DEA seizes over £500 in Bitcoin as US government begins assault on digital currency

The US Drug Enforcement Adminstration (DEA) has today published the seizure of a sum of Bitcoin (release), valued at $814.22 (£529.85).

13-DEA-581051, 11.02 Bitcoins, Acct.#1ETDwGUC1QcjYuehFr3u1FD3MvDaUs7SFy, VL: $814.22 which was seized in Charleston, SC from Eric Daniel Hughes AKA Casey Jones on April 12, 2013

The cryptocurrency has become somewhat infamous as a medium to use on parts of the dark net, only accessible through the anonymity network TOR. It is important for innovation such as Bitcoin that they are not only associated with trades in illegal goods.

In unrelated Bitcoin news, yesterday the Bitcoin Foundation was told to stop trading by California's Department of Financial Institutions with a cease and desist warning for allegedly “engaging in the business of money transmission without a licence or proper authorisation”, according to a letter published yesterday by Forbes.

It's not certain how governments could block virtual currencies - if they can do anything - but banning bricks and mortar retailers from accepting alternative currencies could stop them in their tracks. That could relegate Bitcoin to just the aforementioned dark net transactions. That's not great news for consumers, because Bitcoin or a currency like them could revolutionise how we trade.

Ultimately, Bitcoin represent what can be called an "unbreakable promise" when it comes to making trades. Jacob Lyles writes convincingly on the topic:

Imagine that you were entertaining a business deal with a man with an supernatural ability to make two kinds of promises: 1) promises that are impossible for him to break and 2) ordinary, breakable promises. Why would you accept anything other than the unbreakable promises from him? If he offered to make breakable promises you might grow suspicious about his intent.

It’s easy to see how unbreakable promises would be a revolution for contracts and law. Enforcement costs for contracts would be drastically reduced. It would enable a new era of globalization, allowing people to participate in contracts with each other without regard to jurisdiction. The rights promised to a citizen of a country could be guaranteed instead of relying on the benevolence and caprice of their sovereign.

(Let A Thousand Nations Bloom)