Published on Nov 21, 2013
From obscure cryptographic experiment to multibillion-dollar virtual currency, Bitcoin's sudden rise to fame has been steeped in controversy. As US authorities give it the green light for the first time, will Bitcoin become the foundation of a new global financial system, or will the bubble burst, proving to be one of the greatest Ponzi schemes in the history of mankind? Patrick Murck, General Counsel of the Bitcoin Foundation, joins Oksana to discuss these issues.
Published on Oct 29, 2013In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert, discuss the revolutionary solution that takes money and power from those who hate and gives it to those who will no longer wait for celebrities and pundits to cogitate, agitate and debate whether or not wristbands and hashtags - oh so quaint - can stop the plunder and pillage by the conmen, hucksters, and banksters backed by the state. Yes, bitcoin. The currency is already creating economic value across Africa, China and the developing world while Brits destroy economic value by moving their money into yet another corrupt bank. In the second half, Max interviews Simon Dixon of BankToTheFuture.com about peer to peer lending and the future in which the population can deploy their own capital in more productive ways.
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Published time: October 26, 2013 08:57
US authorities have reported their largest-ever Bitcoin bust amounting to $28 million of the digital currency. It was seized from the owner of the controversial Silk Road website, which was shut down three weeks ago.
A Friday statement by federal prosecutors in New York details the seizure of 144,336 bitcoins, which were discovered on the computer belonging to Silk Road founder Ross William Ulbricht, alias “Dread Pirate Roberts,” Reuters reports. Ulbricht was arrested Oct. 1 in San Francisco on several charges of conspiracy.
Ulbricht’s lawyer could not be reached for comment, but the accused earlier denied all the allegations.
Since its inception in 2011, the now closed website was an anonymous hub for anything from drug deals to weapons and computer hacking programs – even hiring assassins, the Justice Department said.
The digital currency itself has been around since 2008, but it was not until 2011 that authorities showed greater interest in it, following the discovery of the connection to Silk Road and the near to 1 million registered users regularly engaging in illegal activities.
The current bust was part of a joint civil action against Ulbricht and his website. He is expected to appear in court in a matter of weeks to face charges of conspiring to traffic narcotics, launder money and hack computer networks.
Ulbricht’s arrest and the bitcoin seizure followed a string of international arrests of Silk Road users by Swedish, British and US authorities, a testament to the scale of the international crackdown on the website. The director of Britain’s newly-founded National Crime Agency (NCA), Keith Bristow, warned Oct. 9 that the “latest arrests are just the start” and “there are many more to come."
Bristow added that bitcoin will also now be closely watched, after his agency seized millions of pounds of the electronic currency.
Together with the previous figure of 30,000 bitcoins, the new FBI bust puts the current value of seized currency at $33 million, the US Attorney General’s Office said. In the two years Ulbricht’s website was in operation, about $1.2 billion in bitcoins were traded. Silk Road charged between 8 and 15 percent in commissions.
Bitcoin (sign: ; code: BTC or XBT) is a cryptocurrency where the creation and transfer of bitcoins is based on an open-source cryptographic protocol that is independent of any central authority. Bitcoins can be transferred through a computer or smartphone without an intermediate financial institution. The concept was introduced in a 2008 paper by a pseudonymous developer known only as "Satoshi Nakamoto", who called it a peer-to-peer, electronic cash system.
The processing of Bitcoin transactions is secured by servers called bitcoin miners. These servers communicate over an internet-based network and confirm transactions by adding them to a ledger which is updated and archived periodically using peer-to-peer filesharing technology. In addition to archiving transactions, each new ledger update creates some newly minted bitcoins. The number of new bitcoins created in each update is halved every 4 years until the year 2140 when this number will round down to zero. At that time no more bitcoins will be added into circulation and the total number of bitcoins will have reached a maximum of 21 million bitcoins. To accommodate this limit, each bitcoin is subdivided down to eight decimal places; forming 100 million smaller units called satoshis.
In August 2013 Germany's Finance Ministry subsumed Bitcoins under the term "unit of account"—a financial instrument—though not as e-money or a functional currency. Although bitcoin is promoted as a digital currency, many commentators have criticized bitcoin's volatile exchange rate, relatively inflexible supply, high risk of loss, and minimal use in trade.
Bitcoins have been associated with illegal online activity such as money laundering