Newspaper article China Post

Bitcoin: Roller Coaster of Love

Newspaper article China Post

Bitcoin: Roller Coaster of Love

Article excerpt

It's up, it's down. It's the future of commerce one day, just another Internet bubble the next. It's the end of government-controlled currency and banking ... but wait, the U.S. government's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has something to say about that. It's Bitcoin, and you've almost certainly been hearing about it, even if you've never used it.

As an anarchist, I'm a big fan of competing currencies, especially competing freed-market currencies not issued by, or subject to direct manipulation by, states. The reasons for that should be obvious: If government can't supervise and control the flow of money, it gets a lot harder for it to steal (tax) part of that money and spend it on killing and enslaving people. So Bitcoin made quite an impression on me, and I'm still sold on it.

One issue I've come around on is the absence of commodity backing. In the past, I've been of the opinion that to be sound a currency should actually represent a pile of some scarce, homogeneous material (e.g. gold) that's valuable for other purposes in addition to constituting a convenient medium of exchange.

The problem with commodity currencies, though, is that those piles of material have to be physically stored. They're vulnerable to roving gangs of thieves, including but not limited to government "law enforcement" agencies. More than one commodities-based currency has been shut down, or at least yanked into government regulatory schemes, by the scruff of its neck.

Bitcoin is just bits of data; it's created by the process of crunching the numbers involved in exchanging it. That drives commodities-based currency aficionados nuts: No pile of gold in a vault. But it also represents a kind of security: No number of jack-booted thugs can break into the vault and take the stuff backing the currency, because there IS no stuff backing the currency. And because the generation and exchange of Bitcoin is distributed and peer-to-peer, governments would pretty much have to shut down the Internet to put a stop to Bitcoin commerce. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.