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Why Bitcoin Acceptance Should Be A Litmus Test Of Liberty Proponents

by Trace Mayer, J.D. on September 18, 2012

Reading time: 9 – 15 minutes

Whether an individual, merchant or organization is a true proponent of liberty should largely be measured by whether they accept bitcoins for payment or donations. After all, actions are much louder than words; particularly actions that are tied to money and currency.

By accepting bitcoins merchants protect their customers from potential identity theft or political persecution from purchasing liberty orientated products and services. Failure to accept bitcoins casts aspersions on their sincerity towards the fight for liberty because it leaves open the possibility of them being a honeypot.

Failure to accept bitcoins for purchases or donations makes one either ignorantly, lazily or complicity a servant of the surveillance police state and tyranny and therefore accepting bitcoins makes an excellent litmus test for whether an individual or institution is a true liberty proponent.

WHAT IS A HONEYPOT?

A honeypot is a trap set to detect, deflect, or in some manner counteract attempts at unauthorized use of information systems. Generally it consists of a computer, data, or a network site that appears to be part of a network, but is actually isolated and monitored, and which seems to contain information or a resource of value to attackers. Honeypots are often used as bait to catch spammers and other malcontents nefariously using computing resources.

In the fight for liberty, an individual may become a honeypot either ignorantly or complicity. For example, suppose they sell a product or accept donations and use credit cards for payments. The transaction is stored, archived, databased and searchable forever with or without the consent of the merchant or consumer/donee.

Let us assume some malcontent wants to know who all the serious liberty supporters are so they can round them up and throw them in cages to later be exterminated. What would be the easiest way to identify and find them? Easy, query the transactional databases for how much money has been directed towards individuals or organizations that promote the ideas of liberties and sort by individual total.

Have you ever ordered The Law from Amazon, taken a Mises Institute course, bought Jim Willie’s newletter, bought gold or silver from GoldSilver or GoldMoney, subscribed to Doug Casey’s investing column, made a donation to LewRockwell.com, participated in Tom Wood’s Liberty Classroom, bought Gerald Celente’s Trend Research, bought from Alex Jones’ various products, donated to Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty, donated to Stefan Molyneux, subscribed to the incredibly insightful Robert Wenzel of Economic Policy Journal, subscribed to The Dollar Vigilante Jeff Berwick, consulted with privacy advocate Mark Nestmann, donated to GATA, joined The Sovereign Society, been considering purchasing the highly anticipated Silent Circle by PGP creator and Internet Hall of Fame Inductee Phil Zimmermann, used the VPN CryptoHippie, donated to AntiWar and countless others.

Well, perhaps you can send them this article in an attempt to persuade them to protect their customers and accept bitcoins.

Well, all of these liberty supporters currently do not accept bitcoin payments and could be or may become honeypots. Do you purchase or want to purchase their goods or services but do not want to be trapped by a honeypot?

Failure to accept bitcoins for purchases or donations makes one either ignorantly, lazily or complicity a servant of the surveillance police state and tyranny and therefore accepting bitcoins makes an excellent litmus test for whether an individual or institution is a true liberty proponent.

Want to know one group that is serious about liberty and shows it in their actions by accepting bitcoins? Libertopia 2012 where I will be speaking along with others like Doug Casey, Stefan Molyneux, Jeff Berwick and many others.

So now that we know what a honeypot is and why to avoid them how exactly can Bitcoin help us do that?

WHAT IS BITCOIN?

Bitcoin is the first decentralized peer-to-peer encrypted digital currency.

If you want to watch an in-depth interview about Bitcoin then this is one of my better ones with the guys from Future Money Trends. But be careful as they do not yet accept bitcoins and therefore could be or may be used as a honeypot.

PROTECTION AGAINST IDENTITY THEFT

In the digital age identity theft is a serious and material problem. When an individual or business makes a payment with bitcoins there is no identity information required. Go ahead, try it for yourself buying The How To Vanish: Basic Privacy Guide for whatever amount you want.

Think about it, when you buy something why should you provide (1) a name, (2) a shipping address, (3) a billing address, (4) a form of payment tied to your identity and many other intrusive points of data like Internet browser, IP address, etc. What relevance do any of these have to making the transaction?

Worse, once these data fields are collected then they are databased, archived, stored, searchable and can be compromised. Top of the 15 worst security breaches is Heartland Payment Services where 134 million credit card numbers, billing addresses, etc. were compromised. 1 million Apple IDs were compromised by a Florida publisherSony Corp. warned its 77 million PlayStation Network and Qriocity online service customers that their credit-card data, billing addresses and other personal information may have been stolen by a hacker.

If you use a debit or credit card to make payments online then becoming an identity theft victim is only a matter of time. By accepting bitcoins merchants you frequent can completely eliminate this risk to you.

POLITICAL PERSECUTION

I sent an email to an operator mentioned earlier about accepting bitcoins.

XXXXXX: “Trace, thanks for your letter; I wish Bitcoin all success.”

ME: Is there any particular reason it is not accepted on XXXXXX?

Like you I am already out there publicly so I wield the boycott primarily offensively, not defensively. Given the type of articles on XXXXXX some readers may be defensively boycotting because of potential ramifications from making a donation to XXXXXX, enrolling in a XXXXXX course, buying any books, etc.

I have noticed a significant increase in purchases now that I have transitioned all of RunToGold and HowToVanish’s products to accept bitcoins in addition to the traditional methods. Perhaps some potential customers did not want to pay the increased cost of having a record of a transaction with HowToVanish stored permanently in the Bluffdale center. After all, who knows what list they may end up on and how they may be persecuted as a result? So I completely sympathize with their defensive boycott given all the examples in history which XXXXXX so ably educates about.

I received no response. Why the deafening silence? If I buy any articles, books, courses, etc. or make a donation to help fund the operation of the website then what list could I end up on? Brandon Raub was illegally detained for politically charged posts made on Facebook.

Political persecution is a clear and present danger and has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of millions throughout history. Any merchant that fails to accept bitcoins places their patrons at risk of being politically persecuted either now or at some time in the future. By accepting bitcoins this risk can be greatly mitigated.

What vested interest are merchants serving by not accepting bitcoins?

EASE OF BITCOIN ACCEPTANCE FOR MERCHANTS

First, accepting bitcoins augments a customer’s payment options and therefore does not cannibalize sales. By accepting bitcoins a merchant only has the possibility of generating more sales not less.

Second, the cost for a merchant to accept bitcoins is minimal. Services like BitPay, which HowToVanish has no relationship with other than using them to accept bitcoin donations and we are very happy with their service, make website integration extremely easy with simple merchant solutions.

Third, bitcoins are more competitive for merchants than debit or credit cards because there is no risk of fraud or chargebacks and only a processing fee (.99% with BitPay) and, if the merchant wants their bitcoins automatically exchanged into USD, CAD, MXN, EUR or GBP and direct deposited to their bank account each day, then an exchange rate fee (2.69% total which includes the processing fee).

Since the costs are so much lower than debit or credit cards and the benefits to both merchant and consumer so high then if a merchant fails to accept bitcoins it begs the question: What vested interest are they serving by not accepting bitcoins?

Accepting bitcoins makes an excellent litmus test for whether an individual or institution is a true liberty proponent.

CONCLUSION

Currency is being increasingly politicized by the State and in politics it is actions, not words, that matter. Do your favorite liberty proponents merely talk? Or do they help protect you against identity theft and political persecution by accepting bitcoins?

Merchants have every reason to accept bitcoins because they are cheaper with no risk of fraud or chargebacks and protect their customers from identity theft and political persecution. Consequently, if merchants fail to accept bitcoins then it implies they are, either knowingly or unwittingly, an extremely dangerous camouflaged rattlesnake honeypot that should be treated with extreme caution because of the significant threat they pose to your financial and personal safety.

But merchant behavior will likely not change until consumers demand it. Do you demand your privacy be protected by defensively boycotting individuals or institutions that refuse to accept bitcoins? If you take your privacy or financial and personal safety seriously then perhaps you should. And you may let the merchants know by sending them a link to this article or leaving a comment about it in one of their articles.

Here at HowToVanish we do not just talk the privacy talk but we walk the walk. We keep you safe from identity theft or political persecution by accepting bitcoins at the HowToVanish store.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Trace Mayer, J.D., holds a degree in Accounting, a law degree from California Western School of Law and studies the Austrian school of economics. He works as an entrepreneur, investor, journalist, monetary scientist and operates Run To Gold. He is a strong advocate of the freedom of speech, a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the San Diego County Bar Association. He has appeared on ABC, NBC, BNN, many radio shows and presented at many investment conferences throughout the world. This is merely one article of 41 by .
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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 James Bellington September 19, 2012 at 12:35 am

The attitude of the Austrians is very odd behaviour indeed, and as Bitcoin grows, the excuses they don’t give will make it harder for them to explain why they did not get start accepting it sooner.

Will they say that Bitcoin was not big enough to justify accepting it? And when they do end up accepting it, will they claim that they did not think that it was money, but now they do? Will they say that they were waiting for other people to accept it before they did, relegating them to the level of a herd of followers of the ignorant masses? What possible excuse can they have for rejecting Bitcoin? One thing is for certain, in the end, they will be using and accepting Bitcoin and they will have nothing to fall back on as an excuse for not doing so sooner rather than later. This is important, because they are asking people to change their minds about deeply held beliefs about money the law, rights and ethics and how the world could work as a free society. If they are not willing to accept Bitcoin to help make this change come about, in the most crucial area of life that keeps the empires running, money, it means there is a serious disconnect and flaw in their thinking. The question is where is that flaw, and what is its character.

Many in the Austrian camp have bravely and to great effect, embraced the power of superdistribution in the giveaway model. Almost every book sold in their online stores is available as a free download in many different formats. For certain, this has accelerated the spread of their correct ideas, and caused the sales of their paper books to increase. Not accepting Bitcoin is the equivalent of refusing to allow people to download PDFs without charge and using restrictive copyright clauses to try and prevent readers from spreading the books and ideas. It is pure Luddite in its character, and very out of character for a group of people whose focus and purpose is creating a future where liberty is spread all over the globe.

A few of these Libertarian Bitcoin refusers will claim that Bitcoin is not money, therefore they cannot accept it in exchange for goods. They will refer to the Mises regression theorem to assert that Bitcoin is not money. This is a position that I understand completely because strictly speaking, Bitcoin is not backed by anything.

The other reason why they may not accept Bitcoin is that they are all computer illiterates. This is possible, though unlikely. Remember, these are the same people who have embraced download for free and copy as you like superdistribution of the books they are selling; a revolutionary, counter intuitive manoeuvre that to most book publishers is anathema. In this respect, once again, they are very forward thinking, out of the box, and ahead of the curve. And it has worked spectacularly.

Perhaps what we are seeing here is a classic case of The Emperors New Clothes. All of these people are subjects in the same Austrian Empire, and none of them wants to be the first to stick his head out and take the risk of accepting Bitcoin. In a small community with decades of reputation and good will built up, accepting Bitcoin, in the unlikely event that it fails spectacularly, may tarnish their reputation forever. Bitcoin is risky, for ‘apostates’ and is not part of the mainstream yet. On the other hand, being able to accept Credit Cards is a mark of respectability and stamp of approval; it gives buyers a sense that the people selling these ideas are acceptable, not a threat, or group of anarchists. Even though they are. Bitcoin is still of the underground, its an unknown quantity. When you are trying to convince someone to throw away decades of statist brainwashing, any barrier to entry is a bad thing, and perhaps, the thinking is that Bitcoin would put people off. Of course, this doesn’t work at all, because Bitcoin can be used side by side with Credit Card payments and PayPal. This is not an either or proposition, its a pure win enhancement for everyone.

Really there is no excuse for not accepting Bitcoin. As the this article says, Bitcoin sales cannot cannibalise PayPal and Credit Card sales, it can only add to your bottom line.

I fear this can only be a philosophical, psychological objection to Bitcoin, and given the brush off the owner of this blog received in an email exchange with the owner of one of these sites, its clear that the Emperors New Clothes effect is what is causing a point blank, fingers in ears refusal to integrate Bitcoin payments into their carts.

Despite all of this, I am not at all concerned that the Austrians are rejecting Bitcoin.

There is not a single movement started by man that has not fallen to dust. The people who make up the Austrian School will eventually all die, and their useful ideas will be picked up and adapted by the people of the coming centuries, the bad ideas discarded.

No one in the future will have any problem being a Libertarian and using Bitcoin; it will be as natural as drinking water. Historians will look back at the first two years of Bitcoin and wonder how it was that rational, highly intelligent, educated people who were deeply integrated into the web and understood its potential to spread ideas could have missed this crystal clear example of a game changing revolution, in the very field of their expertise: money. That many of them were historians will make the puzzle even more perplexing. No doubt, a book will be written on this subject, with a title along the lines of, “The Bitcoin Luddites: How the Austrian School Failed to Spot the Monetary Revolution”.

Either way, Bitcoin does not need Austrians to spread all over the world. The internet and its global spread did not need the advocates of the Austrian School to promote it, and it has changed everything and is everywhere, and the same thing will happen with Bitcoin. We do not need the Austrian school to achieve a breakthrough in the adoption of Bitcoin. It is already inevitable.

The problem for the reputation of the Austrians is that the internet is not concerned with money especially, and so it is excusable for them to not have predicted it or been boosters of it from its infancy. Bitcoin is a different matter however. Bitcoin is only about money and Liberty, and it is very much concerned with the matters that Austrians specialise in and have correct. That they have actively rejected it, with irrational hostility does not auger well for their reputation as forward thinkers and shapers of the future.

2 Rebecca Iocca September 19, 2012 at 3:08 am

According to the Daily Apple, Bitcoin has some serious flaws and its’ origin is questionable. Their gnomes do a good job at sniffing out these kind of things.

3 Rebecca Iocca September 19, 2012 at 3:12 am

I am sorry. The article is from the Daily Bell and here’s a link to the article:

http://www.thedailybell.com/4311/The-Pure-Fiat-Con-Every-Transaction-Available-for-Official-Scrutiny-and-Thats-Just-the-Point

4 Jack Garcia September 19, 2012 at 9:25 am

Trace,

Thanks for this article and the many links to liberty- and privacy-minded organizations. I’ll be checking them out.

My problem with Bitcoins is simply that, after so many months of working on generating some from my single PC, I have none. And I really wonder if the investment of resources put into generating coins is worth it, financially speaking. As I understand it, Bitcoins can be purchased with typical fiat currency, as well as, presumably, precious metals. But if I do purchase Bitcoins with, say, my PayPal account, am I still getting the full benefit of using Bitcoins? Perhaps you can shed some light on this.

Thanks again.

JG

5 pilar chavez September 19, 2012 at 10:19 am

the problem is most people want to use bitcoin but are not computer literate and most things they read on bitcoin only give you a brief or incomplete outline not specific 1. 2. 3. they are hand on.

6 Trace Mayer, J.D. September 19, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Jack,

Bitcoin mining has become a highly specialized industry generating about $3m per month of revenue so it is increasingly competitive. For many it makes sense to just buy bitcoins with fiat cash instead of trying to generate them via mining. You can get the full benefit of using bitcoins this way as you will have them and be able to engage in transactions.

7 Trace Mayer, J.D. September 19, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Pilar,

Yes, I suppose the computer literacy is a barrier to entry for some but it is what it is. This is one reason we created A Beginner’s Guide To Bitcoin and Bitcoin Services.

8 Erik Voorhees September 19, 2012 at 12:24 pm

James Bellington, your post is fantastic – beautifully written and spot on. I’d like to chat with you briefly, if I could. Please contact me at my name at gmail.

9 Trace Mayer, J.D. September 19, 2012 at 12:31 pm

James,

Thanks for further sharpening of the spearhead. Not accepting Bitcoin is increasingly becoming a reputation liability given the logical arguments that have been articulated. I would really like to hear the counter-argument as I am having a hard time formulating it myself.

10 Topher September 19, 2012 at 8:03 pm

For most people interested in this they will not want to mine bitcoins or use Paypal to buy them. But there is lots of options out there. You can buy them via cash deposit at banks without disclosing ID, or person-to-person with cash via sites like LocalBitcoins.com. There are several of these sites now and also bitcoin-otc.com (though this last one is quite technical using gpg keys etc. it can also be used as a way to find to persons with strong reputation who can deal in simpler more direct ways). I think you can even find sellers on craigslist in your area sometimes.

11 majamalu September 20, 2012 at 9:58 am

Objections from the Molyneux crowd:

http://board.freedomainradio.com/forums/t/36736.aspx

12 Paul September 23, 2012 at 3:22 pm

I too have a Bitcoin account, but have no bitcoins. It seems to be quite a hassle to purchase some, particularly anonymously. I tried out BitInstant. Went to my local CVS, called up MoneyGram, and went to the cashier preparing to hand her cash. She told me the transaction didn’t go through. I went through the same process once more. Still didn’t go through. So I went to another CVS and put in two more attempts. Same results.

13 Trace Mayer, J.D. September 23, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Paul,

Did you follow the steps on BitInstant’s order process exactly? I have not had any issues with the service. Perhaps you got one of CVS’s best and brightest?

14 Trace Mayer, J.D. November 28, 2012 at 8:46 pm

It appears that Jeff Berwick has begun accepting Bitcoins. We also have a bundled product with The Dollar Vigilante, The Bank Privacy Report and Get Your Gold Out Of Dodge, that can be purchased for a significant discount using bitcoins.

And Anti-War.com now accepts bitcoin donations.

15 Trace Mayer, J.D. December 28, 2012 at 12:05 pm
16 Trace Mayer, J.D. January 10, 2013 at 9:29 pm
17 Trace Mayer, J.D. January 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm
18 James McDougall January 20, 2013 at 9:07 am

Interestingly enough, neither Doug Casey nor Stefan Molyneux are currently accepting bitcoins.

19 Trace Mayer, J.D. January 20, 2013 at 9:13 am

James, I know. Both are CIA honeypots gathering information on financial transactions of their audiences. Are they intentional CIA plants? Oddly, their continued obstinate behavior towards Bitcoin (Casey did an interview 18 JAN 2013) seems to be inconsistent with their freedom words.

20 Trace Mayer, J.D. February 12, 2013 at 2:27 pm

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