Event – John Villasenor and cryptocurrencies

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Please join us at 4PM EDT on March 17 for a discussion on cryptocurrencies with John Villasenor, a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and professor of electrical engineering and public policy at UCLA. John will give a brief overview of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, describe some recent events related to these currencies, and take questions from chat participants. Also joining us for the discussion will be Manish Gupta, the co-creator of the DogeApi, the most popular API for working with DogeCoin.

The event is expected to last about 45 minutes.

Visit the SSIT G+ Community page for more information on this event.

Catch it on YouTube (assuming all of this technology works)

Virtual money for crime and profits

The US Department of Justice has initiated action against Liberty Reserve, a “digital money” service, for laundering money … which is to say,  helping criminals hide their ill gotten gains from authorities.  This is a consideration for all variations of fungible digital assets.

Clearly some environments, such as Pay Pal, provide one path for abuse founded on local hard currency (or at least as hard as credit cards get.)  Bit-Coin is at the other extreme, establishing its own currency, with limited ability to create new coins.  This approach has had it’s ups and downs (exchange rates for Bitcoins have been in flux.)  There are other variations such as Linden Dollars in Second Life, or the ‘gold’ of World of Warcraft. These systems are fungible because value “in game” can be translated to real money outside the game. Folks have actually become wealthy doing “real” estate or “products” in Second Life.

It is not too hard to envision many ways to accomplish the money laundering and transfers that may no longer be available via Liberty Reserve.  If the Feds really want to track things, perhaps they should open their own virtual bank.  Or, perhaps they have.