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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q 1
When should the term bitcoin be capitalized?

A: Use bitcoin (lowercase) in all cases (see the note in the article for the explanation and references).

Example: "I installed bitcoin software, downloaded the bitcoin blockchain, and received 1 bitcoin after giving my bitcoin address to my employer. I received 0.03 bitcoins as a tip. Maybe I'll sell my bitcoins on a bitcoin exchange."

edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Bitcoin:

Here are some tasks awaiting attention:
  • Maintain : archiving sources- basically none of the >200 url's have been archived

Legal status of bitcoin[edit]


The discussed section contained the text: "It is illegal in at least nine countries: Bangladesh,[242] Bolivia,[243] Ecuador,[244] Iceland,[245] Inḋdonesia,[246] Kyrgyzstan,[247] Russia,[245] Thailand,[248] and Vietnam.[249]"

Having spotted that the "at least nine" text was not supported by any reliable source, I deleted it, below are the reasons why the deletion was necessary. I do not doubt that Fleetham can count, but the findings below prove that he did make serious errors when adding claims, influencing also the correctness of his count:

  • The claim that bitcoin is "illegal" in Iceland cited the "Bitcoin: Market, economics and regulation" source [245]. The cited source contains an information that "Foreign exchange activities with bitcoin [are] illegal." That, however, is a different claim than "Bitcoin is illegal in Iceland". The confusion of legality of foreign exchange activities with the legality of bitcoin results in a serious misinformation, justifying the warning that the claim that "Bitcoin is illegal in Iceland" is not present in the cited source.
  • The claim that bitcoin is "illegal" in Indonesia is based on the warning of the Bank Indonesia, which claimed that bitcoin is not a "legal medium of exchange in Indonesia". The warning, however, does not claim bitcoin illegal, it just correctly claims that bitcoin was not enacted as a legal tender. The confusion of "bitcoin is not a legal medium of exchange" with "bitcoin is illegal" results in a serious misinformation, justifying the tag I used to warn the reader that the claim is not present in the cited source.
  • The warning of the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic also does not contain the claim that "bitcoin is illegal in the Kyrgyz republic", which also justifies the use of the tag warning the reader that the claim cannot be found in the cited source.
  • The claim that "bitcoin is illegal in Thailand" also contradicts the cited source, which states: "businesses that have licenses have continued operating bitcoin exchanges in Thailand." This also justifies the tag warning the reader that the claim that "bitcoin is illegal in Thailand" actually is not supported by the cited source.

After I marked the unsupported claims, Fleetham deleted all tags I added stating: 'Removed failed verification tags as sources clearly state things like "making purchases with Bitcoin is illegal in country"' This is not what sources state, as I summed up above. Thus, instead of trying to discuss in here, Fleetham once again chose edit-warring as the method and deleted all the well-justified tags as demonstrated above. (Note that when I mark a claim as unsupported by the cited source, the onus is on Fleetham to prove the claim is correct, which is what he refused to do.) Ladislav Mecir (talk) 16:36, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

I am not a legal expert, but trying to put too much detail in the legal section will be difficult since only actual court cases in each jurisdiction will decide whether bitcoin is illegal in that jurisdiction or not. For example: it is stated above: "The claim that bitcoin is "illegal" in Indonesia is based on the warning of the Bank Indonesia, which claimed that bitcoin is not a "legal medium of exchange in Indonesia". Thus, bitcoin is legal as long as you do not use it as a medium of exchange. You can thus legally mine it and legally buy it outside Indonesia and hoard it in the country. It is legal, as long as you do not use it as a medium of exchange. Similarly, intricate and complicated legal arguments can most probably be made for all statements regarding the legality of bitcoin in each jurisdiction in the world. This article is clearly not the space to get bogged down in these legal matters. Perhaps this should be stated as a preamble to this section. Obviously referencing newspaper articles about the legality or not of bitcoin in a country may be encyclopedic, but may be far from correct in terms of the actual legal status in a jurisdiction. Most probably not many court cases regarding this matter have been decided by now. The correct way would be to only allow references to court cases deciding these legal matters in each jurisdiction. Kraainem (talk) 21:31, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) No Kraainem, I disagree with you arguing "complicated legal arguments most probably can be made". No it is actually not complicated and lets cut to the chase: Stick with the case, that Ladislav is making. He is correct: this is sloppy and generalizing referencing, all too well known to us. Thanks for staying with it, Ladislav. You have my support.--Wuerzele (talk) 21:40, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
@Kraainem: 'bitcoin is not a "legal medium of exchange in Indonesia". Thus, bitcoin is legal as long as you do not use it as a medium of exchange.' - Not being a "legal medium of exchange" means that the law does not require anybody to accept it as a medium of exchange. The interpretation that it is illegal to use it as a medium of exchange is mistaken. Please consult the legal tender article. Note also, that it is not my onus to convince anybody that my interpretation is correct, it is the onus of the editor adding the claims to the article to demonstrate that his interpretation is correct, which he refused to do. Ladislav Mecir (talk) 22:31, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

@Ladislav Mecir, your interpretation of the above term is a perfect example of what I stated previously about only a decided court case can be referenced regarding the interpretation of legal terms: I do not agree with your interpretation: thus, only an Indonesian court can decide the matter at hand - in the Indonesian case. Even a specific law is not the final say: only the interpretation of the courts of the stated law is the final say. Thus only decided court cases can be referenced. I agree with Chillum that it is better to avoid using the term "illegal" altogether. Kraainem (talk) 22:49, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

@Kraainem: this is where we can easily agree, although I do not intend to go as far as stating that the term "illegal" should be avoided. I merely state that the formulation used in the article is not supported by reliable sources, and should be changed to not misinterpret the known facts.
@Ladislav Mecir: So, to rebut one by one:
Fleetham (talk) 21:35, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

Perhaps instead of trying to figure out what illegal means in each country we could use a more general statement like "Bitcoin is under some form of restriction in at least..." and thus skip the term illegal altogether. Chillum 21:46, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

@Chillum, that is a good idea. Kraainem (talk) 21:52, 26 February 2015 (UTC)

Well, it seems clear from the discussion that the sources actually do not fail verification as no one has brought up subsequent protestations after my clarification. I'm going to go ahead and remove the tags soon. Fleetham (talk) 23:08, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
Well, no. The discussion made it clear that everybody except for you is disagreeing with the current formulation. If you remove the tags, you will do it without any consensus from this discussion, while it was your onus to obtain such a consensus to remove the tags I inserted. Ladislav Mecir (talk) 23:38, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
@Fleetham: "But only two have made it illegal: Iceland and Vietnam." While this looks like confirming that bitcoin is illegal in Iceland, it, in fact, directly contradicts the sentence you wrote in the article, which listed and counted nine countries. It also contradicts the legal status in Iceland: Iceland banned foreign exchange activities. Does that mean that US dollar is illegal in Iceland? No, even though the ban on foreign exchange activities is in effect for US dollars as well! Also note that I am not pushing my interpretation to the article, I merely state that the formulation you use is not supported by a reliable source.
For Indonesia, 'The term used is not "legal tender" but "medium of exchange."' - wrong citation, the term used in the warning is "legal medium of exchange", and it is not my onus to prove any interpretation, since it is not me who is trying to push an interpretation to the article. I insist that the current formulation is not supported by the source that is currently cited.
For Thailand, you are misinterpreting what the cited source states. The cited source is commendably neutral (which is a good and respectable practice we should learn from) stating that while news reports state that bitcoin is illegal, the decision upon which they base their claims is just preliminary and specific to a particular application, and that other businesses continue using their licenses in agreement with the local law. Ladislav Mecir (talk) 23:28, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
For Iceland, the source was written at a time when only Vietnam and Iceland had banned bitcoin. This doesn't mean that CNN Money is wrong when it says "But only two [governments] have made it illegal: Iceland and Vietnam".
For Indonesia, I actually have no idea what your objection is. Perhaps you or someone else can clarify?
For Thailand, the fact that the decision was "initial" or "preliminary" doesn't mean it's wrong especially in the absence of any further pronouncement. Fleetham (talk) 00:01, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
@Fleetham: "Perhaps you or someone else can clarify?" - it is not necessary at all. As I said, it is your onus to try to obtain the consensus with the action you are proposing, and, as I see it, nobody did express such a consensus yet. Ladislav Mecir (talk) 00:22, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

For Germany, the statement "A German court found bitcoin to be a unit of account.[34]:10" is not backed by the source.--Andreas Linder (talk) 13:16, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

Actually, the claim is backed by the source, just read the "Germany" section at page 10 of the source, as indicated. Ladislav Mecir (talk) 16:54, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
Wrong. I did read the source. It does not contain the word "court". --Andreas Linder (talk) 22:45, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
Corrected. Thank you. Ladislav Mecir (talk) 20:10, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

List of votes[edit]

To make it absolutely certain, here is a list of votes related to Fleetham's proposal to remove the tags and keep the sentence as is:

  • Oppose. The claim does not reflect the cited sources correctly. Ladislav Mecir (talk) 23:45, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Kyrgyzstan is flat out wrong, Iceland and Thailand is dubious. Reducing bitcoin's status in Indonesia to 'illegal' is not accurate. ☃ Unicodesnowman (talk) 11:39, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose While the use of the word "votes" isnt the best, this needs to be commented on. WP:VER is all that really needs to be pointed out, and is non negotiable. When sources dont back up the claims, they need to be tagged, if not outright removed. The tags should stay until the situation is fixed. The claims defiantly need to be edited, new sources used that support the claims, or claims and references removed. AlbinoFerret 14:16, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose Claims are sloppily generalized, so improperly referenced, as I stated yesterday.--Wuerzele (talk) 04:19, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Abstain Kraainem (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 16:45, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment Well, I guess the problem is either the word "illegal" is easily misunderstood to mean "holding bitcoins is illegal" or the fact that bitcoin is illegal for different reasons in different places makes it confusing. I'm sure clarifying that in Iceland buying bitcoins is illegal whereas in someplace else buying a service or good with bitcoins is what's illegal will quickly override any qualms, and this won't need to go to an RfC or the NPOV dispute noticeboard. Fleetham (talk) 03:04, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
this perfectly illustrates that legal status ain't the same as regulation... and who said on this page this was the same?--Wuerzele (talk) 04:19, 28 February 2015 (UTC) again?
@Fleetham: "I'm sure clarifying that in Iceland buying bitcoins is illegal" - It is known that "Foreign exchange activities with bitcoin [are] illegal.", but that is still not the same as "buying bitcoins is illegal". The claims should be correct, and not distorted using original thoughts. Ladislav Mecir (talk) 12:03, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
Yeah. Bitcoin is illegal in Iceland. See: "It aims to triple this by the end of the year, which, together with other Iceland-based mining firms DigitalBTC and Cloudhashing, will push the country's total bitcoin output up to around $8m per month." Kraainem (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 18:55, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
If Bitcoin is illegal in Iceland, how could someone be setting up Bitcoin mines in Iceland? Furthermore, the article does not contain the words "legal" or "illegal" anywhere in the text. Mrcatzilla (talk) 19:35, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
Mrcatzilla good thinking. read this-Jose Pagliery (2 April 2014). "Where is Bitcoin legal?". Money Cable News Network (Time Warner). Retrieved 9 December 2014.  its only the INCOMING bitcoin they regulated. I once had assembled 2 good refs on Iceland, but cannnot find them anymore now or in teh last 1-2 months edits. they didnt survive these edit wars. the above ref was deleted by Fleetham.--Wuerzele (talk) 08:42, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
@Mrcatzilla (talk), since this is a legal matter, I think it is a good idea if you discuss this with a lawyer. I am just the Devil's advocate. Kraainem (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 09:17, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Looks like WP:SNOW. But the tagged claims should be sourced soon or removed. AlbinoFerret 13:25, 7 March 2015 (UTC)

Hyperlinks in the ledger[edit]

This has been touched on before in the above discussion, but there is nothing in the article text. We have RS coverage that there are hyperlinks to porn and to child porn in the ledger: e.g. (best article for content with clear explanation) , , , "The Digital Currency Challenge: Shaping Online Payment Systems Through U.S. Financial Regulations" by Philip Mullan (Palgrave Macmillan, 31 Jan 2014). This is a topic which has attracted considerable debate and a fair share of sensationalism and misunderstanding, so it would be useful to have some Wikipedia coverage of it. Bondegezou (talk) 10:19, 7 March 2015 (UTC)

I think that it is reasonably well sourced, and has weight for at least a sentence or two. Perhaps it should have been moved instead of removed as the section above suggests a better place for it. AlbinoFerret 13:21, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
Agreed. (And I'm not just saying that as we're both cute furry animals: bondegezou, ferret.) Bondegezou (talk) 16:35, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
Would someone like to add some text? I can, but I suspect others here are better informed! Bondegezou (talk) 19:28, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Is it not possible to remove the child porn links from the Bitcoin block chain - what a disgrace for Bitcoin? Crime I can understand, but child pornography is impossible to accept as normal for Bitcoin. Kraainem (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 19:33, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
It is not possible to remove *anything at all* from the block chain, ever. Understanding this is fundamental to understanding Bitcoin. Mrcatzilla (talk) 17:12, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

This article does not reflect the ongoing evolution of Bitcoin and bitcoin.[edit]

Items that are not covered in this article:

1. The decrease in the total market value of bitcoin as a result of the persistent bear market in the bitcoin price since Dec 2013. A semi-log graph would be the best solution.

2. The major development of the block chain being the star of Bitcoin´s innovation. There are many major developments in this regard that are currently not reflected in the article.

3. The many other free peer-to-peer payment platforms eroding the relevance of bitcoin but not of Bitcoin (the block chain or public ledger). Examples that I am not really familiar with: Apple Pay, peer-to-peer payments in Facebook, etc. Kraainem (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 19:13, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

"Various items have been embedded exclusively in the Bitcoin block chain"[edit]

To avoid an edit war, can someone please explain what 'exclusively' is supposed to mean here? AndyTheGrump (talk) 22:13, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

I'm not sure. Weegeerunner (talk) 22:21, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
In this instance it means that "no other known block chain in the world has links to child pornography: only the Bitcoin block chain has links to child pornography." Kraainem (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 22:30, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
And why is that relevant? Weegeerunner (talk) 22:31, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

Kraainem, could you please link to specific transactions that contain these links so that I can invalidate your claim by duplicating them in other blockchains to resolve this dispute once and for all? Mrcatzilla (talk) 02:09, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

Last sentence in lede[edit]

"Officials in countries such as the United States also recognized that bitcoin can provide legitimate financial services to customers." What does that even mean? Bitcoin does not have customers. Bitcoin cannot provide "financial services". A transaction ledger does not "provide" anything, it merely exists. Can we rephrase this somehow? Mrcatzilla (talk) 02:09, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

Hi, I rephrased the sentence to honour your reservation and reflect the source more closely. Ladislav Mecir (talk) 12:34, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
As for your "cannot provide 'financial services'" - I respect that as your opinion, however, the source is reliable and mentions "legitimate financial services" explicitly, and it would not be reasonable to remove the information just because your opinion is different. Ladislav Mecir (talk) 12:41, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
(please note that this is not about your opinion, but about presenting the opinion of officials to the Wikipedia readers) Ladislav Mecir (talk) 12:44, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
I believe it is a fact that Bitcoin itself does not have agency, which I believe is necessary to be able to "provide" anything. That's all. Am I mistaken? Mrcatzilla (talk) 00:44, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
The information is reliable, and it says what the officials believe (The Wall Street Journal is not the only source for this, in case you do not know already). If the information was stating what you believe, then you would be right. Ladislav Mecir (talk) 01:11, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
If you are interested in the truth, there is an unanimous agreement between sources that bitcoin is a payment system. You may not be aware what a payment system is: it is a service providing the functionality for monetary exchange. The users pay for the service with transaction fees and miner rewards. Your "does not have agency" note shows you are doing your original research, but that is not the source Wikipedia is meant to present to the reader. Ladislav Mecir (talk) 01:33, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
In general, is Wikipedia supposed to reflect the truth as close as possible, or just the opinion of mainstream media regardless of how factually correct that opinion is? In this case, I have encountered people calling Bitcoin the first Decentralized Autonomous Corporation, so my claim that it does not have agency is somewhat questionable. Mrcatzilla (talk) 17:08, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

Upper case Bitcoin.[edit]

Note 7: "There is no uniform convention for bitcoin capitalization. Some sources use Bitcoin, capitalized, to refer to the technology and network and bitcoin, lowercase, to refer to the unit of account.[16] The WSJ[17] and The Chronicle of Higher Education[18] advocate use of lowercase bitcoin in all cases. This article follows the latter convention."

I was going to add the WSJ and/or other source before I saw it here. Note only after my edit at [Cryptocurrency] I saw the "Chronicle of Higher Education[18] advocate use of lowercase bitcoin in all cases [..] This article follows the latter convention."

There are however exceptions: "this is accomplished with a provisional Bitcoin URI scheme" and "Bitcoin Core" (this would be an exception to the ruleexception).

The former could be fixed, or this article changed like I did the other.. Maybe that is not advised. Before people go ahead and revert my edit (most of it), is this for sure the better standard? comp.arch (talk) 09:43, 31 March 2015 (UTC)

Bitcoin Core is not an exception, it is a name of a program. It is like Windows with capital W, which is a name of an operating system. Regarding Bitcoin URI - I am not sure whether it is a name of the scheme, and should be capitalized, or not.
Regarding your "Is this the better standard?" question: there was a dispute related to capitalization, and the majority voted (in fact, the vote was unanimous at the time) for lowercase bitcoin. You can find the dispute and the reasons why it is better in the archive. Ladislav Mecir (talk) 12:16, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. I see you reverted at the other page. Strictly speaking, consensus here does not apply there.. but I'll act as if it does for consistency (I just didn't know). Agree with "Bitcoin Core", but seems "bitcoin URI scheme" would be according to consensus here. comp.arch (talk) 15:08, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
I tend to agree with bitcoin URI scheme, but I am not an expert. You should edit it if you think it will be correct that way. Ladislav Mecir (talk) 20:53, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
The way I've generally seen accepted is "Bitcoin" when discussing the protocol and "bitcoin" when discussing the currency. For example,
  • "Bitcoin's typical transaction fee is .0001 bitcoins".
  • "I love using Bitcoin; I'll send you 3 bitcoins so you can try it out yourself."
  • "Satoshi Nakamoto, who invented and created Bitcoin, made the first transaction by sending 10 bitcoins to Hal Finney."
Newyorkadam (talk) 15:15, 6 April 2015 (UTC)Newyorkadam
The rule set you mention is just one of the rule sets discussed. You should read the sources mentioned in the article and the talk page archives to know the options and the reasons why a different rule was chosen. Ladislav Mecir (talk) 17:55, 6 April 2015 (UTC)

Death spiral[edit]

Plse don´t delete content that is presented from a reliable source according to WP:RS666AngelOfDeath (talk) 10:25, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

Google "bitcoin death spiral 2015" and there are 436 000 references. 666AngelOfDeath (talk) 10:29, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

666AngelOfDeath, I welcomed you on your talkpage - plse look at some of the WP ground rules. what you call references arent necessarily citations in the encyclopedic sense. also, there's a standard on WP how to present citations, so they are stable. plse be aware that re-reverting is considered edit warring, which can be penalized. it's better (normal procedure on WP per WP:BRD) to discuss on Talk right after you are reverted to understand what's going on.Thanks.--Wuerzele (talk) 02:43, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
A new section, devoted to the one phrase may be a little much, have you considered adding it to the obituaries section instead? AlbinoFerret 13:17, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
agree.--Wuerzele (talk) 02:43, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment I think that the section gave undue weight to the minority opinion, and that the information was already reflected in the "Obituaries" section. Ladislav Mecir (talk) 14:29, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
I agree.--Wuerzele (talk) 02:43, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
I think adding it to the Obituaries section is a good compromise. The point about loss of interest in bitcoin is important and relevant. TimidGuy (talk) 14:49, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
If it belongs there, it should be attributed, as clearly opinion (not least because whether Bitcoin is 'interesting' is a matter of opinion in the first place), and either marked as a direct quotation, or paraphrased - copy-pasting text into the article without marking it as a quotation is a copyright violation. Accordingly, I've reverted the text until this is sorted out one way or another. AndyTheGrump (talk) 18:50, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
agree too.--Wuerzele (talk) 02:43, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
I should have commented here after I removed the section; apologies. I agree with everything stated above. While 666AngelOfDeath is correct regarding reliable sourcing, we do still have to keep neutral point of view in mind, and I found that the section gave undue weight to this fairly minor bit of trivia. No objections to it being added to the obituaries section as another opinion, but consider whether this point has already been made to death (pun maybe intended). Ivanvector (talk) 03:08, 15 April 2015 (UTC)