I love Bitcoins!
More specifically, I love Bitcoins in the same way that I love EVE Online
: two impenetrable hobbies that other people are investing hundreds of hours and *thousands* of dollars into pursuing. And every once in a while, everything blows up.
When something happens in EVE Online,
it's something like 4,000 players engaging in a single massive space battle
that takes five hours to complete and costs over $300,000
-- that's real-world American dollars -- in lost assets. I also enjoyed reading up on that time the SomethingAwful forum successfully infiltrated the executive board of EVE
's biggest corporation and dissolved the whole thing, causing a mass scramble to fill the power vacuum.
Bitcoin blowups involve fewer lasers or particle effects, but they happen more dramatically and a lot more frequently. Hardly a month goes by without a Bitcoin bank suddenly winking out of existence...and taking everybody's "savings" with it. Here's the last one
I read about:
A Chinese Bitcoin exchange that held up to $4.1 million in users' accounts has gone offline and everyone involved with it has vanished, according to CoinDesk.
The GBL exchange claimed to be based in Hong Kong but turns out to have been headquartered in China.
Bitcoin banks and exchanges have a habit of disappearing, the WCT says:
Research conducted by Southern Methodist University assistant professor Tyler Moore and Carnegie Mellon University assistant professor Nicolas Christin found that 18 of the 40 Bitcoin trading platforms set up in the past three years had closed, including TradeHill, which was once the second largest in terms of transaction volume.
Moreover, 13 of the discontinued services closed without any prior notice, while the remaining five were forced to shut down following hacker attacks. Only six of them were known to have offered refunds to users.
Business Insider noted just a few days ago that an Australian Bitcoin bank, "Tradefortress," closed with $1 million in Bitcoin funds missing. The bank turned out to be operated by an 18-year-old boy who lived in a block of apartments in Hornsby, a suburb of Sydney.
Stealing "millions of dollars" worth of Bitcoins might sound like a big deal, my favorite is still that one guy who swiped a whole lot more:
A person who allegedly robbed the web site Sheep Marketplace of 96,000 Bitcoins — about $100 million at current prices — is attempting to hide the heist by breaking up the massive online currency cache and repeatedly trading it through various "tumblers," which mix up and (supposedly) launder old Bitcoins for new.
I can't imagine what would inspire the average consumer to look at a marketplace that is routinely making headlines for massive levels of theft, fraud, and abuse, and decide it's worth pouring a bunch of actual money into. It's *fascinating* to watch people line up to get scammed, though!