I Bought Everything on My Christmas List with Bitcoin

xmaslist06 Dec 2013 / Time – My editors thought the best present they could give me this holiday season was a bitcoin, the increasingly popular form of digital currency that uses cryptography instead of government regulation to validate transactions. It was a kind gesture, and it made me very worried about my reputation at the office.

But never one to turn down free money, I happily obliged. If I secured a bitcoin, I had to make one promise: to use a bitcoin and only a bitcoin to purchase Christmas gifts for my family and friends.

Created in 2009, bitcoin is a libertarian’s dream currency: unregulated and pseudonymous for users. Mocked by the business press as a shady fad, bitcoin saw its unit value pass that of an ounce of gold on the day after Thanksgiving, hitting $1,242, and peaking at a 9,000% gain for the year.

Despite its fringe reputation, bitcoins have been jingling in some distinguished pockets lately. Billionaire showman Richard Branson announced recently that he’ll accept them as payment for flights into space, and outgoing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke praised digital currencies like the bitcoin in a recent letter to the Senate.

So my editors did something most young reporters only dream of: they wired me a bunch of money and trusted me to not skip the country with it. Then they ushered me into the bitcoin marketplace just as the holiday shopping season got under way……. Read more

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