Author: StJohn Piano
Published: 2020-12-19
Datafeed Article 198
This article has been digitally signed by Edgecase Datafeed.
1031 words - 244 lines - 7 pages

Let's begin with a story.

Police destroyed my cryptocurrency passkeys and now I can't access my funds

Posted by u/Grass_Monster, 1 day ago

Location: Minnesota, USA


The situation is somewhat complicated but essentially the local police executed a search warrant at my home. They seized my phone and a number of documents related to my cryptocurrency investments. Following my lawyers advice, I called in to get my property back only to find out that it had been destroyed. Some of the documents destroyed contained the addresses, seeds, and PINs for various cryptocurrency investments. It is impossible to access the funds without the information kept in those documents. The backup copies were seized and destroyed as well.

What on earth can I possibly do? Is there any realistic avenue to seek compensation? Are they allowed to just do that? I'd greatly appreciate any advice/insight relevant to my situation.


TheMadFlyentist, 1 day ago

What does your lawyer have to say about it?

One of the tricky things about crypto is that scenarios exactly like this can (and do) happen. I have heard of people engraving keys onto metal plates and storing them in safes to prevent exactly this sort of scenario from occurring. If your house had burned down, the same thing would have happened, so lesson learned on protecting your assets in the future either way.

The cynic in me worries that some tech-savvy officer recognized your documents for what they were and "destroyed" them, but that would be extremely difficult to prove. Do you have any way to view the wallets at all and confirm if the funds are still there at least?


danish_raven, 1 day ago

Always follow the 3-2-1 rule when it comes to backups. 3 copies, 2 on site, 1 off site


Grass_Monster, 23 hours ago

I had 3 copies, on 2 different media. 2 stored at my home, 1 stored on my phone. The warrant for the home was executed and I got stopped in my car down the road so they took my phone from the car which was the 3rd copy. Next time, I'm leaving a copy of everything at my parents house or a safety deposit box.

Source (accessed 2020-12-19):

After reading this story, Nicholas Piano commented that "The jungle giveth, the jungle taketh away.".

He is correct. The original poster naively supposed that he did not live in a jungle (although the events of 2020 in Minnesota should really have alerted him to this fact).

We are living through the era of the breakdown of the nation-state. The nation-state as a political construct has existed for roughly a century, and is giving way to a new form of state: the market-state. This is happening because the nation-state is unable to cope with new challenges produced by its success. (Background: I'm currently reading The Shield Of Achilles by Phillip Bobbit [0] and I'm completely persuaded that his essential thesis is correct.) In the course of this breakdown, the old promises and ideas of the nation-state will cease to be meaningful. Among these is: the idea that the police exist to protect and serve the citizens of a nation-state.

Spoiler: It's not going to be ok.

I do not think of Reddit as a credible source - I treat it as "false until proven true".

Nonetheless, this story works just fine as an illustration of my general point, which is that the police are not your friend, and do not primarily exist to protect you, and may prey on you in the same way as might any other group of armed strangers. Smart and/or streetwise people already understand this, but it may soon become more savagely clear to middle-of-the-bell-curve people.

The original poster still hasn't learned his lesson properly. He thinks that storing keys at his parents' house or in a safety deposit box will be sufficient protection in this chaotic era.

He should perhaps consider other approaches:

- Effective offline storage of Bitcoin
- Converting a Bitcoin private key into a different alphabet

And he should think seriously about joining or founding a political association, for self-protection. An example approach: The Establishment of a Cryptocurrency Guild. Such an association will soon become the only real way to bargain effectively with a city government and/or its police force. It may eventually build its own crypto bank (see The structure of a Bitcoin bank), and then the original poster can have the bank safety deposit box he desires. [1]

Some people today imagine that a crypto-powered future will involve large numbers of "sovereign individuals". This is fantasy. Individuals can be sovereign only if they live singly at great distances from each other. Otherwise, an individual may find his sovereignty infringed as soon as he meets another individual with several less-sovereign (but loyal) lieutenants. [2]

Instead, I will say this: The crypto-powered future will involve sovereign networks. Some of these networks are structured to produce currencies (e.g. the Bitcoin blockchain). Others will be structured to produce political associations (e.g. Edgecase). Cities will become networks themselves, of a kind (lots of sensors, blockchain-powered property registers, machine-processable contracts). I expect that the most important diplomatic contracts in the future will be the ones made between networked cities and crypto-based political networks. Individuals will matter if and only if they are members of a powerful political network. [3]

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Interestingly, he spends his first chapter on Thucydides.

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Admittedly, the crypto bank will want his soul, not just his money, so it won't be exactly the kind of safety deposit box he was originally envisioning.

See Why Cults Exist for the general case (summary: cults exist to establish trust), and The Path of Blue and Orange for a particular example.

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Also note that a hypothetical sovereign individual with non-sovereign followers is still constrained by the existence and future choices of those followers.

See The Rules For Rulers by CGP Grey.

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As it was in the beginning, and now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

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