Bitcoin has failed. Bitcoin is the future. Bitcoin cannot be regulated. Bitcoin needs to be regulated. The debate over what will happen to the decentralized virtual currency has reached a cacophonous point, and now lawmakers around the world are wondering whether the time has finally come to regulate this emerging technology.
As I have said before, Bitcoin as a virtual currency presents significant challenges to regulators. But one should not be too hasty to regulate Bitcoin, without fully understanding the implications of blockchain technologies more generally, with regard to their impact on innovation, competition and regulation.
Primavera De Filippi is a researcher at CERSA / CNRS and faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet Society at Harvard.
With a 5 billion market cap, Bitcoin is slowly making its way into the digital economy, and a growing number of merchants—including Overstock, Newegg, Expedia, Dell and even Microsoft—are now accepting Bitcoin as a possible form of payment for their products. Of course, regulation will be needed eventually, both to address the risks and maximize the benefits