Why I am not impressed with bitcoin

So if you pay attention to the tech news, the big thing right now is Bitcoin. Bitcoin is, basically, a digital currency[1] that (in theory) anyone can generate (or “mine”), has a fixed number of “coins” that will ever circulate, and that you can buy “real world” goods and services.

I’m not convinced. I mean, I have my wallet, I have a couple of programs running to attempt to mine some coins, but overall, I don’t see any “real” usefullness outside the internet (for now) until some important things are addressed :

  • Wallet Portability : right now, I have one wallet on my main laptop, one on another, and basically one wherever I load the program. There needs to be a way to “centralize” this wallet and sync between machines or mobile devices.
  • Wider Acceptance : Along those same lines, since I can’t take it with me, say via my mobile phone, it’s impossible to use it in the “real world” without first converting it to gift cards or “actual” money.
  • Stronger Wallet Security : the wallet, if stolen, just opens right up. All I need are the wallet files from a PC to steal someone’s bitcoins. This has already been done once.

So what are your thoughts? Has anyone reading this actually mined any coins, bought them, or spent them on real world goods? Is it any better than “WoW Gold”? How long until there are massive compute farms in Asia dedicated to mining coins and then reselling them? What happens when the community gets bored or moves on?

How useful do you think it really will be?

More importantly, should I set up and allow donations to any of our projects via bitcoin? Do you thing that someday we’ll be able to spend them on support and supplies for Kevin & Ursula Eat Cheap or music for In The Evening?

Or at least to buy the Bitcoin Nerd Merit Badge.

I’m honestly curious, because to me, it really looks like this is probably going to be a passing fad, like most alternative currencies[2].

[1] “[Bitcoin] relies on public/private key cryptography to facilitate electronic trading in a completely anonymous, secure, peer-to-peer fashion.” – Inforworld, May 24 2010
[2] And I include in this list “Plenty,” our very own local currency.

About Kevin Sonney

Kevin Sonney - who, contrary to popular opinion was NOT raised by wolves - grew up in central North Carolina. He fell into the technology field by accident in 1991, when he gave up the wild and crazy lifestyle of an on-air AM radio DJ to become a mundane technical support monkey. The technology industry has never really recovered from this. Kevin has worked for such names as IBM, Red Hat, webslingerZ, and Lulu Technologies (we won't mention the ones that didn't survive the experience). He currently works as a Linux Administrator for Apptio. In his spare time he rescues stray animals and plays video games with his two sons. His wife, we're sad to say, helps him get past the really hard bits. Kevin is still not very mundane, he just got better at hiding it.
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