- By Dan Kaminsky 05.03.13 5:20 PM Wired.com
Bitcoin. Everybody’s talking about it. What’s true, and what’s hype? Perhaps the only thing that’s clear about Bitcoin is that it’s not going away anytime soon. Who am I to say? I’m not an economist; I’m a hacker, who has spent his career exploring and repairing large networks. And networks may very well be how the world works — financial, social, electronic, even physical.
I’m on neither “Team Bitcoin” nor “Team Global Financial System.” I’m on “Team Lets Fix This Thing.”
We do need another currency.I’ll be blunt: Money’s gotten buggy. People who don’t realize this might be in high finance — indeed, we’ve gotten very good at moving the revenues of entire generations within a precise number of femtoseconds — but what if you’re just trying to buy a smoothie?
Bitcoin is the Internet, applied to Money.I walked into a Jamba Juice recently, and was informed in no uncertain terms that if I attempted to use anything larger than a $20 bill, or if my credit card was demagnetized, no smoothie for me. (I can’t even imagine the blank look I’d have gotten if I’d tried to pay with a personal check.)
We do have credit cards. But credit cards change money from something anyone can give anyone (peer to peer) to something with a consumer class (client) and a merchant class (server). There are innovative startups that attempt to reverse that, and every time one of these systems pops up — Square, Stripe, Venmo — billions of dollars starts flowing through them.
We wouldn’t get this sort of growth without pent-up demand. But even the new systems find themselves failing — I love Paypal, but is there anyone who hasn’t either had their account suspended, or knows someone who has? I’ve certainly never had a $20 in my pocket go dark for 48 hours.
Personally I have no interest in using Bitcoin.
And, I have never had my PayPal account suspended nor do I know anybody who has.