In the last few weeks someone, or something, has been going on the full offensive against Bitcoin. The gloves have come off and it looks like it’s going to get a whole lot nastier. It would appear as though that someone, something out there doesn’t like that one bit.
Mt Gox went bankrupt, confiscating all their customers Bitcoins along with them in the process, Newsweek broke the news on the supposed identity of ‘Dorian’ Satoshi Nakamoto by claiming that they outed a 63-year-old man in Southern California, though he denies all claims that he invented the cryptocurrency.
Then we had news of the “unnatural” death of Autumn Radtke, the boss of First Meta, a virtual BTC exchange company. Considered a major player in the Bitcoin game, Radtke, 28, was found dead at the base of a Singapore apartment block on February 26. Officers say it is unclear how she died, but they have ruled out foul play amid unconfirmed reports linking her with depression. More than ever, it seems that the cryptocurrency's caught up in a storm of controversy and bad PR. So we thought we'd lay out everything we know so far, with a few contributions from in-the-know Bitcoin advocates like Max Keiser from Russia Today’s Keiser Report and Marc Warne from Bittylicious, a crypto exchange.
Why all this now?
We’re not conspiracy theorists, but these events in the space of several days don’t quite add up. Every time the media report Bitcoin on the news or anywhere else for that matter, there’s nothing but hate for it. It’s the same old thing: security, money laundering, Silk Road, virtually untraceable.
Why do the banks and governments hate Bitcoin?
Because Bitcoin takes power away from the banks. Because Bitcoin regulates their criminal activities and puts them in check. It decentralizes money and makes it fair for all. Countries such as Russia and Thailand have gone as far as banning it. There’s talk of our own government taxing it. The US government, in their words, were "deeply concerned" over the growing popularity of BTC. As though the matter at hand needs to be taken care of, shall we say?
Is it too early to hail the death of Bitcoin?
Max Keiser from Russia Today’s Keiser Report spoke to Dazed and was adamant that Bitcoin is going nowhere. “This is completely predictable,” he says. “BTC is highly disruptive. Either change to accommodate BTC or perish is the way I look at it. Mt Gox was an accident waiting to happen. It was not fit for purpose and everyone knew this - if you lost money there you have only yourself to blame.”
Why is Bitcoin blowing up with this much bad PR?
Marc Warne from Bittylicious, a crypto exchange where you can buy different kinds of cryptocurrency for cash, says business is a “strangely, very good!” According to him, the PR storm is just like how people freaked out over the internet at its start, so there's nothing too much to worry about.
“We all know the media loves negative stories about any kind of new tech,” he says. “As the Internet was in its infancy, you probably would have struggled to get a bank account for a business selling stuff on the internet.”
So, should I buy Bitcoin or not?
Keiser agrees with Swedish Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge, who’s quite the Bitcoin buff: “BTC will capture one to ten per cent of global forex (foreign exchange market),” he says. “This implies a price per bitcoin of $100,000 to $1 million.”
One million dollars for a Bitcoin. Imagine that. Then again, we all scoffed at the mere notion of a single BTC being worth a mere $100.
Follow Yousif Nur on Twitter here @yousifnur