Friday, March 21, 2014

HOT: The SEC Is Investigating Major Bitcoin Related Company Sale

On March 3, the SEC sent a letter to Mircea Popescu asking about the sale of SatoshiDice, an online Bitcoin gambling business, on MPEx, the Bitcoin-based online exchange run by Popescu, reports WaPo.

Specifically, the agency wants the account statements of SatoshiDice founder Erik Vorhees, and any contracts or documents related to the listing or sale of shares in his company.

WaPo goes on to point out:
Popescu was ready for them. He posted a copy of the SEC’s request on his website along with an email back-and-forth between himself and SEC lawyer Daphna Waxman.
Popescu responded mockingly, disputing at length the legality of the SEC’s request.
After giving her a verbal spanking, he did leave room for future cooperation:
“In the spirit of candor, let me make it perfectly clear that what’s being discussed here is nothing else and nothing short of the SEC’s ultimate relevancy and importance in the Bitcoin space, and so far I am not particularly impressed. Let us work together to improve upon this shaky basis if at all possible.”
But then he said he wanted a bunch of impossible (at least in the near term) stuff before the two could talk frankly, including an SEC determination that it lacks jurisdiction over Bitcoin.
Popescu dismissed the idea that the SEC has authority over MPEx and other Bitcoin exchanges on his website. Others in the bitcoin community are less cavalier about the potential for regulation. “….Negative pressure from the SEC could have a huge chilling effect,” the Bitcoin journal BitcoinX said.
To me this is another example of the reach that government has the capability of executing around the Bitcoin world. It is not likely to turn out well for certain Bitcoin players. In a libertarian society, there would be no SEC and this type of harassment would not occur, but we don't live in a libertarian society and anyone that attempts to challenge the government must recognize its strengths. I don't believe Bitcoin players in general have taken the strengths of government into account. A transparent ecurrency where blockchains are visible to everyone, including the government, is not the type of currency that is going to allow transactions that the government will not be able to detect and generally identify.

Further, things are only going to get worse for Bitcoin in terms of government interference, once government regulations come down on how all Bitcoin transactions at the consumer level will have to be handled.


  1. Ted Butler: J. P. Morgan and the Comex And Precious Metal Price Manipulation

    Suing JPMorgan and the COMEX
    Theodore Butler|
    March 21, 2014

    I’ve had some recent conversations with attorneys who were considering class-action lawsuits regarding a gold price manipulation stemming from reports about the London Gold Fix. I told them that while there is no doubt that gold and, particularly, silver are manipulated in price, I didn’t see how the manipulation stemmed from the London Fix. I wished them well and hoped that they may prevail (the enemy of my enemy is my friend), because you never know – if the lawyers dig deep enough they might find the real source of the gold and silver manipulation, namely, the COMEX (owned by the CME Group) and JPMorgan.

    So I thought it might be constructive to lay out what I thought a successful lawsuit might look like, although I’m speaking as a precious metals analyst and not as a lawyer. I’ll try to put the whole thing into proper perspective, including the premise and scope of the manipulation as well as the parties involved.

    The first thing I should mention is how unprecedented it is that I’m writing this in the first place. Here I am, directly and consistently accusing two of the world’s most important financial institutions of market manipulation (making sure I send each all my accusations) and I have received no complaint from either. I don’t think that has ever occurred previously. Now I am taking it one step further; presenting a guide for how and why JPMorgan and the CME should be sued for their manipulation of gold and silver (and copper, too)...

  2. Oh course, you had to come back to one of your pet peeves that you fail to understand, bitcoin. You seem to think that somehow the US authorities are going to prevent people from transacting in bitcoin!?! Pray tell Robert, how will that happen when one doesn't need to put one's bitcoins in a bank or exchange? If I want to exchange my bitcoins for something, I can just do it, similar to any barter that I want to do except bitcoin gives me a ledger of my transactions. And the delicious thing is that is never has to be online. I guess soon you'll be telling us, the government is going to legislate against barter! And as the dollar arrives close everyday to blowing up (search latest gas deal between Russia and China that completes excludes the dollar, and the loving exchanges between Russia and the 2nd most populous nation, i.e. India), whose going to care about the dollar in 3 to 5 years except yourself?

  3. Clearly the Bitcoiners are operating under the classic MO take the world as you want it to be rather than the way it is. IF the SEC wanted they could determine that each bitcoin itself is a security that must be registered and without such registration all sales are illegal.
    The IRS can also request from Overstock and other companies "accepting" bitcoin for the names of the people to whom they sold product so they can ask those users what their cost basis was in the bitcoins they used to buy goods.