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sundialsvcs 11-29-2017 12:51 PM

Disturbing: "Bitcoin ATMs"
 
Quite unexpectedly, I encountered a "Bitcoin ATM" in an otherwise-unremarkable convenience store in Atlanta, GA.

A quick online search confirms that this is "a new and – as the effusive web-sites that I encountered would tell it – exploding industry."

I wonder how long it will be before anyone in any government recognizes this to be a fraud tantamount to robbery ??? :mad:

Generally speaking, people are by-now accustomed to the idea of "on-line transactions." But i would probably never occur to them that they might encounter a device – sitting right there in a neighborhood convenience store – that invites them to put their cash into the slot, and obtain something that is not(!) "cash-equivalent!" That is not "legal tender."

I always wondered what the "bitcoin miners" in this world would finally think of to do, in order to convert their numbers into (say ...) dollars. The answer turns out to be incredibly simple: [i]"put a fraud-machine in every convenience store, with which to bilk the unsuspecting public." Put your otherwise-worthless digital tokens into this network of machines, and pocket a portion of the resulting legal-tender cash.

Knowing that, when the sh*t eventually hits the fan, the resulting "legal issues" will tie-up a legion of lawyers for (if they play their cards right ...) "many comfortable decades." (And that "generous bribery" will surely be good for a couple more.)

:mad:

Ser Olmy 11-29-2017 01:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sundialsvcs (Post 5786692)
I wonder how long it will be before anyone in any government recognizes this to be a fraud tantamount to robbery ??? :mad:

And how does buying and selling cryptocurrency amount to fraud, exactly?

Quote:

Originally Posted by sundialsvcs (Post 5786692)
But i would probably never occur to them that they might encounter a device sitting right there in a neighborhood convenience store that invites them to put their cash into the slot, and obtain something that is not(!) "cash-equivalent!" That is not "legal tender."

But then neither is anything else you might buy with your money. Goods, services, stocks, bonds etc. are not legal tender, but could be exchanged for such if there's a demand in the market. Same goes for bitcoin.

Quote:

Originally Posted by sundialsvcs (Post 5786692)
I always wondered what the "bitcoin miners" in this world would finally think of to do, in order to convert their numbers into (say ...) dollars.

We sell them at an exchange.

Sotoprior 11-29-2017 02:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ser Olmy (Post 5786715)
And how does buying and selling cryptocurrency amount to fraud, exactly?


But then neither is anything else you might buy with your money. Goods, services, stocks, bonds etc. are not legal tender, but could be exchanged for such if there's a demand in the market. Same goes for bitcoin.


We sell them at an exchange.

Right, Now correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the initial concept for legalized tender based on its weight equivalency in gold? Least that was what I was lead to believe from good old American High School. The Note in specific being created specifically for redemption of such, (Basically the equivalent of Checks to be cashed out long before Checks and Debt Cards were a thing.) We've have had a period in the American times before this Bit coin Shenanigan where long before our centralized bank, banks had been creating their own Crypto Currency. Many of which lead to fraud, forged cash, and many of them minting out more than they could redeem. Not to mention the situation back in Germany during the times of World War II when the Government, in order to pay many of its debts to the rest of the world, Created hyper inflation by Minting out more and more cash, inevitably devaluing their cash's value by quite literally the barrel full for a simple loaf of bread. I can see where the OPs coming from, from just a high perk of an overall observation, but like many things in life, I would assume it would be incredibly difficult to get this currency by "mining", (as of at least last I checked, some how a single Bit is over in the thousands of Dollars, which is why I have a small disbelief in the OP's Story.) So Economically speaking, there has to be a base limit for these supposed coins in order to have a recurring demand for them no?

syg00 11-29-2017 06:24 PM

Our tax office treats bitcoin as a barter transaction, and not a use of currency. They specifically include ATM transactions.
However ... if you make a profit, they want their cut.

Of course.

rtmistler 11-30-2017 07:21 AM

Actually at the title or earlier sentences, I figured this concept was finally some "way" to take the calculated bitcoins and cash them out.

I've looked into this topic a bit and can see that one or many can set up servers and calculate coin solutions. Great! There's also plenty of stuff about the cost of electricity over the worth of the coins.

Also seen that they are trade-able in some markets, if not all, I haven't researched that side of the topic too well.

Instead you just hear that the cost of a bitcoin is up to xxxx dollars, and it was 4-digits last I'd heard.

Therefore I naturally wondered, "If I managed to have a server churning away and it calculated solutions, ergo got me some coins. Well how do I get that money?"

As far as them saying that you can buy stuff with bitcoins, I've never been one to subscribe to a fixed range of services, or have to look around for services from just anywhere. I don't actually order much online, in fact what I order online are things you can't find at the local stores, like my cheap $5 MP3 players that I use at the gym which take a uSD card.

I believe one can actually transact bitcoins to convert them to actual dollars, but it seems to be a minor pain.

Either case. For those who actually do transact coins, if one is paying a fair price, and one actually does not get grifted with some very unfair convenience fee, then it's not so bad. Have at it.

Does seem rather odd though because I thought they are like near $4,000. I don't generally go to ANY ATM and transact that kind of money.

Turbocapitalist 11-30-2017 08:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rtmistler (Post 5786983)
Therefore I naturally wondered, "If I managed to have a server churning away and it calculated solutions, ergo got me some coins. Well how do I get that money?"

https://www.theguardian.com/technolo...cunliffe-price

The so-called mining entered the realm of diminishing returns log ago. If you wanted in, the time was 2009 through mayhe 2011. After that you could buy your way in rather inexpensively. However, it all remains a big risk. Cryptocurrencies will eventally take off but whether it will be Bitcoin Legacy or another type is another matter. Unlike what a lot of disinformation in the media says Bitcoin is not anonymous and your every transaction is visible to the public. Other cryptocurrencies don't have that problem.

But I agree about the barter assessment. However barter is fine as long as both parties are happy. I've seen everything from moveable type fonts to timber to other weird things and services used. If people want to trade equations then that's fine too, as long as no one is getting ripped off...

The big reservation I had in 2009 and still have today is about the 'pointless' waste of electicity for such speculation. The rest of us are paying for these jokers to use massive amounts of electricity to calculate their cryptocurrencies through increased emissions. We're a very long way from sustainable fusion reactors and given the ever-diminishing investments in fusion, we're getting further away. So this currency 'mining' is just shifting the cost onto the rest of us.

sundialsvcs 11-30-2017 09:54 AM

The reason why I called it fraudulent is that it presents itself as "an ATM." But, with this machine, you are exchanging legal tender for something that is not. Furthermore, how do you actually know that the units you receive will actually be honored? And, what will you do if they are not?

This machine only serves to convert bitcoin units into cash for the owner/operator of the machine.

"Crypto-currencies" are based on a flawed notion of what "currencies" actually must be. They must, above all, be liquid. And, fungible. Anytime you want to buy or sell something, the currency-units necessary to denominate the transaction must be instantly available, and they must be able to change hands as many times as need be, even if paper-money is deposited in a cash drawer and the subsequent step is electronic. When you buy your morning Starbucks, you can freely use paper, metal discs, magnetic cards or even your phone to get the job done, and the money once received by Starbucks is instantly convertible to any other form. Billions of currency-units change hands every hour of every day, and they will never be in short supply.

We don't have nearly enough "gold," nor anything else that someone thinks is rare or pretty, to "back" all of these currency units. But, they don't need to be "backed." They just need to be accepted.

In the 19th-century gold mining camps, did they use gold? No, gold was the product, and they might or might not have found any. They used scrip, which was manufactured by the mining company and acceptable same-as-cash anywhere in the camp, and this is what solved the liquidity problem for the company. In the eyes of the law, "crypto-currencies" are nothing more than scrip. They are not illegal, but they are also not "legal tender."

I don't think that someone in a convenience store, faced with a machine that even calls itself an ATM, realizes that s/he is buying possibly-worthless scrip. I think that this practice "crosses the legal line" because it presents to a perhaps-uninformed public that "this is some kind of 'ATM,' and 'ATMs' dispense money."

enorbet 11-30-2017 10:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Turbocapitalist (Post 5787011)
https://www.theguardian.com/technolo...cunliffe-price

The so-called mining entered the realm of diminishing returns log ago. If you wanted in, the time was 2009 through mayhe 2011. After that you could buy your way in rather inexpensively. However, it all remains a big risk. Cryptocurrencies will eventally take off but whether it will be Bitcoin Legacy or another type is another matter. Unlike what a lot of disinformation in the media says Bitcoin is not anonymous and your every transaction is visible to the public. Other cryptocurrencies don't have that problem. <snip>
is just shifting the cost onto the rest of us.

I am particularly curious about your POV because of your nickname - Turbocapitalist. When I was a teenager a buddy of mine and I were deeply into Ayn Rand and formed a chapter of "The Objectivist" and even were chosen to be ushers at 2 of her symposiums in Washington, DC. The bonus was we got to meet her in person and chat for several minutes. That background is here just so you know I am one with confidence in Capitalism and at one time was radical enough to espouse Laissez-Faire. I'm no longer quite that radical and recognize that all politico-economic systems have their faults and problems and generally require somethi8ng of a "reboot" from time to time since the reality is that we never get to start with a level playing field and those with wealth and power have a distinct advantage that they tend to leverage in a manner that dilutes and perverts Capitalism to limit risk.

I am interested in your concern for other people's use of electricity which, afaik, they must pay for like everybody else, at least in terms of the fees of the utility company. I don't understand why someone elses choices for usage they pay for is any concern of yours in the first place. Possibly more revealing is the seemingly unawareness of the importance of diversity in a free, capitalistic society. History shows that many endeavors once considered frivolous and non-productive became or were part of a process necessary to create whole new products and markets. This is, in fact, the lifeblood of Capitalism and for however you imagine you share the cost, that's just the dues for being a member of and benefiting from such a progressive society that provides fertile markets as well as high standards of living.

So how is it a "turbocapitalist" doesn't know these things? or are you leaning toward some form of "there oughta be a law" fascism?

Turbocapitalist 11-30-2017 11:31 AM

Quote:

... recognize that all politico-economic systems have their faults and problems and generally require somethi8ng of a "reboot" from time to time since the reality is that we never get to start with a level playing field and those with wealth and power have a distinct advantage that they tend to leverage in a manner that dilutes and perverts Capitalism to limit risk.
Yep. Happened partially in 1873, 1929, 2007, ...

About the Bitcoin, the test is over and it was successful. It was only a test though. Now is time to look beyond Bitcoin itself to slightly different models. The people really into this have mostly moved on, from what I see hints of.

Bitcoin was a very clever experiment and proved itself in a real test but ultimately will go away because that particular model does not handle attrition. Bitcoins that are lost are gone. And it also lacks the anonymity needed to become a cash substitute. I won't call such investments stranded assets yet, but can foresee a time when they will be acknowledged as such. it is guaranteed to have a long tail now on its slow way out for now. There will be enough churn for many to make transactions into money for years. About the electricity, it depends on the scope of the analysis and the time span. Some things are just inherently stupid.

ChuangTzu 11-30-2017 07:37 PM

so called crypto-currency is no more real or fake then any other fiat money. Especially the heavily debt laden US$, which is nothing more then a Federal Reserve Note, and not actual money, it has no real value, only the value that we perceive in the faith of US Government.

Regarding money backed by gold, there is no reason why this could not happen, or use a wider money backed by a basket of commodities such as gold, silver, oil, cotton, pork bellies etc...This would put a check on the supply and demand of the currency relative to its "true" value. Could crypto-currency become real currency, sure, why not...it depends on its ability to be widely accepted, even sea shells, corn, rice and various stones have been used in the past...

Ref: https://www.treasury.gov/resource-ce...al-tender.aspx

Turbocapitalist 12-01-2017 02:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChuangTzu (Post 5787260)
so called crypto-currency is no more real or fake then any other fiat money. Especially the heavily debt laden US$, which is nothing more then a Federal Reserve Note, and not actual money, it has no real value, only the value that we perceive in the faith of US Government.

Same for just about any other fiat money in use, not just the USD or the Yuan.

It's not the 1800s any more. The debt itself is the actual currency now. That is by design. In Europe the 1992 Maastricht Treaty basically redefines the concept of money to mean debt, it does not come from the nation-states but is borrowed from the investment banks. So the greater the debt the more "money" there is.

rknichols 12-01-2017 10:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Turbocapitalist (Post 5787094)
About the electricity, it depends on the scope of the analysis and the time span. Some things are just inherently stupid.

The effect on global electricity usage and the environment is beginning to be noticed.
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-1...se-week?page=1
https://hothardware.com/news/bitcoin...home-in-a-week

sundialsvcs 12-01-2017 12:22 PM

To me, Bitcoin et al is a very-promising and novel application of cryptography and higher-mathematics, which offers the tantalizing possibility of being able to create digital tokens that don't require a central authority or a secret to validate them. The only current problem is, of course, precisely the characteristic that "money-mongers" are now championing: they are computationally too-expensive to produce.

If we could solve this one problem, the technology might revolutionize both currency and many other types of "on-line, necessarily-distributed," exchanges. Of which there are a great many.

I consider it to be utterly worthless in its present application, but tantalizing in what it might one day lead to. And that would be a 'software patent' that I would be very happy to grant.

ChuangTzu 12-01-2017 01:37 PM

I highly recommend the following books if you find this thread interesting:

Blood in the Streets by James Davidson and William Mogg
https://www.amazon.com/Blood-Streets...in+the+streets

The Great Reckoning
https://www.amazon.com/Great-Reckoni...sap_bc?ie=UTF8

Sovereign Individual
https://www.amazon.com/Sovereign-Ind...sap_bc?ie=UTF8

The Squeeze
https://www.amazon.com/Squeeze-James...sap_bc?ie=UTF8

sundialsvcs 12-01-2017 04:35 PM

I'm afraid that, to me, all of these "save yourself" authors purposely miss the same point: that we are all(!), mutual stakeholders in the very-same game. No matter how "privileged" or "independent" we might suppose ourselves to be, in fact we are neither. We are simply "one among hundreds of millions of human-beings similarly situated."

But this doesn't stop someone from (legitimately) selling books ... or ... bitcoins.

(Even "potentially worthless numbers, through a machine that masquerades as 'an ATM' in a run-of-the-mill convenience store, silently begging for legitimacy as it sits there.")

I am not convinced.


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