I have been attempting to educate myself about “bitcoins.” Correction: I decided this morning that I wanted to educate myself about “Bitcoin” and “bitcoins.” After untold minutes spent on this project, the extent of my knowledge remains this (ahem): “Bitcoin,” with the capital B, refers to the network(s) or the software that people use to obtain or unlock “bitcoins,” with the lowercase b.
The rest is a lot of things I usually refer to as words.
On Monday, Marc Andreessen wrote a laudatory essay in the New York Times entitled, “Why Bitcoin Matters,” a long piece that I could not stay with longer than to get that it is laudatory because I do not understand what this new digital currency is all about at its very premise. (The fact that every news article attempting to explain the concept features a photograph of physical coins does not help at all.)
A number of my blog subscriptions pointed me to a reply to the Andreessen piece that was written and published yesterday, entitled, “On the Matter of Why Bitcoin Matters,” by one Glenn Fleishman. My takeaway from that is that Fleishman agrees that the concept (lowercase b bitcoin) is an exiting one for the future of digital transactions but not as exciting as the invention of the WWW or personal computers, which is how exciting Andreessen seems to think it is.
What came to my mind while it was reeling with financial details and denials of frequent fraud was this classic from Monty Python, “Mystico and Janet,” in which residents of apartment buildings built by a magician (and his assistant) are only secure as long as they believe the apartments in which they sleep actually exist, which they do not.