Some stories and speculations from the Bitcoin beat:

•Attempts on the part of the Chinese government and banking system to restrict free trade in Bitcoin is happening for a very good reason, if you are the Chinese government, Daily Reckoning points out--for all the same reasons a normal human being would love the cryptocurrency:

China tightly regulates all the money flowing in and out of the country. You can’t just bring a bunch of cash into the country, in part to prevent people from buying up the local currency (which is generally believed to be deliberately suppressed). And China makes it hard to get money out of the country as well....

Bitcoin offered/offers an even quicker way to get your money out of the border. Buy 10,000 yuan work of bitcoins on a site like BTC China, transfer those bitcoins to a wallet outside of the country, and then sell those bitcoins in some new currency in a different country. Voilà, your money is liberated!

•Supposedly great economist Paul Krugman thinks that Bitcoin, because it has such rich opportunities for liberating money holders from government control, is private, non-inflationary, has the potential to damage the interest of government central banks, and not backed by violence and force, is for all those reasons obviously evil.

Bloomberg News reports that merchants accepting Bitcoin have tripled in number in the past month.

Entrepreneur magazine on the spread to dozens of countries, and competition in the market to make, Bitcoin ATMs.

• Timothy Lee in the Washington Post explains how use of Bitcoin and Bitcoin like protocols can solve the frustrating problems of credit card companies preventing you from making international transactions you want to make because they suspect fraud. Like with anyone in the Internet age still trying to make a living being a middleman, conventional credit card companies should be a little nervous.

• Economist Tyler Cowen thinks that market competition in alt currencies means the price of Bitcoin in dollars must plummet, and plummet a lot, down to approximately the marketing costs of alt-coin competitors. Bob Murphy thinks his logic is similar to saying that quarters will outcompete dollars in the market since you can get more of them for less.

Reason on Bitcoin.