fri Oct 23, 2015 5:25 am

I hate many members of law enforcement in my family.
I suspect you meant to say that you *have* many members of law enforcement in your family.

It's also important to remember that the biggest danger in this world isn't from evil people.
It is from good people who blindly obey the orders of evil people because they imagine them to have "authority".
Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and other evil people wouldn't have been able to accomplish anything if it wasn't for the basically good people who blindly followed their orders. The Milgram experiment showed us that vast majority of otherwise basically good people, are willing to kill other people who haven't even been accused of a crime, just because someone in "authority" ordered them to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzTuz0mNlwU&feature=youtu.be&t=171

This is exactly why otherwise good people are willing to commit horrible violence against their fellow man, in the name of "law enforcement".
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Re: Announcing the Blockchain Alliance

Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:53 am

I'm just wondering how the forum folks here feel about this new endeavor?

http://coincenter.org/2015/10/announcin ... n-alliance
http://blockchainalliance.org/

The thing that gets me is, if this is the blockchain, where is the transparency? All I see is an email address to contact this new Alliance group. Why not have an open forum that is at least viewable from the general public to see inquiries. Kind of like Google's Transparency reports. I would expect nothing less.
From what I see it is an advocacy group that also aspires to be like a PR channel for the Bitcoin Startup World? Of course that rebranded with the word Blockchain. OF COURSE!

If that is what it is and what it stays being. Then it is inconsequential to the Bitcoin Community and only really relevant to Bitcoin Startups and Companies. In my opinion it is mostly a plain "OK" thing. Not really of any actual relevancy. At least until it manages to be so, but if that happens it will a Q2 2016 subject. No point in getting ahead of ourselves is what I would say.

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Re: Announcing the Blockchain Alliance

Fri Oct 23, 2015 8:41 am

Absolutely dismayed by this news. I work for a company on this "Blockchain Alliance" - just learned about it and our involvement today - Really sad that my employer chose to go down this route. I would highly recommend not conducting any business with any of those listed companies, my own included. I will be following this advice myself.`

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Re: Announcing the Blockchain Alliance

Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:21 am

It's also important to remember that the biggest danger in this world isn't from evil people.
It is from good people who blindly obey the orders of evil people because they imagine them to have "authority".
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

--Edmund Burke

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Re: Announcing the Blockchain Alliance

Fri Oct 23, 2015 12:50 pm

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

--Edmund Burke
I have engaged on and off with the UK regulatory scene on and off throughout the last few years, and I like think that I've had a fair bit of success. As might be attested by the freedom we've had here for a few years (not just down to me, but a combination of factors/people).

I did state back then (a couple years ago) that regulations here were coming, and now they are around the corner.

In that respect I do/will still interact with them, for the purposes of minimizing the impact of any regulations introduced as much as possible.

I can say with full certainty (through my network) that there is most definitely certain actors within the UK 'theater' (because sometimes it feels like that) who are pushing for full banking requirements and in some cases, even more onerous requirements/regulations than that.

And it is sad to admit, that some of these actors come from the bitcoin sector... they are pushing their agenda because they have the finances and cosy relationships that such heavy handed regulations would not be overly burdensome for them and would push out their competitors.

In this respect, we fight not just against certain banksters, but some that call themselves 'bitcoiners'.

As much as it would be nice to *not* interact with regulators, I refuse to leave the creation of such (potentially heavy handed) regulation purely in the hands of top level banksters and lawsky sycophants.

In the case for the UK, one of the major reasons regulations are being introduced is to force the traditional banks here to 'play ball'.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

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Re: Announcing the Blockchain Alliance

Fri Oct 23, 2015 2:51 pm

So this is a club for talking about cryptolocker? Who does Immigration service care so much about cryptolocker? Can't they hire their own experts for that.

Not like - how to track darknet users, tax evaders, people sending money abroad or other "criminals"? I'm very disappointed with industry who willingly seek this. It's obviously not supported by the community.

This, by the way, is the head of the operation:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyl ... story.html


wow

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Re: Announcing the Blockchain Alliance

Fri Oct 23, 2015 3:34 pm

I'm just wondering how the forum folks here feel about this new endeavor?

http://coincenter.org/2015/10/announcin ... n-alliance
http://blockchainalliance.org/

The thing that gets me is, if this is the blockchain, where is the transparency? All I see is an email address to contact this new Alliance group. Why not have an open forum that is at least viewable from the general public to see inquiries. Kind of like Google's Transparency reports. I would expect nothing less.
From what I see it is an advocacy group that also aspires to be like a PR channel for the Bitcoin Startup World? Of course that rebranded with the word Blockchain. OF COURSE!

If that is what it is and what it stays being. Then it is inconsequential to the Bitcoin Community and only really relevant to Bitcoin Startups and Companies. In my opinion it is mostly a plain "OK" thing. Not really of any actual relevancy. At least until it manages to be so, but if that happens it will a Q2 2016 subject. No point in getting ahead of ourselves is what I would say.
I think where it becomes relevant are these closed-door meetings that will happen with bitcoin companies in secret, with undoubtedly federal officials asking for access to data that the general public is not privileged to. Will the bitcoin companies comply? Or will this remain simply an "educational" channel for law enforcement to ask about bitcoin? I highly doubt it's the latter. More than likely it's to build relationships with federal partners with an end game of _________ (fill in the blank)? Maybe it's to lobby for the betterment of bitcoin, or maybe it's not, and it's for the interest of some in certain groups to further their cause (whatever that may be). Nobody on the outside knows. That's why transparency is so important. I think if the forum is at least viewable by the general public (and writable by vetted members only), we can at least see what is happening from a high level. Also, I find it a bit ironic they use "blockchain" in their name when they will be the furthest thing from what a transparent system is.

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Re: Announcing the Blockchain Alliance

Fri Oct 23, 2015 5:23 pm

Yes, have not hate-- what a bad typo autocorrect! Thanks
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Re: Announcing the Blockchain Alliance

Fri Oct 23, 2015 8:52 pm


From what I see it is an advocacy group that also aspires to be like a PR channel for the Bitcoin Startup World? Of course that rebranded with the word Blockchain. OF COURSE!

If that is what it is and what it stays being. Then it is inconsequential to the Bitcoin Community and only really relevant to Bitcoin Startups and Companies. In my opinion it is mostly a plain "OK" thing. Not really of any actual relevancy. At least until it manages to be so, but if that happens it will a Q2 2016 subject. No point in getting ahead of ourselves is what I would say.
I think where it becomes relevant are these closed-door meetings that will happen with bitcoin companies in secret, with undoubtedly federal officials asking for access to data that the general public is not privileged to. Will the bitcoin companies comply? Or will this remain simply an "educational" channel for law enforcement to ask about bitcoin? I highly doubt it's the latter. More than likely it's to build relationships with federal partners with an end game of _________ (fill in the blank)? Maybe it's to lobby for the betterment of bitcoin, or maybe it's not, and it's for the interest of some in certain groups to further their cause (whatever that may be). Nobody on the outside knows. That's why transparency is so important. I think if the forum is at least viewable by the general public (and writable by vetted members only), we can at least see what is happening from a high level. Also, I find it a bit ironic they use "blockchain" in their name when they will be the furthest thing from what a transparent system is.
Closed door meetings to undermine or enforce will happen regardless. Any given week or month there must be one of those. That is why it is even more important to choose and promote Bitcoin Startups that have set ups that from the ground up allow for transparency, security and privacy. Be it because that is how they were designed and are principled or because the user can take over the usage of the software or services from his end in case there is breach of trust. Be the case it was unintentional or out of erosion.

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Re: Announcing the Blockchain Alliance

Sat Oct 24, 2015 11:46 am

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Re: Announcing the Blockchain Alliance

Sun Oct 25, 2015 7:43 am

I'm a little worried that this issue is going to form a big rift in the bitcoin community that never happened before somehow.

It's quite clear that the alliance can hurt bitcoin in the long run, no matter how good their intentions, by giving the state a foot in the door that can eventually lead them to influence code. Anyone who can't see that has a childish world view.


BTW, here's my article on the news, I've quoted some of you guys in it:

http://bravenewcoin.com/news/controvers ... forcement/

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Re: Announcing the Blockchain Alliance

Sun Oct 25, 2015 8:47 am

Welcome Gavin. :)

Personally i think that this was inevitable. VC companies will always work with regulators to push their business and bring it to success. We will never reach "moon", when regulated companies have to fear that bitcoin gets "banned". If you want big money in bitcoin, you need regulation.
Hmm, maybe you missed what was said earlier (or clear from Day 1), many of us don't care about "big money" in bitcoin and don't care if bitcoin reaches "moon".

The Fascist Alliance marches on.

Well, the need for better privacy and stealth transactions is now only more pressing.

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