A May 7 online article on Wired.Co.UK offers some guidance on other cryptocurrencies that have formed that either compete with or complement the industry’s leading virtual currency, Bitcoin. Among the alternatives include Litecoin, Peer-to-Peer Coin (PPCoin), and Freicoin.
“We may be entering a new period in how we pay for things online, with Bitcoin as the first example of theory put into practice. Like many new and radical ideas, its implementation has been sketchy, inconsistent, with naysayers decrying it as a scam or a Ponzi scheme, its acolytes proclaiming it a crucial weapon in the liberation of the individual from the corporatist banking system and government regulation of commerce.
“This argument sees Bitcoin as to currencies/online markets as Napster was to music piracy. The popularity of Bitcoin might well have put the whole system under an immense amount of stress but the underlying concept is an attractive one — a cryptographically secure and anonymous currency that doesn’t take a cut from transactions (like, say, Amazon’s virtual currency), and which remains independent of any single, central authority.”
Computer nerds tying themselves to the underground economy have turned their attention to global commerce, using computer programs to create products such as Bitcoin, which, as the article points out, has become a mainstream currency. Such products today seem to represent interesting experiments to see how far efforts can go before governments or other entities step in to intervene on their plans. And such activity is starting to emerge in the United States.
Bart Chilton, a commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and a U.S. derivatives regulator, reportedly has asked staff to consider whether consumers need more protections from Bitcoin, whose value is highly volatile. Chilton is exploring if there may be a federal role in overseeing Bitcoin. Unless the anonymity Bitcoin professes is addressed, it’s likely the national security trump card soon will play out as well.
Read the article here.