I’d just managed to complete my first-ever PayPal purchase when I started hearing about Bitcoins everywhere I turned. I don’t know if it’s the whole Magic: The Gathering thing or what, but I picture Bitcoins like the pile of gold Smaug sleeps on in The Hobbit. Imaginary world, imaginary currency.
But I do try to keep up, so I kept reading up on Bitcoins: on the Vinklevoss twins’ plans for a Bitcoin investment fund, on the surprisingly sober Senate hearings on the cryptocurrency last November, on the Mt. Gox mess, allegations of corruption, and on some old Japanese guy living in California who is either the mastermind behind Bitcoins or a befuddled dopplegänger. It would be a lie to say I understand Bitcoins better now. In fact, the more I read, the more confused I become.