Buying into Bitcoin

The Internet currency Bitcoin is surrounded by questions concerning whether it is a speculative bubble and whether it is truly anonymous. But, while these questions are interesting, they are diverting attention from far more important discussions about Bitcoin’s potential to drive financial-sector innovation and reform.

LONDON – The Internet currency Bitcoin is surrounded by uncertainty. Is it a speculative bubble? Is it really as anonymous as its proponents claim? Can one actually use it to purchase the legendary White Widow strain of marijuana, or to hire a hit man?

These are certainly interesting questions, but they are diverting attention from far more important discussions about Bitcoin’s potential to drive financial-sector innovation.

Bitcoin is so innovative, in fact, that beyond breaking the conventions of currency, it has even transcended partisan ideologies. Indeed, the Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman and US Tea Party icon Ron Paul are diametrically opposed on virtually every issue but Bitcoin (both deeply dislike it).

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