Digital Currency

Are bitcoin and other new money systems safe?


Financial transactions increasingly are taking place outside the traditional government-backed currency system via a variety of so-called digital currencies or cryptocurrencies. The best known of these, bitcoin, is accepted by a growing number of businesses large and small, with more than 2 million transactions last month. For people with a strong libertarian bent, the involvement of governments in currency is cause for alarm. To them, digital currency is a way to achieve greater freedom. For other users, protecting privacy and avoiding the costs of the traditional monetary system, such as paying fees to credit card companies, make digital currencies attractive. But these currencies also are proving risky — their values are volatile, and some parts of the system are vulnerable to hackers. Moreover, law enforcement ...

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