Getting to the bottom of Bitcoin

My iPhone still runs iOS 5, a two year old operating system. My Mac, OS X 10.7, a 3 year old operating system. My view is, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – especially if you don’t need the fancy new features. You might as well let other people find and fix all the bugs before you go all-in.

Graph showing the median value of Bitcoin to US Dollar over 2013, starting at almost 1 USD, rising to a high of 1200 USD in early December, then ending the year at 800 USD

For this reason, I’ve so far ignored crypto-currencies. The allure of getting into the bottom of a gold rush is tempting (although, unless you’re talking about new currencies like Litecoin, that ship has probably already sailed). Although a couple of websites are now starting to accept Bitcoin payments, the currency is still little more than a toy. Annoyingly, nobody I talk to about it seems to be able to explain why currencies like Bitcoin are a better bet, financially, than their traditional counterparts.

So Bitcoin remains on the list of things to try once other people I trust have blazed the trail ahead of me. One of them is a chap called mathew (to whose excellent blog I was introduced by David, ScraperWiki’s First Engineer). He recently published a series of short posts exploring cryptocurrencies and their future, and whether you think Bitcoin’s the next green-back or just a flash in the pan, they’re well worth a read:

Also worth adding to this list, even though it’s by a different author (Nobel laureate and Princeton Economics professor Paul Krugman) is this post from the New York Times blog:

Ignore the linkbait title. His final point – that we shouldn’t immediately discount Bitcoin’s ideological value just because it’s at the centre of a ridiculous financial bubble – is a sharp one.

All very interesting. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m off to grab some tulips…