The Future of Bitcoin article in The New Yorker is quite good.
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Bitcoin
Kudos to Maria Bustillos for this great article that draws the connection between the recent inflation of Bitcoin worth and the broader collapse of trust that is threatening the world of global banking and fiat money.
Bitcoin was one of the most interesting things to come out of the global financial crisis of 2008.
The whole article is worth reading, but this is my favorite part:
Contrary to hysterical media reports, such as this recent video from the Guardian, the Bitcoin-software community is loosely governed not by wild-eyed kids camping out in half-deserted lofts but by what appears to be a rational and sober group of adult administrators who run the Bitcoin Foundation. This organization was modelled on the Linux Foundation, according to Gavin Andresen, who is currently the Bitcoin Foundation’s chief scientist. As the lead developer for the project, Andresen is paid a salary by the Bitcoin Foundation. He has been involved full-time in Bitcoin since the spring of 2011.
Like the Linux Foundation, the Bitcoin Foundation is funded mainly through grants made by for-profit companies, such as the Mt. Gox exchange, Bitinstant, and CoinLab, who depend on the stability and continued maintenance of the underlying open-source code.
“The Linux Foundation provides a bit of a center for Linux, and to pay the lead developer, Linus Torvalds, so that he can do nothing but concentrate on the kernel,” Andresen said. “It’s a tricky thing, once you get to be a certain size as an open-source project, how do you sustain yourself? Linux is the most successful open-source project in the world, so we thought it would make sense to use that as a model.”
Gavin Andresen is one of the few people in the world who are known to have corresponded directly with Satoshi Nakamoto. (Joshua Davis tried to track him down for The New Yorker in 2011.) When I said I’d like to know more about Nakamoto, Andresen burst out laughing.
“So would I!” His laughter had a credibly rueful edge to it.
He was active on the bitcoin forums through December of 2011. He told me he was going to get busy, and then he stopped posting on the forums. A few months later, he disappeared, and as far as I know nobody has heard from him since then.
Whenever I corresponded with him, it was always on Bitcoin forums or e-mail, we never even real-time text chatted. He was always very businesslike, no personal details, always strictly about the project.
Indeed, a casual review of Nakamoto’s writings online reveals him to be unfailingly cool and collected; the only time I noticed him becoming a little heated was in a few forum posts in December of 2010, when WikiLeaks supporters began soliciting bitcoin donations for WikiLeaks. Nakamoto rejected the idea unequivocally.
PandoDaily has a hilarious one-minute video of Super Mario Bros explaining What is Bitcoin:
The risks associated with Bitcoin are worth mentioning as well. The six biggest hacking, theft and fraud incidents involving Bitcoin exchanges, wallets, or investment vehicles have resulted in a total 1.2 million Bitcoins being stolen, out of a total of 11 million Bitcoins in existence. This means that more than 10 percent of all Bitcoin has been stolen, and this does not include many smaller thefts and losses from individual wallets. Just this week, another wallet service was shut down after suffering an attack. Given this environment, Bitcoin startups cannot remain bootstrapped for long and will need to raise more substantial capital from VCs to mitigate these risks with better security and proactive regulatory functions.
There are loads of resources out there. The Bitcoin subreddit is a great place to get started and also keep track of current events in the Bitcoin universe. Similarly, you should also check out Bitcoin Magazine.
One of the most accessible introductions to the alternative currency we've read was written by New York Magazine writer Kevin Roose, in which he describes his experience buying a Bitcoin.
Read more in BI's Bitcoin 101 writeup: http://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-bitcoin-2013-4?op=1
The author stretches a few points. Saying that inflation causes "currency as a whole is debased, in favor of a few and at the literal expense of everyone else" is not accurate. Inflation assists debtors, which is most of us, including the government itself.
That's a good point. The bottom line is that Bitcoin can inflate a LOT more.
It's based on the model for gold, after all.
Also, saying "The weakness in existing currencies stems from lack of faith in institutions" has no basis in fact. Weakness in currencies is largely due to market forces, not magical thinking. "Faith" has little or nothing to do with it.
So... Have you bought any Bitcoins yet?