AnonymityWith the imminent hyperinflation meme fading away and no longer holding much water, the new reason to hold bitcoins is the anonymity, nay, the freedom that it provides. Want to gamble online or buy something illegal? Bitcoins are the solution. It is a way of circumventing the authorities and uplifting free and voluntary trade, or so goes the story. Unfortunately for many of the misinformed, the reality is toto caelo [=just the opposite]. It would be best to take it from bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik himself. The fun starts at 3:20 [=all the way to the end].
The ironic part about this is that anyone and everyone who has participated in illegal activity using bitcoins, presumably because they thought it was anonymous, now has a permanent record of every single one of their transactions contained on the public ledger. Those who think they are clever by using add-ons such as Tor are just as foolish as those who think prepaid cards or smart phones are anonymous.
[Later]: Someone over at reddit said that Garzik might be trying to seperate bitcoin from the stench of drugs and tax evasion it was beginning to get in the media. Don’t worry, he’s saying. The gov’t will be able catch all the bad guys. But he might not really mean it.
Somehow, this sort of rings true to me. So the jury is still out here, until some reliable expert can tell us what’s what.