by Ross Thomas, Testosterone Pit.com:
A decentralized, peer-to-peer digital currency
Immune from the influence of powerful interests
Fast, anonymous transactions
Secure, trustless: impossible to cheat the system
No counterparty risk
“As good as gold”?
For all these properties to hold every client on the Bitcoin network must see the entire block chain, i.e. the record of every transaction made since the network started in 2009. Needless to say this will not scale up very far; indeed, the blockchain is already over six gigabytes in size and is growing exponentially, which is why it’s not always fast to receive BItcoins. There are suggestions to fix this, but the original idea may be fatally flawed for efficiency and security reasons, and it’s difficult to imagine a general solution which doesn’t involve compromising at least some of the bait properties:
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