back to article Bitcoin slump follows senators’ threats

As any investment adviser will tell you, it’s a bad idea to put all your eggs in one basket. And if Rick Falkvinge was telling the truth when he said all his savings were now in Bitcoin, he’s been taken down by a third in a day. Following last week’s call by US senators for an investigation into virtual crypto-currency Bitcoin …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So...'re not that keen on bitcoins then? I quite like the idea.

    1. David Hicks

      I'm not sure it's a matter of being keen on it

      So much as seeing what it is - a flawed attempt at wresting monetary control away from government. It suffers from a variety of problems (mostly related to the limited supply and mining) and its image isn't helped by the fanbase of people who don't think they should have to pay any taxes, ever....

      1. The BigYin

        @David Hicks

        "its image isn't helped by the fanbase of people who don't think they should have to pay any taxes, ever"

        WHAT? It's backed by football players, music & movie stars, banks, supermarkets and mobile phone companies? Wow. That's some serious backing!

    2. henchan

      online trade

      I suspect the Reg is still looking for its characteristic snark w.r.t. this technology.

      I like Bitcoin as a facilitator of online trade i.e. as a currency. Not so much as an investment.

      The unmentioned context of the recent 30% drop is currency appreciation in hundreds of percent over a few weeks. So the real issue is not the size of the drop, but volatility. Hopefully prices will stabilise as deeper trading increases coin turn-over in the market.

  2. trarch

    Blame Game

    "if the currency were to become less attractive to pay for illegal drugs..."

    Not too keen on that spin in the article, it sounds like that's all bitcoins are used for. Of course they *could* be used for such activities, including laundering, but as with everything else it's not the technology that's to blame.

  3. Timothy Tuck
    Thumb Up

    Senators threatening bitcoins? interesting...

    Knowing that the Government is putting an eye on it does tell me something though, and its not about drugs. Although the fact they were trying to use bitcoins to run this online drugmart is interesting and novel at best. The real interesting part, Its about the fact that something is out there that they have zero control over could have the potential to be a threat to the establishment.

    Now that is interesting.

    Face it, The current system of Central Banks that regardless of what everything thinks, are owned and controlled by a very small group of the worlds wealthiest people. The fact that we might have a new currency that they would not have control over could be a threat? well now that is good news!

    I think we all need to face up to the facts. That fact is that our current Monetary based systems do nothing for anybody accept for those who run them. If we do not find a way to break free of this control we at least need to come to terms with the reality that we are enslaved by those who control this monetary system. This is true for virtually every country without exception.

    Last thing they want is for us to be able to trade goods and services with something they can not control. This little bit of knowledge shows that there is in fact a vulnerability to their system of enslavement we call debt. It only makes sense that it is now to be grouped in with the drug trade so it can be the next evil scourge they must protect us from.

    While I have read up on bitcoin I never truly felt it had enough merit that I would accept it as a form of payment. Reading this article is forcing me to rethink this little bit. I prefer direct barter though over all other forms of payment as long as its an equitable trade. Getting the Banksters where it really hurts though? well might be worth it just to try although the fact people are trying to sell drugs with it and online no less kind of hurts my faith in mankind only because nothing we do online is untraceable. You have to admit trying to built out a of the illegal drug trade online is incredibly ballsy move, regardless.

    Kudo's to those behind it if for no other reason than it shakes the establishment and we really need to rethink this whole Government Concept a bit more before we are all behind bars.

    While I don't have much use for anything drug related I admit that I love a good disruptive technology and how they can reshape out current paradigms.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Dream on

      "Kudo's to those behind it if for no other reason than it shakes the establishment "

      A Ponzi scheme that persuades freetard idiots to part with their wealth does NOT shake the establishment. It does give us some much needed comic relief, though, so it's not all bad.

    2. Chris 3

      This exhibits the true attraction of BitCoin

      Apparently many people like it because its a way of "sticking it to the Man". Because we all know that central bankers are evil and nation-states are obsolete.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. SuccessCase

      @Timothy. Agree with your sentiment but flawed premise

      The Banks and the rich don't have control over money now in the way you are implying. It's not as though there is a little radio receiver on every coin and banknote with which the banks and rich people tell money what to do - though it may seem like that to those who don't have any. As far as a banknote is concerned you and I can have as much of it as the rich and the banks if we work at getting it the same way.

      Bitcoin will make no difference to the fact wealth is distributed amongst people on a normal distribution curve. There will still be the rich the poor and the middle. I think you will find bitcoin will be no more a currency of the people than any other currency. It will be a currency outside of government control, sure. But then governments don't really control money now (witness the UK crash out of the Euro exchange rate mechanism). They have levers to regulate how much can be minted and so are more (or less) trusted to regulate it's value to maintain trust in it's value (which many see as an oxymoron) but they can't determine it's value beyond anything than the extremely short term (and so consequently no longer try). Bitcoin replaces those levers with a cold incorruptible algorithm and thereby in many people's eyes, can be more trustworthy on the money supply side of things. But other than that it will flow around in the same way as any currency. Only it won't, because governments everywhere will block any official places of exchange. The inconvenience and risk of unofficial exchange will undoubtedly (and in my book unfortunately) reduce its application footprint to the underworld. Really it won't be very much different to cash, except it will be thoroughly unofficial, probably gain a better international status and will allow the equivalent of cash transactions between parties in remote locations. Kind of indicates what it will he used for.

      So while I agree entirely with your sentiment, I don't think practically it will make a jot of difference in the balance of power between the rich and poor, bankers and working folk.

    5. David Hicks

      Shakes the establishment?


      Some think of the children type mentioned the drug trade and Bitcoin to a couple of Senators who figured they could use it for some more "tough on crime" political posturing. That is all.

      Note that while it may be out of their control at the moment, if made illegal it will wither up and die as the mainstream avoid it.

      Also LOL @ the standard "OMG we're enslaved by money" rant.

    6. longbeast

      An unregulated monetary system would be a nightmare

      Money needs banks, and money needs governments (or at least something with similar levels of control in issuing new currency).

      If you jump ship from existing currencies into something completely unregulated, and build a large economy out of it, you will get banks popping up again simply because people need them and it is possible to make money out of it. You'd need to have a solid and comprehensive personal understanding of every single way that a bank can possibly screw you over, because law wouldn't be there to do it for you.

      Similarly with inflation, while you can certainly criticise how it is used as a tool, it's madness to deny that it is sometimes a necessary one. A monetary system needs inflation sometimes or it will fail horribly and be worthless, and the power to control that has to go somewhere. Personally I'd rather have that power be held by a democratically elected body, rather than being held by an unelected crypto-geek who had a bright idea.

      1. Automatic jack
        Thumb Down

        The central banks

        and the Fed especially, are not democratically elected bodies, they are cartels of private individuals.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    I thought that bitcoin actually picked up value because of all the media attention.

    This really is a shame, hope it picks up again soon.

    1. Old Handle

      It did pick up value.

      It just came back down to a more modest (but still elevated) value afterwards.

  5. Christian Berger

    It's an experiment

    It's not meant to last for years, it's an experiment and we can learn from it to build better systems. That's the beauty of Bitcoin.

    1. Ian Rogers

      3 deciduous forests buying one ships peanut

      A "currency" that's "not meant to last"? Ooh, that sounds stable and worth investing in...

      Bitcoin is an artifically limited asset that has no actual value and only perceived value. Apart from early miners who were effectively just handed cash, it's only worth now is to speculators who will buy, hold for a bit and then sell to the gullible.

      Soon, when no-one wants to buy, there will be a crash when bitcoin's perceived value will match its actual value and a lot of mugs will be left holding nothing.

      1. Sir Cosmo Bonsor


        But then *money* is an "artifically limited asset that has no actual value and only perceived value". That's the point of it.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Darwin in action

      No mate, the real beauty of Bitcoin is that it extracts money from freetards, like Dick Augustsson, oops, Rick "Falvkinge".

      Was this pyramid scheme invented by the RIAA as a prank?

      Who cares, pass the popcorn!

  6. The BigYin

    Seems like... is stabilising around the USA$19. For now.

  7. Suburban Inmate

    Note to self

    Pack a wallet full of lulz for meeting with BitCoinTard business associate this week.

  8. sammie
    Thumb Down

    get your facts straight

    The value of bitcoins are HIGHER than they were 10 days ago. how on gods green earth is that called a slump? because a mini frenzy equalized. Give me a break. You spent to much time in journalism class and not enough in economics.

    1. DrXym

      Perhaps you need a lesson in economics

      Bitcoin is nothing more than a disorganised pyramid scheme / MLM. People are boosting it to raise the exchange rates presumably to profit by trading their own coins for real money. The whole thing is going to collapse or be regulated into obscurity and the maroons who buy into the hype will be the ones holding an electronic wallet full of worthless bytes.

    2. Sir Cosmo Bonsor

      -1 for pasting a filename/URL of an image into your post

      What's with that anyway? It's kind of a giveaway that the poster is about 14 years old and dumb.

  9. Jacqui


    bitcopin has been pushed hard in an inasne number of mailing lists such as uknot by speculators trying to get others to buy in, so raising thier existsing stakes. Then when t hey pull out everyone else takes a hit for thier quick profit. SOP speculator behaviour.

    Oddly enough, bitcoin is another way spam is made profitable.


    1. DrXym

      Same as an MLM

      The way Bitcoin is being hyped reminds me of people suckered into a pyramid or MLM. The same zealotry, the same blindness to the scheme's failings, and probably the same denial when it collapses. I expect when it does collapse the blame will be spread evenly around except where it is most deserved - those idiots who sunk their money into it in the first place. The only people who will profit are those who mine coins and sell them to others before things go pear shaped.

      Anyone who sinks actual dollars into it deserves to be slapped. It's hard to see why the hell anyone would in the first place. If paranoia over the dollar or some other fiat currency is the underlying reason then buy gold or silver. At least if worst happened and the gold / silver bubble bursts (which it probably will) you still have a tradeable commodity which has some intrinsic worth.

  10. lIsRT
    Thumb Up


    I'm thinking about buying some, just an experiment - a non-inflatable currency sounds like a really nice thing to have, and if it gains traction *might* prevent the central banks and governments fucking with our money.

    (Economy in a slump? - Print more money. - Didn't work? - Do it again lol!)

    As long as no-one holds more than they can shrug off the loss of (unlike Falkvinge...) there should be no catastrophe.

    Spending them seems to be a bit of a convoluted process e.g. on (not tried it, so caveat emptor) you first create a shopping cart with an affiliate, buy a gift card from them, and spend that.

    Looks like "loopholes" like this will be the main route for bitcoins into the real economy until/unless they get too big for the main retailers to shun.

    Like henchan, I'm wondering what the Reg will call them - containing, or ending in, "tard" is probably required, but "bitcointard" doesn't really trip off the tongue that well. Oh well, I guess we'll find out soon.

    1. lIsRT


      Incidentally, to previous contributors: If you are sure the value of bitcoins will eventually crash, shouldn't you profit from it by figuring out a way to short-sell them?

      From what you say, it's a sure thing.

  11. Jacqui


    I looked at it as a semi-secure way to facilitate low value -ebarter.

    Other on the various bitcoin forums viewed it as a tradable commodity without real controls.

    Bartering takes small exchanges of good out of the taxation loop and there are plenty of local barter schemes in place - mainly using passbooks and "cheques" against a virtual currency

    not bound to any real currency.

    The problem with exchange of value remotely is that each local bartering system has no way to establish fair exchange. Bitcoin could have been that but the speculators have dived in.

    Perhaps forcing a delay in trassfer to cash of say a week and using the exchange rate at the end of that period would be toomuch "risk" for the speculators.

  12. DrXym

    Shades of a pyramid scheme

    I'm sure Bitcoin is very profitable if you "got in early", mined coins, traded them for real money and got the hell out. When the scheme begins to collapse you can bet there will be a run on the exchanges and the rate will plummet. Anyone left with bitcoins at the end will be owners of worthless scrip.

    There are way, way, way too many unknowns about bitcoin from a security, legal and commonsense standpoint for anybody with a lick of sense to trust it as anything more than an interesting toy.

  13. gibman70

    an early investor

    it is, of course, simply a well-disguised ponzi - but get in on early on these and you can do very well. i took an educated punt and acquired £250 worth of BitCoins late last year after seeing the possibilities. sold two weeks ago for just under £40K. life is all about timing.

    1. Rovindi

      investment opportunity....

      I have two Towers of London available, both in good nick. Yours for 40K...

  14. Dunstan Vavasour

    Ponzi Scheme or intangible commodity

    Well, Bitcoins have some immutable characteristics. They are (to current analysis) secure and cannot be destroyed as long as the block chain exists. The block chain is intrinsically distributed and unlikely to fork. And they have value in the same way that much of the financial system has value---because people ascribe value to them (usually referred to as "confidence").

    Their value as a pseudo-currency today is limited while the value against legal currency is so volatile. This volatility will continue as waves of people discover them (and as new, more user friendly interfaces are developed), and at that level it's like a Ponzi scheme. But it's certainly possible to imagine scenarios where they become the reserve commodity behind subsidiary e-currencies. And it is the lack of regulation and the ability to regulate which is so interesting: the only regulation possible is proscription, which would result in a fascinating game of cat and mouse with law enforcement.

    While it may be a worthless bubble, if someone creates a trusted web friendly method of wallet management, and bases it somewhere so that exchange can be via conventional means (avoiding the Virwox shuffle via Linden Dollars^H^H^H^H^H^H^HGame Tokens) then the bubble has a lot of expansion space yet, because at the moment you still have to have a degree of technical savvy to get into bitcoins at all.

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