So. We all know about Bitcoin, right? The new magic currency-beans that enable you to make seamless and anonymous transactions across borders, integrating smoothly with real-world commerce. And which has an exchange value of about $1000/BTC*, being entirely accurately & rationally matched across all different exchanges to the same rate without wild +/-25% variations for arbitrage. *Actual dollar value can, and will, randomly vary +/-50%
Anyway, let’s assume that Johnny Fiat-Currency wants in to this brave new world, and wants to buy some BTC. To, say, make an anonymised payment to a VPN provider. Because that’s what BTC should be for, right? Let’s also assume Johnny is a UK resident, doesn’t know about mining, doesn’t know what SHA-256 is, doesn’t really want to randomly lose £50, and has been well taught by teh kidz that you don’t post personal info on-line.
Basically, Johnny’s my Grandma (what? fuck the system, man) – because BTC needs to be accessible to these people, else the current “exchange values” really are just so much obscurantist hubris.
So Johnny goes to Google, and she finds the (current) most obvious way to try and buy some of these BTC with actual money in the UK. And she decides it’s this site. It kinda looks legit, because “SSL-secured” logo JPGs aren’t especially easy to just arbitrarily paste into a dumb HTML2 site, and anyway Johnny’s girl-pals down the old folks’ home tea-room just nod and say “oooh, that’s nice” when asked for an opinion.
After a bit, our heroine twigs that she’s going to have to make some sort of account on this site. Else these BTC sellers, who appear to exist, won’t be able to build up any trust. “Fine”, she says. “Anonymous web accounts are just standard practice. Obviously I’m not going to have a high trust rating first-off because I’m a n00b, but how else can I get started”.
And on we trundle.
– “I wonder what sort of payment mechanisms I can use to actually submit my hard-earned pension”
Well, Johnny, you’re kinda limited. Credit cards are an outright no-no, apparently; PayPal too; there are a few Russian “e-currency” methods; or, a regular UK bank transfer.
– “Ooooh, bank transfer. That’s probably safe, right? I mean, I’m just putting pounds into this thing, to give to these sellers, rather than giving them permission to take money out *sips tea, has a bit of a nap*”
Not quite. The seller has to receive your bank transfer into a regular account of their own. (Remember – banks are evil). And banks really don’t like fraud. And because most things with the word “Bitcoin” in might be fraud, then the act of labelling your bank transfer with “BTC” or the word “BITCOIN” or anything else will, apparently, “get the seller’s bank account closed” [sic.]. And this, then, just labelling your money transfer with a rational and correct label for your (and your bank’s) records, is an insta-ban crime which will get your ID permanently kicked off the site.
– “…. oh. And, um, wait, what? You said ‘ID’. This is all anonymous, right?”
No. No, it isn’t. Because, once you expose the imagino-value of BTC to actual currency, then all sorts of sketchy characters pop up. And this trading site, this BTC-point-man of the UK at the vanguard of free anonymous global finance, requires an awful lot of ID:
- Photo ID
- Photograph of additional ID with address verification
- Photograph of you, personally, physically holding up your photo ID
- .. with your elbows showing, else no-go-potato
.. see the image below. Basically, about as much ID as, and possibly more than, is required to get, say, a valid passport – or a bank account. And bank accounts don’t go +/-50% value in a day. (Except in the EU, but that’s another story, and Grandma’s fallen asleep again.)
Here are some searchable PDF versions of the unsearchable scanned-image PDFs which were provided by the BBC alongside the Pollard Report released today.
(Original PDF –> Acrobat OCR, downsample ref image to 300dpi –> searchable PDF.)
appendix_11_vol_1_OCR (UPDATE : note that the link on the BBC site to the nominal second volume of Appendix 11, just points also to the first volume)
UPDATE : all the PDFs merged, here :
“THE OCCUPIER’S PROGRESS” :
A cautionary TALE
– for those lately OCCUPYING in the yard of St. PAULS –
by the hon Wm HOGARTH Esq &c
1) “Fortune found! I shall forsake my goodly home and family, and thence to St PAULS with my new-found and noble friends!”
2) “The levee – and the fine-ness of mine minstrel friends Bragg and Yorke, and Morello verily Raging against certain famed and new-fangled Machines”
3) “Night – a brothel, Tranquility is the team – but whence is my watch, and mine favour’d Blue Ukelele? Lost!”
4) “The creditors come … and mine pocket picked, mine beloved forsaken! Woe is me!”
5) “Married, saved! to the old wench Westwood and her fine hosiery. Her fortune is plentiful, for her Tax lawyer is the finest”
6) “… but lost again – and, a fire! Fire in the library!”
7) “Madness – my play REJECTED, along with yon writings of mine accomplice upon topic of the National Debt”
8) “Finally, insane and violent, BEDLAM and all entailments! Oh me!”
Today I happened to be in London, and went to visit OccupyLSX for the first time. I hung around for about an hour and a half, overall between about 1.00pm and 3.30pm, to try and get a decent impression of the mood. Impressions as follows.
- Emptiness. There’s simply no-one there. I saw a total of 2 people pass in and out of the “info” tent, and there were about 6 or 7 people drifting in and out of the big “tent university”. The “Stone Soup” counter had about 2 customers, although they may have just been having a chat.
- Unwashed grime and detritus. This a camp without any proper sanitary service that’s been there for months, and it shows. And smells. This is compounded by there being no-one around; there are simply piles of miscellaneous crap lying everywhere, sometimes in bundles, sometimes not. Most of the loose stuff must have blown away before I got there (it was windy).
- Deranged, unquiet rantings. There are very few of the usual suspects not represented by some placard or banner; New Age self-release, PETA, Freemen Of The World, and so on. I saw no sign of the Islamist terrorist preacher tent I’d heard about. This was all the more eerie due to there being no actual practitioners around, in the tents; only American tourists reading the signs and laughing.
Anyway, some pictures herewith. Click on the thumbs for the proper hi-res ones, you know the drill by now.
Empty tents #1
Empty tents #2
Drunk guys in the semi-shelter of the main tent. (They had a fight later, off-camera.)
The “stand-up toilet” directive is a guide and not a rule, apparently. I especially liked the padlock vs. the “Engaged” sign – I’m fairly sure there was no-one in there.
Random detritus #1
Random detritus #2
See if you can read the detail – it’s standard stream-of-consciousness idiocy.
.. and this, apparently, is what democracy looks like.
Even the lefties think the lefties fucked up :
- Part 1 : “First Night” review, from the BBC.
- Part 2 : Progress Online‘s lengthy response.
- Part 3 : OWS’s devastating summary of their own demise.
- Part 4 : How not to run a GA.
- Part 5 : Occupy Denver’s PR man shoots their PR strategy in the head.
- Part 6 : Lessons from OccupyBrighton.
- Part 7 : OccupyWS begin to notice how profoundly and spectacularly ineffective they are.
- Part 8 : Laurie Penny puts the boot in.
GA minutes :
- GA minutes: “The finance meeting in Starbucks fell apart”.
- Uncensored GA minutes kept up on FatCouncillor’s blog – one of the original classics.
- GA minutes. “… there has been no victory. We have no message. We have not engaged the public.”
- The aborted sixteen-hour “occupation” of Roman House.
- The GA minutes with the pissing, knifing and child-beating.
UPDATE Aug 2013 – they moved the minutes. Someone stopped paying the original webhost bill. The best minutes by far are here.
- OWSExposed.com. Their default info pages on the Occupy movement in the US include “Deaths” and “Sexual Assaults”.
- Howard Stern takes down OccupyWallSt.
- OWS protesters living in 5-star hotel.
- The bit where police have no jurisdiction at OccupyLSX.
- Original, hilarious list of demands from OWS.
- CommentatorIntl’s brilliant movie – “The One With The Ginger Dreadlocks”.
- Self-appointed leaders of OccupyLSX go bonkers after The Guardian’s CommentIsFree goes off-message.
- Low-level infighting in the OccupyLSX camp.
- Epic Animal Farm takedown from The Times, of OccupyLSX.
- Exhaustive #fail of OccupyDenver failing to explain why they’ve failed to occupy a WalMart.
- Articulate and thoughtful exit speech from a key OccupyLSX ex-activist.
- Arab activists object to the Arab Spring being compared to the Occupy movement.
- Occupy protesters shouted down and told to piss off by the rest of the public, at Davos.
- The Magic Occupy Hermaphrodite.