Reviews | Should we fear Bitcoin or celebrate it?



For the publisher:

Re “Bitcoin Cosplay Gets Real”, by Binyamin Appelbaum (Sunday Review, September 19):

What a sad and sour portrait Mr. Appelbaum painted of Bitcoin.

In their brief existence, cyber currencies like Bitcoin grew into a $ 2 trillion market (roughly the same size as Apple), spawned whole new industries (non-fungible tokens, cybermining), led to a wave of innovation and created a cadre of millionaires. and billionaires.

Financial firms, central banks, regulators, systems designers, investors, and national governments are all rethinking – as they must – how blockchain-based money technologies are changing the world around them.

Mr. Appelbaum sees nothing of the enthusiasm and potential of such a massively disruptive innovation. Instead, he pulls out Bitcoin’s tired comparison with the Dutch tulip craze of the 1600s. Four hundred years later, tulips are thriving as a solid part of the Dutch economy. We won’t need to wait that long to see if Bitcoin will stand the test of time, but its growth and institutionalization over the span of a few years strongly suggests that it is here to stay.

David Sarokine
The writer is the author of “The Corporation: Its History and Future”.

For the publisher:

Binyamin Appelbaum writes that modern blockchain tokens are “mostly useless”. These tokens, in fact, have very common and well-reported uses: to facilitate fraud, money laundering and illicit financial transactions.

Blockchain is best understood as a global criminal enterprise masquerading as an economic bubble. Digital blockchain tokens have no legitimate use, but they do have a lot of illegitimate those.

As the people who profit from these sketchy deals now try to buy political influence and mainstream media coverage, we can only hope that governments will eventually see through their charade and criminalize the making and use of cryptocurrency. Until that happens, we should expect blockchain-based fraud and crime to escalate until, like a boil, it breaks.

Guillaume Gerhardt
Princeton, New Jersey
The writer is a technology consultant.

For the publisher:

Cryptocurrency has the potential to revolutionize international commerce. According to the World Bank, it can take several days for businesses and individuals to transmit cross-border payments and the average fee is over 6%. With Bitcoin, payments can be made in minutes and virtually for free.

Linda phillips
Vero Beach, Florida

For the publisher:

Binyamin Appelbaum mocks Bitcoin as a volatile commodity that wastes scarce natural resources while being sensitive to security concerns. While this assessment is broadly justified, there are also significant issues with the main reserve currency: the US dollar.

Bitcoin and the dollar share a flawed premise. They are both fiduciary instruments that claim to create something out of nothing in return for tangible wealth.

Bill Blunden
San Francisco
The author is an information security analyst at San Francisco State University.

For the publisher:

Re “Federal regulators race to create first major cryptocurrency rules” (news article, September 24):

With the Treasury Department now developing rules to govern cryptocurrency, what was once despised and ridiculed has gained legitimacy. Congratulations!

But at my age, nearing retirement, I have enough issues to keep up with the ever-changing technology in my criminal defense practice. I am also a math challenge. Please don’t teach me a whole new money system.

And after? A regular diet of acai berry ?!

Harry zimmerman

For the publisher:

Re “Kelly condemned for running a sex ring for decades” (cover page, September 28):

In August, when I saw images of a tribute to R. Kelly written in chalk outside the Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn, my heart broke. Growing up, my friends and I covered our pad with colorful chalk drawings, and I love seeing kids doing that today. I couldn’t look past the irony of using a fun childhood hobby to write a message of support for a man who recruited underage girls for sex.

Like many black women and girls, I didn’t believe R. Kelly would be doomed. It is a bittersweet victory that he is found guilty on all counts of racketeering and sex trafficking. Victory is for the survivors who have asked for justice.

But that verdict comes after decades of prejudice and mounting evidence that should have prevented it from causing further prejudice to black women and girls. I will never be at peace with this, and I will never stop fighting to hold systems that have long ignored black women and girls to be responsible.

Joanne N. Smith
The writer is the founder and president of Girls for Gender Equity.

For the publisher:

Re “Redesigning America’s Flag: Six New Takes on Old Glory” (Opinion,, September 28):

I like the idea and some of the examples the artists provided for an American flag redesign. Maybe I’m too pessimistic, but I’m already hearing the cries of people who oppose such a change – we can’t change the flag, it’s not American; it’s always been like that, etc.

I guess repealing the Second Amendment would be easier to accomplish.

Marc Chafetz

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