Want to Spend Bitcoin in France? (Caveat Emptor)
Over the past year Bitcoin has become hot speculative stuff among trendy online currency investors but how easy is it to spend the coins?
UPDATE: Scroll down to Max Kaiser’s latest video for some startling news from Cyprus on Bitcoin.
While most of the early adopters were in north America the attractions of a cross-border, non-bank-controlled and non-governmental supervised peer-to-peer currency have started to win over business traders and others in Europe and elsewhere, despite the coins taking a recent cold bath at the hands of the central bank of China .
The map below shows where consumers can currently transact with Bitcoins in France (the map is interactive) and can be updated at the website Coinmap.org which provides access to anyone caring to do so.
Before getting hooked on what some tout as a sharp way to enable consumers to get even with financial shysters responsible for severely damaging fiat currency and honest pockets everywhere since the 2007 Global Financial Crisis, cautious investors will surely be curious about a very recent report on the great bitcoin heist together with a somewhat inspired response by the online community.
Ian Steadman in the UK New Statesman magazine writes: “Yesterday, Sheep Marketplace, an anonymous digital narcotics bazaar that grew popular after the shutdown of the Silk Road, announced that it had been robbed of 5,400 bitcoins—the equivalent of $6 million at current exchange rates—and then promptly shut itself down. This came just days after Black Market Reloaded announced it would be shutting down due to an inability to absorb a massive influx of new users leaving Sheep Marketplace.”
Wondering how safe/elastic/tradeable/useable a digital currency like Bitcoin is? Listen to this explanation by the Greek-born academic and political economist Yanis Varoufakis — author of ‘”The Global Minotaur” — on some of the ins and outs of “cryptocurrency”:
Meanwhile others, such as Michael Nielsen, a writer, scientist and programmer, explaining “How the Bitcoin protocol actually works”, hold a different perspective: “Understanding the details of the Bitcoin protocol opens up otherwise inaccessible vistas. In particular, it’s the basis for understanding Bitcoin’s built-in scripting language, which makes it possible to use Bitcoin to create new types of financial instruments, such as smart contracts. New financial instruments can, in turn, be used to create new markets and to enable new forms of collective human behaviour…”
Here is a website that purports to show world currencies flowing into BTC in real time.
Investors in the currency may not be too happy to read the response by a US economist, Eric Tymoigne who when asked to assess the “Fair price of a Bitcoin“, responded resoundingly – ZERO. Eric Tymoigne is an assistant Professor of Economics at Lewis and Clark College in the United States.
In a separate wealth-related development ZeroHedge warns depositors with commercial banks to watch their pockets as — just as they did with the Cyprus bailout — the banksters appear to preparing to pick them again. They promise to raid your savings accounts the next time a too-big-to-fail bank, run by too-big-to-jail operators, runs into difficulty as many observers believe is inevitable. Here is the official policy announcement courtesy of ZeroHedge contributor GoldCore: Bail-Ins And Deposit Confiscation Confirmed At ‘Future of Banking in Europe’ Conference: “A major conference on the future of banking yesterday heard contributions on a European banking union which is being negotiated by Eurozone finance ministers. One of the aspects of that union will be a ‘bail-in’ of deposits when banks fail in the future. Michael Noonan, Ireland’s Minister for Finance confirmed yesterday that bail-ins or deposit confiscation will be used. The toolkit underpinning the Single Resolution Mechanism is provided for in the bank recovery and resolution proposal (BRR) which was agreed last June in Council under the Irish Presidency. The proposal provides a common framework of rules and powers to help EU countries manage arrangements to deal with failing banks at national level as well as cross-border banks, whilst preserving essential bank operations and minimising taxpayers’ exposure to losses. One of the main pillars to the BRR framework to facilitate a range of actions by authorities are “resolution tools”. Noonan confirmed yesterday that resolution tools include the sale of business, bridge bank and asset separation tools and also the use of bail-ins. The era of bondholder bailouts is ending and that of depositor bail-ins is coming…”
One reason Bitcoin may have started to take off as an alternative currency is because the deep recession, now in Year 6 in Europe, has destroyed people’s faith in banks, fiat currency and the financial world in general.
In this piece on the Naked Capitalism blog, Mathew D. Rose, a Berlin-based writer asks: Is It Time to Pull the Plug on the EU?: ” EU member states are democracies and patience in many of the peripheral nations – and not only those – is running very short … The situation on the ground is dramatic. In October the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies published a report entitled “Think Differently – Humanitarian impact of the economic crisis in Europe”, which provides sixty pages of sobering reading. The situation within the 52 nations that comprise Europe according to the report is not “stabilising”, but spiralling downwards: ‘There are now more than 18 million people receiving EU-funded food aid, 43 million who do not get enough to eat each day and 120 million at the risk of poverty in the countries covered by Eurostat’ (the EU nations plus Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and FYR Macedonia). Today one of the Red Cross’s principal tasks in Europe is feeding an increasing number of people, because without this aid the affected persons could not pay their rent und utilities. The Spanish Red Cross has for the first time had to launch an appeal to assist the citizens of its own country…Yves Daccord, Director General of the International Committee of the Red Cross, gave an important warning earlier this year: “Europe has a long record of maintaining a plausible trust in the future of its young people, even during turmoil. Not anymore. With prices rising and rampant unemployment, young urban people no longer see any future for themselves, and governments start losing credibility and legitimacy.”
Lastly he warns readers to be beware where Germany is taking the EU: “Anyone hoping for a change in policy by the new German grand coalition government only needs to read its programme concerning the EU: ‘To ensure that Europe finds a sustainable solution to its crisis necessitates a comprehensive political approach, a structural reform for more competition and strict austerity, with investment in growth that is a socially balanced.’ In other words, we can expect more of the same. The question is, if it might not be better to dissolve the European Union in an orderly fashion instead of continuing the German led calamity. One saw what became of Germany’s last attempt to create a new European order seventy-five years ago…”
PS: On banker frauds — largely unpunished by criminal proceedings so far — here, lest readers forget, is Prof Bill Black in a piece earlier this year for Naked Capitalism: Yglesias Pours the Geithner, Holder, Breuer (GHB) Banksters Immunity Doctrine in our Drinks (GHB gammahydrabuterol was demonizied as a date rape drug when it was legal) where he attacks blogger Matthew Yglesias for “the saddest and most immoral apologia for elite white-collar crime that has yet made it into electronic bits…”. Bill Black is the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Cyprus (whose economy was virtually destroyed earlier this year by the great Cyprus bail-in crisis) is reportedly considering proposals that the country become an international hub for Bitcoin and that the virtual currency be traded on the Cyprus stock exchange.
In an interview with Max Keiser of the Keiser Report posted December 10 on Youtube (below) Dr. Christos Vlachos, CFO of the University of Nicosia said his university — now using Bitcoin as a means of exchange enabling students around the world to pay for education at the University and its multi-Europe partner institutions — had submitted the hub proposals to the Nicosia government.
He said government’s reaction had been “positive”. Watch the video below for full details:
In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the bitcoin price plunge as Baidu ditches the crypto currency and China bans it for financial firms. Unnoticed at the same time, Germany declares bitcoin to be private money and Merrill Lynch claims it can replace money transfer systems like Western Union. In the second half, Max interviews Dr. Christos Vlachos, CFO of the University of Nicosia, which is now accepting bitcoin as payment and he explains how the volatility in the price won’t matter to the university. They also discuss Dr. Vlachos’ hope to turn Cyprus into a bitcoin hub.
Story: Ken Pottinger
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- Ask Cypriots: Are Banks Criminal Enterprises?