Introduction – The Philosophy of Bitcoins
In a recent article, Steve Klabnik, self-noted Bitcoin hater, discussed his experiences with Dogecoin.[i] In the same article he also discusses Bitcoins and the philosophies behind both the cryptocurrencies, but the essential part of this article is his final reaction to the virtual ‘coins’, which can be summed up in the following quote:
“Before, I just laughed. Now, thanks to a joke, I’m scared.”[ii]
Most of the currencies in the world right now, and all the reserve currencies, are fiat currencies.[iii] The term ‘fiat currencies’ refers to currencies that are issued by a government, and the government promises to pay the holder of such currencies an equivalent amount in gold, if needed.[iv] Thus, these currencies usually have a central regulatory body which issues them, and are consequently called ‘centralised’. And at the end of the day, they have the value they have because somebody said so.[v] The modern state can make anything it chooses as acceptable currency, without any further backing of any kind, even without a connection with gold.[vi]
Satoshi Nakamoto,[vii] the creator of Bitcoins, saw a problem with this, which is clear from the following excerpt from one of his earliest works:
“The root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that’s required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust. Banks must be trusted to hold our money and transfer it electronically, but they lend it out in waves of credit bubbles with barely a fraction in reserve. We have to trust them with our privacy, trust them not to let identity thieves drain our accounts. Their massive overhead costs make micropayments impossible.”[viii]
Thus, Nakamoto’s ideologies in creating Bitcoins would seem to be entirely political. Supporting this argument is the fact that he introduced the currency just a few months after the collapse of the global banking sector.[ix] His Bitcoin software would allow its users to send money over the internet directly to each other without an intermediary, and no outside party could create Bitcoins,[x] entirely cutting out the role of the central banks and governments in online transactions. As Nakamoto said, “everything is based on crypto proof instead of trust”.[xi] Furthermore, unlike the banks and governments which can print more money whenever they deem fit, the bots that are currently creating Bitcoins are supposed to stop doing so in or around the year 2140 according to their programming itself.[xii] And unlike fiat currencies, whose value is derived through regulation or law and underwritten by the state, Bitcoins derive their value through the simple principles of supply and demand – they have no intrinsic value and no backing, and their value depends entirely on what people are willing to trade for them. Nakamoto had created the first working cryptocurrency, making it as different from the existing fiat currencies as possible. It was meant to be an alternative to them, a new method of transaction, entirely free of government control, and, perhaps a challenge to it. It was to challenge the governments, to make people rethink the existing economic systems, to question their faith in it. And the fear that Klabnik notes in his article, is a sign that it is succeeding.
A Comment on Bitcoins, and Anonymity
There are two essential problems that digital currencies had always faced – double-spending, and hacking. What is to stop someone from creating a copy of the data of their digital currency and spending it again, and what is to stop a hacker or a group of hackers from hacking the Bitcoin code?
The former of the two issues, double spending, is usually where banks come in. They keep a track of the transactions and balances of their customers, thus making sure they only spend money they actually have – unless they’re buying on credit, obviously. This is referred to as a ‘centralised’ currency system, since all of the currency is monitored by a central agency.[xiii] Some centralised forms of virtual currencies also exist, such as Facebook credits. These are also subject to similar regulation, and are monitored by banks and governments.[xiv] The central authority here makes controlling and monitoring customers and their transactions much easier. For instance, in India, the KYC Norms set by the RBI require banks to continuously monitor their customers’ transactions, keep an up-to-date record of their identity, and take steps simply in case any of the transactions of a customer break from his or her usual pattern of behaviour![xv]
Nakamoto fixed the issue of double spending through a method of peer-to-peer networking, using proof-of-work to record a public history of transactions.[xvi] Thus, the very same network of nodes that keeps Bitcoins working also at the same time maintains a public record of Bitcoin transactions, informing anyone who wishes to check that Bitcoins have been moved from person A to person B. This record counters double-spending, but protects the identity of the users, since the actual identities of A and B are only know to the parties of the transaction, if even that. This has been commented on in more detail later. This entirely removes the central authority who was earlier a third party intermediary.
Simultaneously, this system also allows nodes to leave and connect with the Bitcoin network as they wish, since they work with little or no coordination, and no identification is required – messages are not routed to any specific node, but to the network as a whole, and work on a best effort basis.[xvii] Any nodes rejoining the network accept the proof-of-work chain as proof of what happened while they were gone, and start working again from the latest point.[xviii]
The second issue with cryptocurrency, hacking, is one that any software must face. But all the attempts that have as of yet been made to hack the coding of Bitcoins themselves have been met with failure,[xix] though attempts at hacking Bitcoin exchanges and wallets[xx] have been more successful.[xxi] According to Nakamoto, as long as the total computing power of the ‘honest’ nodes dedicated to keeping the Bitcoin network up and running is more than the computing power of a group of attackers, the network will remain unharmed.[xxii] Crucially, this does not mean that the Bitcoin software will certainly remain unhackable forever. Just as Nakamoto’s genius created the Bitcoin, it is quite possible that someone will someday successfully crack the Bitcoin software.
Anonymity and Bitcoins
As a result of the regulation of fiat currencies and centralised virtual currencies, all transaction involving them are monitored, and data on them is recorded by the central authority.[xxiii] Thus, no transaction involving these currencies can be entirely anonymous. Bitcoins, as mentioned earlier, do not involve an intermediary. The transactions are entirely peer-to-peer, in the sense that only the parties to the transaction are aware of each others’ identities; the public record of Bitcoin transactions does not note their identity, only notes the transaction.
And this is where the ‘crypto’ part of the term ‘cryptocurrency’ comes in. Every transaction is encrypted, with two sets of keys – the public key, and the private key. As their names imply, the public keys are available to everyone, thus adding the transaction to the public list of transactions, but the private keys are, ideally, known only to the owners of the wallet. Before a Bitcoin transaction can be confirmed, the user of the wallet must enter his or her private key. The private key of a Bitcoin address is stored in the wallet itself, designed so that the Bitcoin address can be calculated from the private key, but not the other way around. Hence, even among the parties to the transaction, no personal information is shared.[xxiv]
This part of the Bitcoin transaction is one of the most widely misinterpreted – Bitcoin transactions are not usually anonymous. It takes considerable intentional effort to make a Bitcoin transaction entirely anonymous.[xxv] They are actually pseudonymous, with the Bitcoin wallet address of the Bitcoin user function the same way as an email address. The public ledger of Bitcoin transactions also maintains a record of every user’s encrypted identity.[xxvi] Bitcoins are anonymous in the sense that the actual identity might not directly be known, and that the governments do not have access to a collection of data about the users of Bitcoin similar to what they would have with users of fiat currencies. But even though they do not offer absolute anonymity, they still offer an increased level of privacy as compared to fiat currencies and centralised virtual currencies.
Thus, the main factors that characterise Bitcoins are their decentralisation, the peer-to-peer nature of the transactions that excludes third parties, the public ledger of transactions and users, and their pseudonymous nature, and all of these factors culminate in taking away from the governments the power to regulate currencies. Bitcoins have become a functional and viable alternative to the existing system of currencies, essentially without costing their users anything, and at the same removing them from government regulation. Furthermore, they cannot realistically be outlawed or banned by any governments, since there is no essential regulator or creator of Bitcoins that the governments can prosecute.[xxvii] The essence of Bitcoins, then, is not in anonymity per se, but in the lack of central regulation of the currency. It can even be said that the Bitcoin was actually designed to be regulated – not by a central agency, but by the public at large.
Anonymity and Regulations – A Bitcoins perspective
This part of the paper discusses the arguments made for and against the regulation, such as it is, provided by Bitcoins. As has been clarified earlier, Bitcoin transactions are not perfectly anonymous, but rather pseudonymous, but more essentially take the control of the currency away from the government. Obviously enough, that is not something everyone is comfortable with. The argument made in favour of regulation is that Bitcoins, by the nature of the ‘anonymity’ inherent in them and the lack of a centrally responsible body, facilitate illegal activities,[xxviii] and whether they can be or perhaps are being used to fund terrorist activities, hacktivist groups, and other similar organisations.[xxix]
In this respect, the relevant example is that of Silk Road.[xxx] Silk Road was a website which was part of the Dark Web, which is the part of the internet that cannot be accessed directly through search engines, and anonymising software like TOR[xxxi] must be used to access it. Silk Road was one of the most popular websites on the Dark Web, where users could readily purchase items like black tar heroin, crystal meth, amphetamines, and anabolic steroids.[xxxii] Since online transactions with fiat money are inherently traceable, users of this website had taken to trading with Bitcoins. The website was taken down by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (hereinafter ‘FBI’) recently.[xxxiii] Any contemporary discussion on the advantages and drawbacks of Bitcoins is sure to mention Silk Road, as an example of all that is wrong with Bitcoins. That entirely misses the point of Bitcoins, though. Bitcoins are not meant or designed to be used as the black market currency, or to facilitate entirely anonymous transactions. In fact, as discussed earlier in this paper, they are actually designed to be regulated – just not by the government. Methods of tracking Bitcoin users already exist, and even though they might not be the easiest to execute, with reasonable amounts of due diligence, anyone can figure who owns which wallet addresses.[xxxiv]
Furthermore, even though the supposed ‘anonymity’ of Bitcoins is the part the governments chose to focus on, that is not where Bitcoin and the philosophy behind it begins and ends – they are actually gaining more and more recognition. As far as public acceptance goes currently Bitcoin is still in its nascent stage, and so are the other forms of cryptocurrencies like Dogecoins and Litecoins. While various members of the society are jumping on to the bandwagon with abandon and absolute belief, others are more cautious about it, and still more are outright sceptical. But this trend is changing, if at a slower pace than the proponents of Bitcoins would like. This has actually resulted in Bitcoins becoming a forum for speculative investment, at the same time creating a fourth category of people who are buying Bitcoins as an investment, with the belief that they will gain value in the near future.[xxxv] And then there is the infamous sixth category – the criminals, who use Bitcoins for illicit trades and money laundering.
The number of places you can spend your Bitcoins are also increasing at a steady pace.[xxxvi] For example, with Bitcoins, you can currently order cupcakes and wine in San Francisco;[xxxvii] order food all over the United States of America;[xxxviii] manage your WordPress expenses;[xxxix] start dating online;[xl] and until recently, pay your Baidu expenses.[xli] There is an ATM in Vancouver where you can convert your virtual coins into cash,[xlii] and a Bitcoin exchange in the Eurozone which has officially been approved to act as a bank.[xliii] At the same time, you can also buy drugs,[xliv] order assassinations,[xlv] or, if you prefer doing things yourself, buy illegal weapons.[xlvi]
It is clear from the above that practically speaking, governments, and people too, are just getting used to the idea that Bitcoins, or any form of cryptocurrency for that matter, might actually work, that it actually give fiat currencies a run for their money. And, as is becoming the sad norm with all forms of technological advancements, the governments’ rules, regulations and laws are lagging far behind Bitcoins. Despite the fact that Satoshi Nakamoto’s paper was originally published in 2009, and that Bitcoins have been in use for years now, governments have just started to come out with rules regarding their usage, and even then they have not managed to understand the unique nature of Bitcoins, and hence have failed to control, though the US Congress’ Congressional Research Service has just now come out with a report on Bitcoins that actually manages to comprehend that.[xlvii] China has just this month taken steps to ban the currency,[xlviii] the RBI in India has similarly recently come out with a circular,[xlix] causing the Indian exchanges to shut down their shops.[l] The US State of California had recently sent a Cease-and-Desist notice to the Bitcoin Foundation,[li] and USA’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (hereinafter ‘FinCen) has designed a set of guidelines[lii] applicable to Virtual Currencies which would make many of the parties in the Bitcoin economy Money Services Businesses (hereinafter ‘MSB’s) under US Law, thus requiring them to subscribe to the cornucopia of regulations MSBs must follow.[liii]
All these steps, taken by the various governments spread throughout the world, only go on to prove that they are again lagging behind in actually understanding the technology behind Bitcoins. When the US shut down Silk Road, Silk Road 2.0 was online and booming within weeks.[liv] When Silk Road 2.0 started facing issues, other Dark Web blackmarkets gained business.[lv] When China started cracking down on Bitcoins, the Chinese simply found other ways to use Bitcoins, keeping the value of the Bitcoin in the country stable contrary to the Chinese government’s hopes.[lvi] The uselessness of a ban on Bitcoins that India seems to be gearing towards has already been discussed earlier, and is even clearer with the example of China.[lvii] Even despite California’s Cease-and-Desist notice to the Bitcoin Foundation, it is still running, the FinCEN regulations have only created more confusion without actually regulating the money laundering activities well,[lviii] and the CRS report has actually stated that Bitcoins are a threat to the American dollar, if the situation is not remedied.[lix] There are some cases pending in the New York courts, which will perhaps deal with the issue better.[lx]
As discussed earlier in this paper, the very digital architecture of Bitcoins is something that makes central regulation impossible, especially by the classic approaches. Like Cloud Computing and Wearable Computer Devices, Bitcoins are a technological revolution, only made possible because their creator thought in ways no one had thought before.[lxi] In the realm of currencies, they have created a new reality. Any attempts to regulate or track their usage must take a similarly new approach, one that accounts for their unique structure. The governments are, contrarily, sticking to the old laws, attempting to modify them to suit Bitcoins, but the fact of the matter is, nothing like Bitcoins existed when these laws were written! Thus, Bitcoins either fall entirely outside the scope of all of these laws, or are covered under them through extremely tenuous arguments.[lxii] Alternative approaches such as covering them under Contract Law,[lxiii] or bringing them under the purview of the IMF,[lxiv] have been suggested, which have their own pros and cons, and again depend heavily on the stance the various governments choose to take. But the fact of the matter remains the same – Bitcoins cannot be regulated by a central regulation mechanism, and if the governments want to take serious measures against illegal activities involving them, they must rethink their existing approaches entirely. And that, fortunately or unfortunately, is something they adamantly refuse to do.
Bitcoins, and other cryptocurrencies based on the same digital architecture, are an entirely new paradigm for the world of currencies, entirely different from anything that any government, especially the Indian government, has dealt with to date. And along the lines of the widely criticised decisions the Indian government has been taking recently with regards to its various laws and rules which attempt to govern technologies and their uses, the fear that it would deal similarly horribly with Cryptocurrencies is a major concern, especially in light of the recent RBI circular, which has been discussed above. For instance, as noted earlier, one of the main reasons of the appeal of the anonymity provided by Bitcoins right now is essentially a reaction to USA and UK’s surveillance of their own citizens and foreign nationals.[lxv] And the Indian government has actually launched its Central Monitoring System program, notably more publicly than the other nations since we already know about it, in the fog that surrounds the fallout of the above surveillance programs coming to public knowledge! This would only result in even more people taking to Bitcoins, and that too as quickly as they possibly can. A better method of ‘regulation’, if it can even be called that, would be to set up a network of bots that would trace the users of wallets using the methods discussed above, thereby keeping a track of wallets associated with known offenders. This would simulatenously also make sure that the core idea behind Bitcoins, the decentralisation, remains intact.
Bitcoins, it would seem, are here to stay and prosper. Nakamoto’s software removes the problem of double spending, the code itself has proven to be as of yet unbreakable, the currency itself is gaining public acceptance with surprising speed, attempts at its regulation are failing, and the concept of a market entirely free of government regulation is one that has found its appeal. The crucial words here, though, are ‘as of yet’. Just like no one could have predicted the advent of Bitcoins before Satoshi Nakamoto ghosted onto the internet, it is quite possible that someday, someone will crack the coding of Bitcoins. It seems quite unlikely now, yes, but that is the point behind the unpredictability of technological breakthroughs – even Satoshi Nakamoto noted the possibility of the honest nodes holding up the Bitcoin network being overpowered by attacker nodes.[lxvi] Thus, while Bitcoins are indubitably a revolution not only in the worlds of Internet and cryptocurrencies, but also in the world of currencies as a whole and the international market itself, whether they will last or not is not a question that can be answered. But they are regardless a lesson for the governments, a proverbial slap in their face, and a reminder that they need to do their jobs better. At the same time, they are a statement of sorts, that Orwellian Big Brothers are not welcome in the cyberspace; that while an absolute lack of regulation is not practically possible, there are limits to the steps that the government can take, and they should not forget that. Bitcoins are, then, a sign that the citizens of various countries around the world are losing trust in their government, that they would rather trust computer programming and a pseudonymous computer programmer than trust it, and every new user of Bitcoins only adds to this sense of distrust. To paraphrase Steve Klabnik, the question that cryptocurrencies, specifically Dogecoins, pose is that if things are worth whatever anyone says they are worth, then why not Dogecoins, or Bitcoins, or a random piece of rock you pick up?[lxvii] His comment is on the Dogecoin, a project which is inherently more satirical than Bitcoins, and which makes people rethink the entire existing concept of money and currency. The Bitcoin, on the other hand, goes a step further – it is meant for people who have lost faith in the existing concepts, giving them an alternative, one free of the chains that bind fiat currencies. It is a continuation of the old euphoria that gripped the world when the internet was first opened to the public, fuelled by the heady idea of being as free of governmental control as possible, something that is best expressed by the following immortal quite by John Perry Barlow, former rockstar and founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
“Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.”[lxviii]
And another part of the same declaration, that, perhaps prophetically, since it was written in 1996, more closely mentions the Bitcoin:
[i] Steve Klabnik, How Dogecoin changed my perspective on Cryptocurrency, The Daily Dot, https://www.dailydot.com/opinion/dogecoin-is-real-cryptocurrency/.
[iii] Vincent Scheurer, The Magic of Money: Can our current system of fiat money survive in the long term?, The Motley Fool, https://news.fool.co.uk//news/investing/2011/07/01/the-magic-of-money.aspx.
[iv] Abba P. Lerner, Money as a Creature of State, The American Economic Review, 37 (2), 312 (1947).
[v] Incidentally, the term ‘fiat’ is Latin for “let it be done” or “it shall be”.
[vi] Lerner, supra note 4, at 313.
[vii] This name has been used in this paper to refer to the pseudonymous identity of the creator Bitcoins.
[viii] Taken from a five-hundred word essay written by Satoshi Nakamoto, where Bitcoins were mentioned for the first time. A copy of the essay is available at: https://p2pfoundation.ning.com/forum/topics/bitcoin-open-source.
[ix] Joshua Davis, The Crypto-Currency, The New Yorker, Oct. 10, 2011, 62 https://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/10/10/111010fa_fact_davis.
[xi] Nakamoto, supra note 8.
[xii] Benjamin Wallace, The Rise and Fall of Bitcoin, Wired, Nov. 23, 2011, https://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/11/mf_bitcoin/.
[xiii] Dr. Rhys Bollen, The Legal Status of Online Currencies: Are Bitcoins The Future?, Journal of Bank. & Fin. L. & Pr., 3, available at: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2285247.
[xiv] For instance, in the US, the FinCEN has extended its regulations to Virtual Currencies, thus requiring agencies like Facebook which issue virtual currencies to monitor their customers and their transactions; FinCen, Application of FinCEN’s Regulations to Persons Administering, Exchanging, or Using Virtual Currencies, available at: https://fincen.gov/statutes_regs/guidance/html/FIN-2013-G001.html.
[xv] RBI, Master Circular – Know Your Customer (KYC) norms / Anti-Money Laundering (AML) standards/Combating of Financing of Terrorism (CFT)/Obligation of banks under PMLA, 2002, RBI/2013-14/94, available at: https://www.rbi.org.in/scripts/BS_ViewMasCirculardetails.aspx?id=8179.
[xvi] Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System, Bitcoin.org , available at: https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf.
[xix] Davis, supra note 9.
[xx] Bitcoin Wallets are software programs used to keep track of the Bitcoins owned by the user of the Wallet.
[xxi] See Dan Goodin, Bitcoin Talk forum hacked hours after making cameo in Silk Road takedown, ARSTechnica, Oct. 4, 2013, https://arstechnica.com/security/2013/10/bitcoin-talk-forum-hacked-hours-after-making-cameo-in-silk-road-takedown/; also see Timothy B. Lee, Hacker steals $250k in Bitcoins from online exchange Bitfloor, ARSTechnica, Sept. 5, 2012, https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/09/hacker-steals-250k-in-bitcoins-from-online-exchange-bitfloor/.
[xxii] Nakamoto, supra note 16.
[xxiii] Lerner, supra note 4, 313.
[xxiv] Nikolei M. Kaplanov, Nerdy Money: Bitcoin, The Private Digital Currency, And The Case Against Its Regulation, Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper, 12, available at: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2115203.
[xxv] Id, at 44.
[xxvi] Congressional Research Service, Bitcoin: Questions, Answers, and Analysis of Legal issues, 6, available at: www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43339.pdf.
[xxvii] Kaplanov, supra note 24, at 42.
[xxviii] Peter Twomey, Halting a Shift in the Paradigm: The Need for Bitcoin Regulation, 16 Trinity C. L. Rev. 67, 70 (2013).
[xxix] Id, at 71.
[xxxi] Available at: https://www.torproject.org.in/.
[xxxii] Twomey, supra note 28, at 71.
[xxxiii] Nate Anderson & Cyrus Farivar, How the Feds took down Dread Pirate Roberts, ARSTechnica, Oct. 3, 2013, available at: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/10/how-the-feds-took-down-the-dread-pirate-roberts/.
[xxxiv] Sarah Meiklejohn et alia, A Fistful of Bitcoins: Characterising Payments Among Men with No Names, Internet Measurement Conference 2013.
[xxxv] Agustino Fontevecchia , Winklevoss Twins Say Bitcoin Market To Hit $400B, Urge Regulators Not To Push Innovation To China, Forbes, Dec. 11, 2013, https://www.forbes.com/sites/afontevecchia/2013/11/12/winklevoss-twins-say-bitcoin-market-to-hit-400b-urge-regulators-not-to-push-innovation-to-china/.
[xxxvi] For instance, a list of places where you can spend your Bitcoins in the UK is available here: Matthew Sparkes, Ten Places where you can spend your Bitcoin in the UK, The Telegraph, Jan. 10, 2014, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/10558191/Ten-places-where-you-can-spend-your-bitcoins-in-the-UK.html; a more diverse list is available at: https://www.coindesk.com/information/what-can-you-buy-with-bitcoins/.
[xxxvii] The website for the Cups and Cakes Bakery in San Francisco is available here: https://cupsandcakesbakery.com/. (In the lower part of the page, they mention “We accept Bitcoins, Buy Cupcakes with Bitcoins”).
[xxxviii] The website for Foodler is available here: https://www.foodler.com/. (There is a Bitcoins section at the bottom of the page).
[xxxix] The official WordPress statement is available here: https://en.blog.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/pay-another-way-bitcoin/.
[xl] Betsy Isaacson, OKCupid To Begin Accepting Bitcoin Payments For Premium Features, The Huffington Post, April 16, 2013, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/16/okcupid-bitcoin_n_3093427.html.
[xli] See Matt Clinch, Baidu Division Now Accepting Bitcoins, CNBC, Oct. 16, 2013, https://www.cnbc.com/id/101116330; also see Bloomberg News, Baidu Stops Accepting Bitcoins After China Ban, Bloomberg Personal Finance, Dec. 7, 2013, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-07/baidu-stops-accepting-bitcoins-after-china-ban.html.
[xlii] Julie Gordon, Bitcoin goes mainstream with ATM in Vancouver coffee shop, Reuters, Oct. 29, 2013, https://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/10/29/uk-bitcoin-atm-idUKBRE99S1ED20131029.
[xliii] Timothy B. Lee, Bitcoin going mainstream? Exchange approved to operate as a bank, ARS Technica, Dec. 7, 2012, https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/12/bitcoin-going-mainstream-exchange-approved-to-operate-as-a-bank/.
[xliv] Patrick Howell O’Niell, As Silk Road 2.0 Struggles, new black markets look beyond TOR, The Daily Dot, Dec. 26, 2013, https://www.dailydot.com/crime/deep-web-black-markets-beyond-tor-i2p/.
[xlv] Andy Greenberg, Meet The ‘Assassination Market’ Creator Who’s Crowdfunding Murder With Bitcoins, Forbes, Nov. 18, 2013, https://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2013/11/18/meet-the-assassination-market-creator-whos-crowdfunding-murder-with-bitcoins/.
[xlvi] Adrian Chen, Now You Can Buy Guns on the Underground Marketplace, Gawker, Jan. 27, 2012, https://gawker.com/5879924/now-you-can-buy-guns-on-the-online-underground-marketplace.
[xlvii] The full report is available here: https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43339.pdf.
[xlviii] James Titcomb, China’s answer to Amazon, Alibaba, bans Bitcoin, Telegraph, Jan. 8, 2014, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/currency/10558945/Chinas-answer-to-Amazon-Alibaba-bans-Bitcoin.html.
[xlix] RBI, RBI cautions users of Virtual Currencies against Risks, Dec. 24, 2013, available at: https://rbi.org.in/scripts/BS_PressReleaseDisplay.aspx?prid=30247
[l] Cade Metz, Bitcoin Exchanges Shut Down in India After Warning, Wired, Dec. 27, 2013, https://www.wired.com/business/2013/12/bitcoin-india/.
[li] Nathan Mattise, California sends a cease and desist order to the Bitcoin Foundation, ARSTechnica, June 24, 2013, https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/06/california-sends-a-cease-and-desist-order-to-the-bitcoin-foundation/.
[lii] FinCEN, supra note 14.
[liv] John Biggs, Silk Road 2 Still Running After Moderator Arrests, TechCrunch, Dec. 23, 2013, https://techcrunch.com/2013/12/23/silk-road-2-still-running-after-moderator-arrests/.
[lv] Howell, supra note 44.
[lvi] Titcomb, supra note 48.
[lvii] Kaplanov, supra note 24, at , 42.
[lviii] Timothy B. Lee, US regulator: Bitcoin exchanges must comply with money-laundering laws, ARSTechnica, Mar. 19, 2013, https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/03/us-regulator-bitcoin-exchanges-must-comply-with-money-laundering-laws/.
[lix] The full report is available here: https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43339.pdf.
[lx] Rob Wile, Here are all the Details About the Upcoming New York Bitcoin Hearings, Business Insider, Jan. 10, 2014, https://www.businessinsider.in/Here-Are-All-The-Details-About-The-Upcoming-New-York-Bitcoin-Hearings/articleshow/28650577.cms.
[lxi] Davis, supra note 9.
[lxii] Kaplanov, supra note 24, at , 38-39.
[lxiii] Kaplanov, supra note 24, at , 41.
[lxiv] Nicholas Plassaras, Regulating Digital Currencies: Bringing Bitcoin Within the Reach of the IMF, 14 Chi J Intl. L (2013), 24.
[lxv] Kaplanov, supra note 24, at , 11.
[lxvi] Nakamoto, supra note 16.
[lxvii] Klabnik, supra note 1.
[lxviii] John Perrry Barlow, A Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace, Electronic Frontier Foundation, available at: https://projects.eff.org/~barlow/Declaration-Final.html.