from Wealth Cycles:
Bitcoin, the virtual alternate currency that has swept the tech world, made headlines again recently when a billion-dollar Bitcoin-based enterprise called Silk Road was shut down in the wake of the arrest of its operator on a variety of shocking charges. The crack-down was cheered by investors and entrepreneurs hoping to convince regulators of Bitcoin’s respectability. But even if the online currency is corralled and regulated and co-opted by the government, there’s nothing to say “miners” outside the regulatory system can’t continue transacting with non-official, free-range Bitcoins. After all, the decentralized alternative currency was designed for just that purpose.
Early this month, international authorities moved to shut down Silk Road, a black market Website where drugs were bought and sold using Bitcoins, arresting its founder and operator Ross Ulrich in a San Francisco public library. The site used an open-source encryption system called Tor that purportedly allowed the location of its servers to be hidden. Eight additional users of the site have since been arrested in the U.S., Britain and Sweden.