A libertarian nightmare: Bitcoin meets Big Government
For starters, Bitcoins are as cyberpunk as William Gibson's wildest dream: a form of monetary exchange invented in 2009 by a mysterious character who called himself "Satoshi Nakamoto" but then disappeared from view after unleashing his virtual currency upon the world. Bitcoins are undeniably cool: marvelously "mined" from the ore of computer processing power and electricity; more ready for prime time than any previous experiment in purely digital money. And Bitcoins, increasingly, are a success. At a Thursday afternoon all-time-high valuation of $72 per Bitcoin, there were around $700 million worth of Bitcoins in circulation. People are using Bitcoins to buy real goods and services, to hedge against European financial calamity, and to score drugs. That's money.