How Uncle Sam Killed The Liberty Dollar

There’s a new story in Triple Canopy about The Liberty Dollar, an alternative American currency started by Bernard von NotHaus that experienced a grassroots backing among some shoppers and merchants, until the Feds shut it down. Unlike the “real” dollar, Liberty Dollars are in fact…

…warehouse receipts for actual gold and silver. Needless to say, the Federal Reserve isn’t too happy about these types of things and the FBI raided the Liberty Dollar warehouses and offices in ’07 and seized and froze just about everything they had. No one involved has been charged with an actual crime. The DOJ has issued a statement saying that the use of Liberty Dollars is a Federal crime.

In 2003, Libertarian writer Vin Suprynowicz called the Liberty Dollar a multi-level marketing system. After the raids, von NotHaus quit the Liberty Dollar business and founded the “Free Marijuana Church” in Hawaii.

Triple Canopy interviews the people and players behind the Liberty Dollar , and if you read it you’ll learn some things about what it means to be money that you never knew before.

Bullion With A Mission [Triple Canopy] (click the + sign on the landing page to move forward in the story) (Photo: Julia Sherman)


Edit Your Comment

  1. SexCpotatoes says:

    well, that was anti-climactic… a link to a story headline and bi-line, but no stories? WTH dude?

  2. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I have Liberty Dollars made of silver. There was no fraud involved at all, since the certificates were all backed by physical precious metal holdings that the LD people actually had. The only fraud was when the government swept in and stole the precious metal.

    There are no laws against establishing an alternate currency, provided nobody is getting ripped off. It doesn’t make the government very comfortable, though, so for the good of the Federal Reserve Bank the Liberty Dollar had to be made an example of.

    • legwork says:

      @speedwell: Hrm… shut down a real precious-metals-backed currency but then give $1T to the crooks peddling CDOs and pixie dust. Fraud what?

      • Meshuggina says:

        @Telekinesis123: I’m not sure where the Internet got this notion that the fed is a private bank, but it’s a gross misstatement to say that it’s privately owned.

        It is a government institution with private components. Some of the officials that run the fed are appointed by the government others are appointed by the member banks. These member banks do own stock, but it’s not traditional stock that can be bought, sold, or used as collateral. The stock used to create the capital that the bank needs, but it does not give ownership like a traditional stock.

        Honestly, it’s a complicated system, but look at Americas place in the global economy, even during this downturn, and you can’t say that the system doesn’t work.

        • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

          @TracyHamandEggs!: Your frustration is showing, dear. I believe it’s considered good manners to attack the actual issues, not just spew unfounded animosity at a person.

          • TracyHamandEggs says:

            @speedwell: Why refute crazy internet rumors based on false logic, crazy conspiracy theories and a disturbing level of paranoia.

            And to refute your earlier point anyway, you don’t trust the american dollar because its based on FF&C, but apparently trust some random nutbag telling you that your “Liberty Dollar” is backed by some unverified amount of a precious metal that he is holding for you.

            Oh, and you are wrong on the Fedex/USPS thing as well. Fedex is not a postal carrier, they are a courier service by law, and can not carry standard letters, as that is a duty, reserved by law, of the USPS.

            Feel free to collect assets (even gold), and feel free to even try to trade them for goods and services. But start printing something and calling it currency (and SELLING IT as such) is a violation of both the Constitution and numerous Interstate commerce laws.

            Maybe you would be willing to sell me your house for $50 in Shrutebucks.

        • EyeintheLAsky says:


          uh, it has nothing to do with the internet. The ‘Federal Reserve Act’ was subversively passed in 1913, while most of the quorum of senators / congressmen were off on Christmas holiday.

          the ‘Federal Reserve’ is about as Federal an agency as “Federal Express” or “Federated Department Stores” are.

          it IS a private bank, plain and simple.

          Instead of coining the nations currency itself, Congress has allowed this private bank to do it – AT INTEREST.
          (that means, it’s CHARGING the entire country to do this).
          This is where the phrase “the National Debt” comes from; to pay the ever-growing cost to ‘print currency’.

          You really need to put in some time and effort to research this. This wasn’t just made-up on the internet…it’s almost a 100 years in the making.

          I thought it was nuts too, when i first heard it. The more i delve into it, the scarier it becomes.

          I forget the actual date, however, at one point the Federal Government FORCED the american people to give up their gold and silver (for some odd reason they were given).

          That too, was against the Constitution – The part about illegal search and seizure of property.
          Gold and Silver are a persons private property. Yet, people were told to turn it over.

          Again, this isn’t an internet hoax. People just haven’t been told the truth.
          (why? well, for one…it’s in the best interest of the government to NOT tell-all. Duh. that’s a no-brainer.)

          But hey, okay…YOU say it’s “…a gross misstatement to say that it’s privately owned.”

          Then tell me where this institution is chartered.


          Go ahead. I’ll come back in a few days to see how you’re doing in your search.

          • TracyHamandEggs says:

            @EyeintheLAsky: OK…

            A) The Federal Reserve Bank is NOT a purely private agency. Pretty obviously since it was 1) chartered by the FRA in 1913, 2) It does not make a profit 3) Its directors are appointed by the President and approved by congress 4) It falls under the laws regulation the Federal Open Market Committee.

            B) The Fed’s budget is funded primarily from the sale of and interest on government backed securities. When the Fed holds those securities they can make a profit from selling them to the member banks.

            C) The fed does charge an interest rate to its member banks for cash. Thats what supports the operation of the Treasury.

            D)The current incarnation of the Fed is only the most recent one, the US has had a central bank for a majority of its history (back to Hamilton and Jefferson).

            E)The Federal Reserve Act was not passed in secret. It was a MAJOR issue in both the 1908 and 1912 presidential elections.

            F)Most of the congress was out of town? Hate to quote Wiki here, but I dont want to research the congressional record tonight…

            After months of hearings, debates, votes and amendments, the proposed legislation, with 30 sections, was enacted as the Federal Reserve Act. The House, on December 22, 1913, agreed to the conference report on the Federal Reserve Act by a vote of 298 yeas to 60 nays with 76 not voting. The Senate, on December 23, 1913, agreed to it by a vote of 43 yeas to 25 nays with 27 not voting. The record shows that there were no Democrats voting “nay” in the Senate and only two in the House. The record also shows that almost all of those not voting on the bill had previously declared their intentions and were paired with members of opposite intentions

            G) The Fed doesn’t “Coin” currency.. The Treasury does. The Fed distributes it to ensure the flow of capital on the open market.

            That took me about 4 minutes. Why dont you cite some sources (that arent Ron Paul related)

          • mac-phisto says:

            @EyeintheLAsky: the federal reserve system is a u.s. agency, a division of the u.s. treasury. it is codified in title 12, chapter 3 –> [] . you can read about it’s structure here–> [] .

            the federal reserve doesn’t receive interest payments from the federal government. it facilitates the sale of bonds, which essentially is the “interest paid” by the us government, but that interest goes to bond holders, not the federal reserve.

            your FOIA point is interesting, but keep in mind that FOIA is a new law & until it is fully tested by the courts, we will see the pendulum swing wildly on how it is interpreted. under this recent administration, the interpretation has been to fight every request on whatever grounds possible. regardless, they are required to comply with FOIA. here’s information on how to request information. –> []

            the “seizure” of gold was by executive order 6102 signed by fdr in 1933 –> [] . this order was specifically for the surrender of “hoarded gold” & it’s widely surmised that it was almost entirely ignored. it had 2 purposes: 1) to get people to stop hoarding money & either spend it or deposit it into a bank & 2) to allow for a “revaluation” of currency. shortly after the deadline, the price of gold was raised & currency was devalued. note that the executive order only applied to gold coin, gold bullion and gold certificates – not any type of silver, nor gold jewelry or even gold coins that held special value to the holder.

          • SabreDC says:

            @EyeintheLAsky: “Instead of coining the nations currency itself, Congress has allowed this private bank to do it – AT INTEREST.”

            What? The US government coins and prints all their own money. The US Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing prints the paper and the US Treasury’s Mint coins all coinage. The Fed MANAGES all the money, but the Treasury still prints/coins it.

    • Telekinesis123 says:


      Well you got to remember the “Fed” is not federal and it has no reserves. It is a *privately* owned bank.

      They currently have a monopoly on fraud (creating and printing money out of nothing) so essentially they are a criminal racket and they will enforce that monopoly with blood. Such a thing as this doesn’t surprise me.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @speedwell: there is a law against establishing an alternative currency. it’s called the constitution.

      article 1, section 8:

      The Congress shall have power…To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

      article 1, section 10:

      No State shall…coin Money;

      then, the 10th amendment:

      The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

      • etherealclarity says:

        @mac-phisto: Um, what?

        By your own quote, the people ARE allowed to coin money. The first quote says that congress can coin money, not that they’re they ONLY entity that can coin money. The second says the state can’t do it, and the third says that if it’s not specifically prohibited by the state or country, the people can do it.

        Coining your own money is illegal now, but it didn’t used to be when this country began.

        • mac-phisto says:

          @etherealclarity: no, see the 10th amendment is an exclusionary clause. article 1 delegates the power of coining to congress & not to the states. the 10th amendment makes that power exclusive. the people don’t have the right to coin money b/c that right has already been delegated.

        • Communist Pope says:

          @etherealclarity: Well, you’re either ignoring or not understanding this modifier in the 10th amendment (emphasis added): “The powers not delegated to the United States…”

          The power to coin money is delegated to congress in Article I Section 8, hence it is a delegated power. And therefore off limits to everyone save the US government.

    • Lolbertarian says:

      @legwork: Agreed, I suppose the Feds were just jealous at the fact that the Liberty dollar is actually based on precious metals, unlike our U.S dollar, which is backed by….nothing. I’ve always been a supporter and buyer of the Liberty dollar, as well as a supporter of the “Free Competition in Currency Act”.

  3. opsomath says:

    I am interested: does there exist out there, anywhere, a reputable issuer of gold or silver certificates, or other handily tradeable commodity-based certificates?

    • Parapraxis says:


      If it works like stocks, you can actually purchase them yourself from a broker, and request the actual certificates.

      My friend actually has a piece of paper microsoft stock framed on his wall that he got from his dad a long time ago… too bad it’s sunk so low in real money now…

    • zigziggityzoo says:

      @opsomath: There does exist real gold and silver, which you can purchase for US Dollars.

      Check out [] for the going rates, conveniently provided in your currency.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        @zigziggityzoo: Yes, I second Kitco as one of the best out there. I also do some business with Monex (for people interested in buying and holding physical metal) and they have been good to me even though I am quite a small investor.

    • B says:

      @opsomath: This is actually a bad time to invest in gold or silver. The collapsed economy has dramatically increased demand, so prices are very high.

      • lincolnparadox says:

        @B: Everything I’ve read says that gold and other precious metals are the only game in town, right now. That could just be chatter, because they said the same thing about oil and gold two years ago.

        The biggest difference between investing in gold and investing in other hard commodities is that gold has inherent value that is stable and reclaimable. When the economy is crappy, when the stock market and banks are not trusted, when other forms of investment (bonds, real estate, etc.) are not desirable (thanks Fed!), or when war is looming, these are the times to invest in gold and other precious metals.

        Now, once/if it starts looking like Obama is turning the country around towards liquidity and financial responsibility, then you can stop buying gold and pull out.

        • Difdi says:


          he biggest difference between investing in gold and investing in other hard commodities is that gold has inherent value

          This is absolutely incorrect. Gold is not wealth. Gold is money. Money has no inherent value as you cannot eat it, it makes poor fuel, and trying to shelter under it from the elements is futile.

          It’s quite common to confuse money with wealth, especially with a fiat currency like the US dollar. It’s even easier to confuse wealth with money when dealing with gold. But make no mistake, money can buy wealth only in times of plenty. If the would-be seller is worried about not having enough food to feed his own family, all the gold in the world will not convince him to sell you food; This is why during major disasters (both human-made and natural) money systems break down and people resort to barter — barter is the act of trading wealth for wealth.

          Wealth is having enough food to eat, good shelter from the elements, having fuel to burn in your car, the car itself. Wealth is owning your own land. Owning lots of gold only helps you if people are willing to sell their wealth to you in exchange for it.

  4. EBounding says:

    I bought a $10 Liberty Dollar from this guy a few years ago.

    There’s nothing wrong with Liberty Dollars, but his marketing is kind of shady. I’ve seen videos where he offers the Liberty to people (“the drop”) and they’ll gladly take it instead of a greenback. But I’m pretty sure they think it’s legal tender, not just a silver piece. That’s where the problem is.

  5. youbastid says:

    Well, why didn’t the federal government raid Disneyland and Disneyworld for selling and trading Disney Dollars?

    • Anonymous says:

      @youbastid: Disney doesn’t make any claims about the their ‘currency’ being usable outside the parks. This form of arbitrage is no more or less legal than department store gift cars.
      Liberty Dollars encouraged people to ‘barter’ with their silver coins in place of greenbacks. Unlike a VISA card though, there is no way for merchants to participate in the arbitrage of precious metal coins, and as such the coins face value of is useless as a determinant of value. Just like if you try use foreign currency to make a purchase, the merchant would have to call around to determine the value of weight of precious metal present and there would be no equitable way to make change.

      • samurailynn says:

        @PaoloAntinous: But if a merchant is willing to accept foreign currency, or any barter material, isn’t it their right to do so?

        If I walk into a store and say “I’ll give you 8 bails of hay for a pack of cigarettes” and the person working/owner of the store/whoever says “Sure, you’ve got a trade” – is that illegal?

  6. humphrmi says:

    Wow, that’s really hard to read.

    The article points out that the site is booming based on the huge slide of the US Dollar.

    Since that slide is ancient history, and the US dollar is trading at record highs against the Euro, Pound and Swiss Franc, how’s that working out for them now? Just curious, because any one who would buy an “alternative currency” today when the regular currency markets are the only market producing profits, eh… I dunno, doesn’t make sense.

    • MentallyRetired says:

      @humphrmi: Wait what? US Dollar at record highs against the Euro? in October 2000 the dollar hit a high against the Euro: 1 US Dollar bought 1.62 Euros.
      Today 1 US Dollar buys 0.8 Euros.
      The US Dollar is barely off a record low of 0.6 Euros set in July.

    • sirellyn says:

      @humphrmi: Actually there’s no other asset based currency around in the world anymore. So there’s no proper way to compare it. You could compare it to gold and silver currently. Sadly you have to look on ebay for the actual price of gold or silver, as in the last 6 months or so it’s been manipulated very heavily. Currently on Ebay gold is trading around 1000 dollars for one Oz. Any asset based currency would be beating the pants off of the fiat currencies still.

  7. ZWECK says:

    Vin Suprynowicz inspired me to start attending church again.

  8. AgentTuttle says:

    Since Liberty Dollars were made from REAL gold and silver, they ARE REAL money, no matter what the DOJ says or what the coins say on them. They are just trying to cover up the fact that our paper money is just paper with fictional value. What the DOJ did is a CRIME.

    • Lars says:

      @AgentTuttle: That is false. Backing your currency in a physical commodity doesn’t give it any intrinsic value. Money is a legal and social construct that only holds value because we believe it does.

      • JoshReflek says:

        @Lars: You are very wrong Lars, “backing a currency in a physical commodity” is EXACTLY what establishes it’s intrinsic value.
        Our USA Dollars are a fiat money, which is, money backed by nothing.

        You have that part backwards.

        The rest of what you said is right on though.

    • AlinaDaboot says:

      @AgentTuttle: How, other then being shiny, is gold and more valuable than paper?

      • JoshReflek says:

        @AlinaDaboot: Because Gold and Silver are not subject to the Federal Reserve’s increasing of the money supply, which causes inflation that steals the value of the money itself, from anyone who uses it.

        Valueable metals have shown over the last several hundred years that their rarity retains a consistant buying power.

      • Anonymous says:


        Becuase their is a limited supply of metal, you cannot make more of it no mater how hard you try. But you can always mine more of it. Paper is paper easy and cheap to make, the supply of people is only limited to how fast you can make it.

  9. billbobbins says:

    I bought some of this guy’s coins a few years ago. I would much rather have an ounce of silver in my pocket that is actually worth around ten bucks than a piece of paper that our government just prints when they need more. Oh, 200 billion dollar bailout? We better get those printing presses moving!

  10. Avery says:

    The Liberty Dollar is a product designed to mislead the consumer. The “dollars” are not worth the amounts labelled on their sides, and von NotHaus promotes a multilevel marketing scheme to propagate the dollars while doing everything possible to make them resemble U.S. currency. At best it is just barely legal.


    • elephantattack says:

      @Avery: I don’t see anything misleading here. You are a fool to think that actual gold and actual silver are worthless compared with US Dollars.
      When the economy truly crashes, the people holding something tangible like gold and silver will be the only people not begging in the streets.

    • mewyn dyner says:


      Not only that, but it’s generally thought of that a currency needs to be universally accepted in a country. This obviously is not. This is a step back to the bad old days where each bank had its own note and some people would accept some notes and not others. Hence why the government made a universal note.

      Plus, what do we have, besides his word, that he doesn’t oversell his gold and silver supply? This is the problem with all backed currencies. Plus, a rush on the currency will very quickly make one devoid of the backing material and crash the currency. This is one reason I’d rather have our “faith and credit” backed dollars.

      • ngc6027 says:

        @mewyn dyner: Oh yeah, I’d much rather have money that’s printed out at the government’s convenience than money that’s actually backed. And you’d rather have “‘faith and credit’ backed dollars”? What the hell is wrong with you? Backed money is definitely worth it and if I can find these Liberty Dollars anywhere, I will absolutely buy them, illegal or not.

  11. Anonymous says:

    “The silver in a coin is never worth as much as the amount printed on it”

    That’s a direct quote from the article. Now let’s assume a couple of things. Let’s assume that the worth (not an dollar amount, but the intrinsic worth) of gold and silver is constant. By trading in certificated tied to gold or silver, you would be trading in constant currency. That would mean inflation would not be a factor at all in imports or exports. Now say today you go and buy a liberty coin with whatever other currency you choose. On the coin it says, “hey, look at me, i’m worth x oz. of silver.” BUT! In reality, the silver in the coin is some amount less than x oz. Now, the whole premise of the liberty dollar / bill is that your can take your coin or bill and get actual gold or silver from it that’s of the amount described on the note or coin. But if the actual silver in the coin is less than the amount described on the coin, how do you get the full worth of your liberty coin?

    Sounds like a fairly elaborate way to get people to pay for silver coins at a price higher than they’re actually worth.

  12. medalian1 says:

    Watch Money Masters!
    You can see it online free here:

    Or pay $30 for the DVD here:

    Or download it from a torrent. It will open your eyes to the entire concept of money and how corrupt our system is.

  13. 3drage says:

    Seems too much in the realm of tin foil hats and aliens to me.

    • LinkRacer says:

      @3drage: Tin I can agree with, but Aliens couldn’t possibly have as much monetary value as Liberty Dollars or U.S. Dollars. Not in the same realm if you ask me.

  14. sirellyn says:

    Part of this is very basic basic economics. If you have any currency that depreciates (it can be inflated), there is incentive to not save. (After all just by keeping it around it will evaporate.) There is also more incentive to borrow money (again what you have to pay back will be worth less, so why not?)

    Capitalism is based on “capital” (savings). You need it to invest, or loan to others, or use to keep you afloat when times are tough.

    If people have only debt they have no wealth. (Other people technically own everything you’ve purchased.)

    A system that promotes this is inherently flawed. I don’t care what reason you cite for it being this way, aliens, space lasers or greedy bankers. It has to change before people can be prosperous.

  15. Spinfusor says:

    @speedwell: @Meshuggina: Sure it works, just not well.

  16. bwcbwc says:

    One obvious clue that the whole thing was at best a tongue-in-cheek satire: The guy is calling himself Bernard “von NotHaus” (nut-house). Whatever it was, it definitely wasn’t a serious attempt to establish an alternate currency.

  17. rpm773 says:

    I’d be a little less skeptical of his monkey business if, upon quitting the Liberty dollar business, von NotHaus founded something like “The Free-Thinkers Association for Sound Monetary Policy”, and not the “Free Marijuana Church”.

  18. HomersBrain says:

    …screw the Liberty dollar…….I just want to know when they have communion at The Free Marijuana Church..

  19. Trai_Dep says:

    One one hand, mandatory Economics 101 courses would extinguish many crackpot’s dreams of seminar success and the cries of needing only monetary policy to adjust the economy would land on deaf ears.
    On the other hand, the comments on Consumerist economics topics would be drop by a quarter. So I guess ignorance of basic economics is a mixed blessing?

  20. MA35TRO says:

    Seeing as how the Liberty dollar wasn’t created by The Federal Reserve (central bank) the bankers have no control because the LD has actual value. Our currency (the U.S. dollar) isn’t actually backed by anything other than more money. It’s just paper with a pretty design which is there to fool you into believing that it’s worth something. I support anyone who wants to rid themselves of the slavery inducing debt of the U.S. Dollar. It’s all a bunch of bullshit if you ask me. They’re just trying to keep the little guy down by not allowing us to grow economically smarter.

    • Snarkysnake says:


      Well, then , if you think that our currency is not worth any more than the paper its made of,you can turn that around on the feds (and people that have not figured the whole scheme out yet) by trading these ever depreciating pieces of paper for real wealth (precious metals , real property,jet skis , Porsche 911’s ) .

      Now. There’s one teensy -weensy problem with figgerin’ this out : If you have more than what some politician thinks is fair, they will take it away from you and all of your efforts are for nothing . (Indeed , my son was incredulous when I told him that between 1933 and 1975 Americans couldn’t own monetary gold or bullion because the government took it all away).

      So it would seem that we are doomed to perpetual inflation because what we use for money has no more value than the goodwill and trustworthiness of people like Barney Frank and George W. Bush.

    • SabreDC says:

      @MA35TRO: If yours isn’t worth anything to you, I’d be more than happy to take it off your hands.

  21. GC says:

    I had some dollars backed by tin, until everyone started using them to make hats.

    • JoshReflek says:

      @GC: i thought developing competing currencies was encouraged on the state level, as in, each state *should* be printing its own currency, but must not call it “money” as to avoid confusion.
      i think the confusion here is when people read it as “noone but the gov’t can print MONEY” as to mean “noone can make anything resembling a currency but the gov’t”.
      This all seems ironic, since the fed is an illegally established monopoly and not part of the government, as it acts independantly forcing the gov’t to issue bonds to make the currency more solvent.

  22. ice_cold_irony says:

    Why would you buy money from someone whose name sounds so close to ‘nut-house’?

    • hi says:

      @ice_cold_irony: Why would trust someone called “The Federal Reserve” which isn’t Federal and has no reserve?

      Same deal if you ask me except he actually backs that money with actual physical gold and silver.

      • MA35TRO says:

        @hi: My sentiments exactly

      • steininger says:

        Does he really though? That’s the thing, there is no outside source for accountability for this guy. If he did become wildly successful what would happen when he realized that he didn’t have enough gold or silver? Would he
        A) Send out a press release saying that he is revaluing the money to be worth half what it was when you received it (effectively halving your savings)
        B) Go to war with some private holders of gold bullion so as to up his reserves and support the growth.
        C) Quit printing and let his currency fall into obscurity as people quit using it for transactions.
        D) Just keep selling his money and saying he had the reserves and wait till the heat came down then flee the country with your money

        I’m guessing D. Also ask yourself this question, if you’re current employer told you one day that they had started minting their own currency that they claim is backed in gold and that you’re pay check would be paid in it, how long would it take you to quit your job? If not immediately then Ive got a job for you!

  23. humphrmi says:

    If this guy thinks his currency is so much better than US dollars, why does he sell them for… US dollars?

    Yeah, the article shows pictures of him throwing his currency up in the air. Great photo. I bet the dollars he’s received for his coins are tightly locked up in a safe.

  24. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @mac-phisto: There’s not a thing in the Constitution that says that the coining of money is exclusively delegated to Congress.

    The constitution also gives to Congress the powers of establishing post offices and copyrights, but that doesn’t make FedEx and open source illegal, too.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @speedwell: i believe i showed you exactly where it says that right is exclusive.

      your second point doesn’t support your argument. fedex is not a post office & open source is actually a type of copyright – it asserts the owner’s rights to copies.

      hey, don’t take my word for it – go print your own money & see what happens. try telling the secret service that you have a right to print money when they come knocking on your door & let me know how it turns out.

  25. SabreDC says:

    @TracyHamandEggs!: Actually UPS/FedEx CAN carry standard letters, they just cannot deposit them in household mailboxes. They can carry a standard letter, knock on your door and hand it to you or leave it on your porch.

  26. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @Meshuggina: The Internet got that notion because of things like this: []

    Notice that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (the defendant in the lawsuit) “isn’t subject to the Freedom of Information Act” (that covers all government institutions), and it claims to be exempt from the sort of bailout reports it’s being sued to provide under the excuse that it needs to protect “confidential commercial information” (not for “national security reasons,” which I’m sure it would claim if it could).

  27. EyeintheLAsky says:

    Lots of interesting opinions and perspectives here on this thread.

    Good to see.

    Now try this on for size; Even though the paper Reserve notes in your wallet/pocket say
    “for all debts, public and private” on them, merchants do NOT have to accept them (OR coins), as payment for goods and services.

    Direct from the US Treasury website:

    “…There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services.
    Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise.
    For example, a bus line may prohibit payment of fares in pennies or dollar bills. In addition, movie theaters, convenience stores and gas stations may refuse to accept large denomination currency (usually notes above $20) as a matter of policy.”

    Here’s the link:



    Now lets turn up the weird notch a bit.

    Those coins and paper in your pockets/wallets are worthless. (unless maybe if you happen to have an actual gold or silver certificate on you).

    Again, direct from the US Treasury website:

    “Federal Reserve notes are not redeemable in gold, silver or any other commodity, and receive no backing by anything This has been the case since 1933.”

    and the link:


    We “abandoned” the gold-stanard in 1933. Since then, our ‘currency’ – AND our economy – has been backed by debt.

    Anyone with a lick of sense will tell you this is NOT a good thing.

    • humphrmi says:

      @EyeintheLAsky: Actually, the US stopped allowing holders to exchange US currency for gold and silver in 1933, but the currency was still backed by gold and silver until 1971, when President Nixon formally abandoned the Gold Standard. It’s only been since 1971 that our currency has been backed by debt.

  28. TechnoDestructo says:


    So all those hundreds of different bank notes in the 1800s were illegal then?

    • kbarrett says:

      @TechnoDestructo: Those 1800’s bank notes were just that … bank notes.

      Not currency.

      Each one was a demand note for a number of US dollars from that bank ( either individual silver dollars, or US gold coins ).

      They were not pretending to be actual currency, but rather a private bank draft for real US dollars.

      The federal reserve act did make these notes worse than useless to the banks … if the bank loaned out bank notes denominated in silver dollars, the federal reserve act forced the banks to accept loan repayments in unbacked federal reserve notes.

    • steininger says:


      And that is exactly why it is terrible as a currency. As the economic activity of the world grows and increases we need to have an expansion in the money supply. If money becomes scarce and no new money can be created then business and trade cannot keep up with the increased demands of an ever growing population and economy. The end result of that is countries fighting over a limited gold supply in order to expand their own economies at the detriment of the rest of the world. Its a zero sum game where there always has to be a looser for every winner. In the case of Fiat money you can at least theoretically avoid that because countries can expand and contract their money supply to react to changes in the market. Yeah the system has problems and some people lack faith. But it seems like a lack of knowledge of history is what causes most of the confusion into how the system works and why we have Fiat money.

      Back to your original point the biggest positive aspect you give to gold is the very reason it is no longer used. If you think this will save you from inflation take a class on the history of monetary policy or just read a text book on it. Its really interesting stuff actually.

  29. caj11 says:

    Interesting discussion, perhaps one of the most intellectual ones I’ve seen one this website. Anyway, reading about this reminds me about a local currency the non-conformist types in my hometown created. They called them “Hours” and issued them in single, half, quarter and one-eigth denominations. Their exchange rate was based on the average hourly wage at the time they were created. Certain businesses accepted them (although not always for your entire purchase), and they could not be banked or cashed for regular money, so I guess it was a way to force spending 100% of them, sort of an infinite money multiplier. I never quite understood them or how they were introduced into circulation, if they were just glorified gift certificates, or a sort of way to have a medium of exchange when bartering goods and services (without regular money) or what, but they’ve been in existence since they started in 1991 and apparently still going strong today.

    • MeOhMy says:


      A fascinating community initiative in fascinating community.

      It’s not really an alternative currency intended to challenge the almighty dollar…it’s more just a way to stimulate local business and build community. If you give someone an Hour, they can’t spend it somewhere else, they have to spend it in town. And thus it is sort of like a “community gift certificate.”

  30. JustThatGuy3 says:

    Far from being a stable, secure source of value, gold is in fact a highly volatile commodity play. If you bought gold in mid 07 at $700, you’d be pretty happy with it at $800 today. If you bought it in March of 08 at $1000, you wouldn’t be very happy with it. If you had bought gold in early 1980, at $700/ounce, you’d be very unhappy, since you’d be up about 14% over 28 years, which is the equivalent of putting your money is a saving account at 0.5% interest.

    • Anonymous says:


      Well if you bought in 2000 you would’ve been up from $300 to $1000 March 08 which is more than any savings account can get you but the amount of dollars gold can buy at any time doesn’t have much to do with its value because it was the value of the dollar that dropped which means you get less gold for your dollars. The dollar is the volatile thing here not gold.

  31. opsomath says:

    This particular scheme was sketchy and MLM-ish. That’s unfortunate. I would really like someone to develop something which could be conveniently traded for goods and services, in lieu of a real currency…which we do not have in America, since it can be devalued by an unelected official’s mere decision.

    Incidentally, gold and other precious metals have value over and above being shiny; I use gold, nickel, palladium, platinum, and silver in my work as a materials chemist on a daily basis. Gold in particular is an extremely useful material for nanotechnology, as it can be made into molecule-sized features and does not degrade in air. Nanotech has yet to see its first real world-changing success, but if that happens, you’ll probably see a spike in the price of gold over and above people fleeing unreliable economies.

  32. exconsumer9 says:

    Well, I was under the impression that the states could print “money” provided they were actual coins that did not exceed the value of the materials they were made of. The system involved would be pointless and it wouldn’t be as useful as the currency the US govt uses now, so nobody does it.

    And for the love of God, the Fed is a public institution, and an arm of the Treasury. Surprisingly, many aspects of the conspiracy theories are true, and that’s scary until you realize the following:

    1. Profits from the Fed are returned to the Treasury minus expenses.

    2. The shares “of the Fed” that private banks must buy to participate are mostly symbolic. They can’t be sold or traded and are designed to invest the private banking system into the government currency.

    3. Moderate inflation can and does spur economic growth. If a bank wanted to rule the world through control of the currency, deflation would be a far more effective tool.

    • JustThatGuy3 says:


      Don’t try – it’s a noble effort, but ultimately futile. If people want to see the Fed as some dark creation, they will, and no amount of rational discourse and evidence will dissuade them.

  33. Gopher bond says:

    Seems to me what two people decided to trade with should be none of the government’s business. If someone wanted to pay off a debt to me with $200 in Libery Dollars, I’d certainly be free to tell them pound sand.

    It’s fishy that no charges were brought. All the conspiracy talk can get a little crazy but there’s really only one good reason why the government would want to stop this, and it’s not because they’re looking out for you.

  34. SWBLOOPERS says:

    Wait a minute. I thought ALL US money was backed by gold. Is this no longer the case?

  35. kbarrett says:

    Why buy a piece of paper when you can just buy actual silver?

    • Gopher bond says:

      @kbarrett: I can understand buying silver or gold certificates and using them as an alternate method of trade, silver and gold make for cumbersome money. What I never fully understoon was why the Liberty Dollar certificates weren’t fully backed by silver and gold. Like a $10 Liberty note was backed by like $5US worth of silver (something like that) but you were supposed to value those notes like $10US? There was some explanation they tried but I could never get over that fact.

  36. CRNewsom says:

    @kbarrett: The Liberty Dollars never claimed to be legal tender, which is against the law. There is no law that says that you cannot accept Canadian dollars at your place of business, only one that says you must accept US dollars. Those who accepted the LD as payment should have been told that it was not legal tender, and they are not legally obligated to accept it in repayment of a debt.

  37. Mikestan says:

    Any thoughts on the Amero?

  38. Anonymous says:

    The Liberty Dollar was a scam to sucker deluded libertarians and paleo-cons. The FRN isn’t worthless so long as it can be traded for virtually anything. True, it’s constantly inflating, but 5% inflation (or whatever it is now) is a much better deal than spending $10 for a warehouse receipt on $6 worth of silver. A warehouse receipt that virtually no one accepts as currency. A warehouse receipt that EXPIRES after a few years. And Vin was right, their distribution model was borderline MLM. What the feds did was theft, but what NutHaus did was only one peg up from theft. (BTW, I’m a libertarian who would love to see a real private currency develop honestly).

  39. LinkRacer says:

    Facebook charges you dollars to buy Gift Points (to then spend on digital gifts). I say we should raid FB – “Gift Points” are a currency and I won’t have it!

  40. hankrearden says:

    The U.S. abandoned the precious metal reality decades ago, and has resorted to the fiat system which, as history (1920’s Germany) demonstrates, ultimately ends in failure.

    No charges were filed because the precious metals sold in this case were indeed real metals. The U.S. can no longer back-up the fiat money with “real” metals. Uhhhh…which is why the Fed is a complete fraud and we have the situation we’re in…

    There were days when you could write contracts specifying debts to be paid in cash “or equivalent”; that is no longer permissable, if I remember correctly.

    Even if you are apolitical, Ron Paul has a nice factual discussion about this in his most recent book.

  41. Anonymous says:

    “The DOJ has issued a statement saying that the use of Liberty Dollars is a Federal crime.”

    This “statement” constitutes nothing more than their opinion, and has no legal bearing on anything. It does however seem to convince many that their opinion is truth. A judge has not decided on Bernard’s case, as it has not gone to a trial yet.

    Likewise, Bernard, nor anyone else, has ever been arrested by the DOJ for using the LD. More evidence their statements are irrelevant. If it were a federal crime, there would be a corresponding arrest, especially of Bernard himself.

    The Federal Reserve has publicly stated about the LD, “so be it”. Look at the link on the lefthand side of the LD homepage. I do recognize that an alternative currency gaining in acceptance amongst the sheeple frightens anyone with money creation powers, including congress.

    Vin Suprynowicz is mistaken. The LD is not a multi-level marketing system. It is a product, that is sold to regional offices wholesale, and retailed directly to merchants and associates, who profit by inserting LD into general circulation. Therefore, LD is two levels deep. Multi Level Marketing has potentially many levels, and is a valid method of product distribution in the first place. MLM scams only exist where products are primarily sold to distributors, and/or no real products are ever distributed.

    Finally, the Feds DID NOT shut down the Liberty Dollar. They confiscated everything under the guise of a seizure warrant, which is only to be used to seize evidence of a crime. For this, they could have just taken 1 silver LD, 1 gold LD, etc, plus the computers and other pertinent records. This information is publicly available on the LD website.

    Fact: The Liberty Dollar is still in operation today, and the DOJ keeps delaying their alleged case against Bernard. Most believe this is nothing more than a stall tactic to put the LD out of business, as the LD suffers under the political & financial oppression of the DOJ, the U.S. Mint, and their mostly baseless accusations.