What's the Latest Development?
As Bitcoin continues to draw attention in the news, writer David Meyer answers several questions about the technical aspects of the crypto-currency and contemplates its technological impact on traditional financial systems. Thanks in part to last month's Cyprus bank crisis, the price of a single Bitcoin has been bouncing around quite a bit (it now stands at US$139), but it has also been trending upward since the start of this year. To Meyer, this signals a bubble: "[T]he huge amount of interest Bitcoin is getting at the moment could lead to an uptick in use, which would in turn legitimize it as a viable currency."
What's the Big Idea?
What's especially interesting about Bitcoin, according to Meyer, is that it's an experiment in removing the middleman -- namely banks and governments -- between people and their money. In that way it's comparable to file sharing of copyrighted content, except that Bitcoin is legal. However, even though sites like Napster went under, illegal file sharing continues to this day alongside legal content distribution. Similarly, says Meyer, "[Bitcoin] may not replace fiat currencies...but it may persist as a viable alternative and, by doing so, force change in the way its traditional predecessors function."
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