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Cryptocurrency Regains its Reputation in Paradise

Can a renowned tourist hub in Bali become a bitcoin wonderland?

The luxurious Hotel Santika, now accepting bitcoin / Photo courtesy of santika.com

Ever since Mt. Gox, once the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, it’s been hard to take big cryptocurrency projects seriously. Once heralded as an independent, universal, and secure utopian currency, many now see bitcoin as one more site of human error, greed, and duplicity. So when two bitcoin entrepreneurs from Indonesia, Oscar Darmawan and William Sutanto, floated a plan this spring to convert an entire island to bitcoin compatibility, even crypto enthusiasts were skeptical. But as they reveal more of their business plan, and the project continues to gain momentum, it seems like they just might have found a recipe for success. They’re calling their venture BitIslands, and tapping the renowned tourist hub of Bali as their, hopefully, first cryptocurrency paradise.

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Funny Money: Why Bitcoin Is a Scam

The story behind the Internet currency that’s one part science fiction, one part libertarian wet dream.

In 2009, Satoshi Nakomoto (possibly a real person, possibly a pseudonym for one or more hackers) invented Bitcoin, the first peer-to-peer currency. Bitcoin, which works along the same lines as the Bittorrent network you might use to download movies and music, isn’t the first online currency. Linden Dollars, the unit of exchange in Second Life, are widely traded and regulated by game's maker, Linden Lab. Nakomoto’s innovation was using math-heavy cryptography techniques to create a medium of exchange that doesn’t require a central authority or physical tangibility (like gold) to deter counterfeiters and regulate the money supply.

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