Nothing Is New

I keep seeing articles hyping the anonymity of bitcoin-type “currency”. That’s not a new concept in value stores. Non-registered bearer bonds allowed untraceable fund transfers. As bearer instruments are not illegal in the United States, such bonds can still be issued. The holder cannot get any tax exemptions on interest paid for the bond, but you can transact business using bearer bonds. And just like bitcoin-type currencies … you’re screwed if someone takes it. Bonds provide legal recourse – bitcoin, not so much. If no one wants to pay a couple hundred thousand dollars for your bitcoin, you have little bits on disk. It’s like an anonymous stock — it’s worth whatever people are currently willing to pay for it.

As a data storage technique – distributed across the world, redundant, but ultimately meaningless in its sub-components to anyone who happens to have a snippet – it’s intriguing. But as a non-dodgy way of transacting business, it’s just silly.

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