On Sat, 17 Jan 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto wrote:
[[various possible uses of Bitcoin et al]]
> Once it gets bootstrapped, there are so many
> applications if you could effortlessly pay a few cents to a
> website as easily as dropping coins in a vending machine.  

In the modern world, no major government wants to allow untracable
international financial transactions above some fairly modest size
thresholds.  (The usual catch-phrases are things like "laundering
drug money", "tax evasion", and/or "financing terrorist groups".)
To this end, electronic financial transactions are currently monitored
by various governments & their agencies, and any but the smallest of
transactions now come with various ID requirements for the humans
on each end.

But if each machine in a million-node botnet sends 10 cents to a
randomly chosen machine in another botnet on the other side of the
world, you've just moved $100K, in a way that seems very hard to
trace.  To me, this means that no major government is likely to allow
Bitcoin in its present form to operate on a large scale.

I also worry about other "domestic" ways nasty people could exploit
a widespread Bitcoin deployment:
* Spammer botnets could burn through pay-per-send email filters
  trivially (as usual, the costs would fall on people other than the
  botnet herders & spammers).
* If each machine in a botnet sends 1 cent to a herder, that can add
  up to a significant amount of money.  In other words, Bitcoin would
  make botnet herding and the assorted malware industry even more
  profitable than it already is.

Is there something obvious I've missed?  Is there a clever aspect of
the design which prevents botnets from exploiting the system?  Is there
a way for every major government to monitor all Bitcoin transactions
to watch for botnet-to-botnet sending?

-- From: "Jonathan Thornburg [remove -animal to reply]" 
   Dept of Astronomy, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA
   "Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the
    powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral."
                                      -- quote by Freire / poster by Oxfam

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