A surprising number of people, including reporters, have been asking me what I think of Bitcoin. My reaction is to be somewhat underwhelmed, for all of its technical inventiveness. The best single account I’ve seen of why to be cautious is in this account by John Levine, Bitcoin and tulip bulbs.
As I wrote recently in reply to a Polish journalist’s emailed inquiry:
I am somewhat skeptical for three sets of reasons.
First – A coin that fluctuates in value is an investment, perhaps, but not a reliable store of value.
Second – There is a very limited number of things you can do with a Bitcoin at present. Projects like this first suffer from and then — occasionally — benefit from network effects.
Third – Although I have not studied the protocol carefully, I’m worried that an attacker with the services of a large botnet might be able to dominate the system of authentication.