At this point I'm no longer sure that Bitcoins are beanie babies. But the emerging alternatives to Bitcoin, like Litecoin, are definitely shitty knockoff beanie babies at the corner store. The whole point of Bitcoin is proven, permanent scarcity that means they could theoretically hold value. That only works once.
As for actual Bitcoins, they are now trading near the $1K mark, which is pretty jawdropping, and the price graph over the last couple years is remarkable. People are now selling dedicated mining rigs with custom chips ("ASICs") engineered solely for the purpose; it is no longer considered profitable to mine with an off the shelf PC, not even with software that takes advantage of the smarts in your graphics card.
There are now around 12 million bitcoins in circulation. At a valuation near $1k a pop, they are currently worth $12 billion. Of course, if everyone were to try to sell them tomorrow, they would be worth nothing tomorrow.
Am I going to start mining them? No. I do kinda wish I'd mined them three years ago, socked away 1K of them, and sold them off this summer. But only in the most cynical way, because I remain very skeptical that they will hold value. Sure, they are scarce, but only because people consent to view this particular algorithm as the magical one that "counts." It's not like gold, which has intrinsic value, or the dollar, which has... heh heh heh heh heh heh heh.
Tags: bitcoin, geek, money, politics