Monday, October 03, 2011

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Occupy Wall Street Protesters Accepting Donations in Bitcoin; Big Test for the Controversial Virtual Currency

Occupy Wall Street Feed the Protest Bitcoin

Feed the Protest, a media site affiliated with the anti-corporate "Occupy Wall Street" protests that have convulsed downtown New York in recent weeks, is now accepting donations in Bitcoin, the virtual currency. This comes after Paypal declined to complete donations to the site owner's account, reportedly over 8 year old charges made to his stolen debit card. So instead, Feed the Protest has been accepting donations in Bitcoin, starting September 27.

Since then, site spokesman "kh" tells me, "I think we've received about 56BTC so far and that's after I have sent 15 to my cohort to cash out for transportation costs." At current market exchange rates, one Bitcoin is worth about USD$5, so Bitcoin owners have given the cause only about $350 so far. Following analysis from Paul Krugman and Ed Castronova, I've expressed skepticism that Bitcoin, while interesting, could really be a viable currency, in great part because it doesn't seem to be used to buy that many actual goods and services. Given the anti-authoritarian nature of the Occupy Wall Street group and Bitcoin's supporters, this would seem to be a perfect overlap of ideology and functionality. It will be interesting to see how many Bitcoin owners will step up to donate to help the protest keep running.

Hat tip: Karl Stiefvater, who told me, "Here's why bitcoin is a big deal."

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Northern forests of Europe

Bitcoin is definitely moving towards being political currency after it's been heavily marketed by biggest dissident movements of today. Now you can anonymously support OccupyWallStreet, Wikileaks, Anonymous, TOR-services, you name it.
And as Bitcoin is the only common factor with these movements, authorities will attack it in near future. Please learn how to trade locally f2f with it!

Arcadia Codesmith

I like the rule of law. I'm a pretty consistently law-abiding citizen.

But when Pigs like Tony Balony are waging their own brand of chemical warfare against peaceful protesters; when PayPal is denying service under quiet government coercion; when our nation celebrates assassination as a foreign policy tool; when state govenments are suspending due process, habeas corpus and probable cause for brown people; when innocent men are executed...

When the nation-state abandons the rule of law for the sake of expediency, what obligation remains for the citizen to adhere to it?

nexus burbclave

Actually I find bitcoin and occupy wall street to be rather strange bed-fellows. Yes, there is an anti-authoritarian angle to both, but to the extent that there is a message coming out of OWS, that message seems to be related to the dangers of unfettered and unregulated capitalism. It seems to me that bitcoin's mission is to enable unfettered, unregulated capitalism by creating an unfettered and unregulated currency.

Perhaps I'm just misinterpreting OWS. If there is a largish anarchosyndicalist contingent, I guess that would explain the apparent contradiction though. On that note, it's not yet 10am on a Monday, and I've just used "anarchosyndicalist" in a comment. I think I'm going to need more coffee. :)

Luke

Bitcoin is just a decentralized currency. It is still regulated just like any other currency. If you keep your money in a financial institution, the government can still force them to give it up, and if you keep your money at home, it's no different than burying cash in your mattress. If you're an employee, the government can just as easily garnish your wages too.

On the other hand, Bitcoin is actually MORE regulated. Compared to the Fed, which more or less prints money without regulation, Bitcoin is only "printed" with the (mathematically enforced) consent of the decentralized users.

So to put it simpler: Bitcoin is anti-PayPal (who freeze accounts without cause) and anti-Fed (who print money out of thin air unregulated), but not anti-authority or anti-government.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

Bitcoin simply is another illusion, just like other "money" not backed by precious metals or any finite good. We might as well be trading sea shells.

For now, it's only different from the greenbacks in my wallet or the balance in my bank account by virtue of the "good faith and credit" of the US government.

Good faith? US government? Well, it's time for another drink.

I read an interesting remark on a blog to which Hamlet took us last week. A fashionista opined that if the current economic situation is permanent, we'll soon have a lot more to worry about than how well LL handles mesh and other innovations.

Many indicators point to the start of a "new normal" that even the pundits will dare to call a Depression. And what we see in Wall Street is just a harbinger of far larger and more violent turmoil from a contracting world economy.

But perhaps I read too much James Howard Kunstler.

Ananda Sandgrain

I would just like to note to be careful about who you consider donating to - #occupywallstreet by its very nature is anti-authoritarian and leaderless, which means a lot of different people and groups of varying messages and reputations have joined up in support.

It looks to me as if this website hasn't got any connection to AdBusters (considered the instigators of the movement) and I don't see any information confirming they are physically in the park, so chances are your donations would only support the website itself. Which could be a worthy cause on its own, just don't go being surprised if it doesn't flow onwards to support the onsite protesters' needs.

fedupwithfed

the root of all problems stem up from our monetary policy of allowing fed to print money out of thin air totally unregulated, and by the way fed is totally owned by the bankers. bitcoin can and fiat currency side by side is a good option killing monopolistic opportunity of both of them... so i would support bitcoin to atleast have a competitor against the green back..

fedupwithfed

the root of all problems stem up from our monetary policy of allowing fed to print money out of thin air totally unregulated, and by the way fed is totally owned by the bankers. bitcoin can and fiat currency side by side is a good option killing monopolistic opportunity of both of them... so i would support bitcoin to atleast have a competitor against the green back..

fedupwithfed

the root of all problems stem up from our monetary policy of allowing fed to print money out of thin air totally unregulated, and by the way fed is totally owned by the bankers. bitcoin can and fiat currency side by side is a good option killing monopolistic opportunity of both of them... so i would support bitcoin to atleast have a competitor against the green back..

Sailor

Bitcoin is not necessarily capitalistic. Some people who advocate it, hate taxes, but I personally think more taxation for the rich is needed. But Bitcoin is not capital, it is money - that's a difference. And it is radically different from the current monetary system which is very fundamentally based on debt.

Money is among other a medium of information about which work is needed and valuable. But the monetary system distorts this information, so important work like nursing ill people or teaching children appears worthless while worthless things appear important. Debt money is like a powerful demon which underhand rewrites messages people send to each other - messages like: "I need something to eat!" or "What can I do with my hands and what I know?" or "who can take care of my mother which has leucemia?".


Good reading on this:

http://aggregat7.ath.cx/files/money-recovered-final3.pdf

( or shortened: http://bit.ly/j4Gpl6 )

Moreover, today's monetary system is not only a means to allocate resources or work, but also an instrument of power. It is not neutral to power and political opression. The cauri money, which was used for many centuries in Asia and the Pacific, is a good example that it does not need to be that way, Decentral money works. The reason that money is centralized in our modern age is that it serves to collect what people have earned with their work.

And finally, speaking about resources: We see that the global oil production had not increased in the past five years or so. Look into the last IMF report authored by Dominique Strauss-Kahn on that. It is possible that it is not longer economically feasibly to increase production - there is still much there, but it is a highly viscous fluid stuck in porous rocks. It is probable that the hungry citizens of the Arabian world in future do not longer want to waste that wealth at the fastest rate possible. And that means that an economy based on growing consumption, interest and debt will not work in future. It is time to think about what we really need and how to get that for all. This would be "economy" in the best sense of the word. Know the word comes from "Living in a common house"?

Walter

There are other donation addresses, including support for such practical things like food. Google for 1Q7DQVTubbUqr5by2YoZJRKCEzj9D3LQ9w, for example. See http://yfrog.com/user/OccupyWallStNYC/photos which has nice photos.

At blockexplorer.com or http://www.pi.uk.com/bitcoin/address/fd77be758a8316296f913631920758f191ac7f91 , you can see that these addresses are receiving thousands of dollars.

jimpinto

Poem: Occupy Wall Street http://jimpinto.com/writings/o...
This was written on October 15, 2011 while the "Occupy Wall Street" movement was just about a month old, and still growing. Many are confused with the message. This poem may help to explain. I'll appreciate your comments and suggestions as I prepare a YouTube video.

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