Culture Shlock: Take another little Bitcoin of my heart, now, baby

valentines-heart13 Feb 2014 / Mercury News – With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching, should you consider forgoing flowers and candy, and instead give that special person in your life something different — a gift that you can’t see, smell, or touch, that doesn’t even exist in any tangible sense, but which some people consider the most valuable thing in the world?

You’ve, no doubt, guessed the gift I’m describing, right? No, not love! I’m talking about Bitcoin!

For the few readers who’ve been living under a rock without Internet access for the past year, Bitcoin is an increasingly popular online currency launched in 2010. Because it exists solely on the Internet, there are no actual bitcoins you can hold in your hand. This is what differentiates Bitcoin from the American dollar, the pound, or other “fiat” currencies — so called because they are issued by governments and can be used to purchase pretty much anything, even unreliable Italian automobiles.

As a peer-to-peer payment system, Bitcoin cuts out the middleman, which means Bitcoin-based online transactions aren’t subject to the 2-3 percent fees typically charged by credit-card companies. Plus, since these transactions are untraceable, Bitcoin has rapidly become the go-to currency for many people looking to purchase illicit drugs, gamble or — this is true — hire hit men.

One can only imagine what a TV commercial for Bitcoin might look like:….. Read more

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