Alan Feuer got it right in today’s NYTimes. The virtual digital currency Bitcoin was not chiefly created as a money-making venture.
“To its creators and numerous disciples, bitcoin is — and always has been — a mostly ideological undertaking, more philosophy than finance,” he writes.
All that we’re reading about Bitcoins getting stolen from digital wallets is not anywhere near as interesting as who is recognizing them as currency.
Bitcoin is news because it is disruptive. It embodies a throwing down of the gauntlet by a person or persons (Satoshi Nakamoto) fed up with how the global banking system _ comprised of “fiat” currencies created by nation-states – had fallen prey in 2008 to the machinations of greedy bankers and spineless politicians.
Satoshi was simply fed up with the banks deemed “too big to fail” that failed us all and whose bailout we bankrolled. Stateless digital currencies _ electronic cash as David Chaum envisioned it when he patented the idea in 1982 _ will allow us to develop new models for making payments that cut out the usurious middleman and democratize the economy.
And the key, of course, is public-key cryptography. Want to geek out on how a Bitcoin transation works? Try this illustration from IEEE Spectrum: “The CryptoAnarchists’ Answer to Cash.”