Bitcoin Draws Interest From Google, Wikipedia, Zillow Leaders


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. 

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  1. But Monday Zascoff tweeted, “I’m reconsidering my skepticism.”

    Anything Senator Mantitties is against is worth rejerking one’s knee.

    1. Senator Mantitties? I apologize, I don’t get that reference. Is that Manchin?

        1. Ah, okay. Senator Schumer recently changed his opinions regarding Bitcoin (probably after his Wall Street broker/dealer buddies told him they could make money off of it).

          Senator Manchin was the one who sent an idiotic letter recently to several gov’t agencies demanding they ban Bitcoin.

          I don’t like either senators but Manchin I particularly loathe.

          1. They were partnered up there for a while. It’s nice that Mantitties can blow in the direction of the prevailing winds like that.

        2. What’s with the rape whistle on the rainbow lanyard? Is he really that worried about being set upon by bands of wandering gay rapists?

      1. He’s talkin’ ’bout Moobs.

        1. I don’t use that name. I find it crass.

          1. Someone’s bossy today.

  2. Despite a turbulent few weeks

    That’s because anybody who does any bit of actual analysis into Bitcoin would discover the turbulence had nothing to do with the actual protocol but with bad-faith actors. Which is not in any way unusual for, well, anything involving money.

    1. Having masked men rob the stage coach doesn’t undermine the legitimacy of gold.

      1. “I’m sorry Mr. Cassidy, but this money is the property of Mr. EH Harriman of the Union Pacific Railroad.”

  3. I like bitcoins.

  4. financial regulator Benjamin Lawsky told Reuters that Mt. Gox’s decline could ultimately lead to “further improvements.”

    When a regulator tells you he’s going to “improve” something, be afraid. Be very afraid.

    1. I haven’t read too much into the Mt. Gox thing, but if we’re judging the currency by the security or stability of the institutions that deal in it, why do we still trade in USD anymore?

      1. Because as fucked up as the USD is, it’s better than the other currencies.

        Gold and/or lead is where it’s at.

      2. Because the institutions that deal in USD get mountains of printed stimulus money when they engage in criminal activity, unlike bitcoin.

        Oh wait, that’s a feature of bitcoin, not a bug…

  5. “It’s very obvious to all of us that cryptocurrencies are inevitable,”

    Yes, of course cryptocurrencies will supplant govt-backed, national fiat currencies. But would they squash precious metal currencies?

    1. Squash what, now?

    2. In some ways, yes. Cryptos are better for transmitting to others you’re not meeting face to face (and you don’t need a trusted intermediary to do it) and are substantially more divisible than precious metals.

  6. For Summers, I’m sure, an important development is not necessarily a positive development. It’s the central banks which are shady, certainly. Where are their balance sheets?

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