What’s more, because they’re not tied to a corporate parent, bitcoins appeal to the web’s anarcho-libertarians in the way that no other virtual currency can
This is one of the most consistent mistakes that Bitcoin critics make. They think that the main benefit of a network that no central authority owns is that appeals to “anarcho-libertarians.” This may be true, but it misses the GIANT point that a network that nobody owns, but everybody can contribute to and benefit from is a BIG DEAL. The Internet started out as far less functional than centrally controlled networks owned by everyone from AT&T to AOL. Today, the Internet has more than a thousand times more functionality than all those networks combined and has obliterated their relevance. Bitcoin is on its way to doing a similar thing:
Continuation to respond to Felix’s response to my annotation. First, it’s awesome to be debating with Felix Salmon who is a genius and among my very favorite bloggers and economists. Second, it’s even better to be doing it on RapGenius.
I’ll just make two extra points:
1. Complexity of platform and number of use cases does not have any correlation with developer adoption. See Taligent. Developers go where they think the money and users will be. The original NCSA web server, Twitter, and many other simple platforms prove that you can get massive adoption on a relatively narrow set of use cases with enough anticipated user adoption whereas Taligent proves that even maximum complexity and use cases will get you nowhere without the essential ingredients.
2. I think that Felix is way too early in dismissing Bitcoin’s adoption as a payment mechanism and I would be happy to make a Simon–Ehrlich style wager with him with parameters of his choosing.
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