Bitcoin

Bitcoin Draws Interest From Google, Wikipedia, Zillow Leaders

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Satoshi Nakamoto / Wikimedia

Despite a turbulent few weeks, Bitcoin has been picking up prominent followers in technology circles. The digital currency has demonstrated unexpected durability, so naturally, curiosity is getting the better of a few.

"It's very obvious to all of us that cryptocurrencies are inevitable," Jared Cohen, director of Google Ideas, told South by Southwest—the music, film, and technology festival—attendees Saturday.

Google chairman Eric Schmidt was sitting beside him promoting their new book, The New Digital Age. While it shouldn't be interpreted as an endorsement from Google the company, confirmation from a Google director is cool and unexpected.

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales is currently experimenting with the digital currency. Last week he tweeted his Bitcoin wallet address and received over $3,000, or about 5 BTC, in donations from digital currency enthusiasts. He posted on the Bitcoin Reddit that he plans to "re-open" discussion of accepting Bitcoin with the Wikipedia Foundation Board of Directors.

Spencer Zaskoff, the CEO of Zillow, the online real estate marketplace, told Bloomberg TV back in November:

I just think there's too much shadiness associated with the currency that's not maintained by some sort of government or central bank.

But Monday Zascoff tweeted, "I'm reconsidering my skepticism." He purchased some Bitcoin Tuesday morning.

Even some government officials are saying positive things about the novel payment network. A few weeks ago, Larry Summers, former economic adviser to Clinton and Bush, said, "I think Bitcoin has the potential to be a very, very important development." New York financial regulator Benjamin Lawsky told Reuters that Mt. Gox's decline could ultimately lead to "further improvements."

Recently, the Dorian Nakamoto story and ominous Mt. Gox predictions have received the most attention. But Bitcoin seems pretty healthy. It's piquing interest from many corners and the web of followers continues to grow. Of course, Bitcoin is not without its detractors, but even in the face of all this, cautious inquisitiveness seems to be replacing stalwart skepticism as people become more and more informed about the financial innovation.