Paul Ford is at it again in Bloomberg Businessweek magazine, explaining Bitcoin (and why the notions that lie behind it are simultaneously batty and beguiling to those who may be susceptible to Engineer’s Disease) to civilians. 1
[After a basic explanation of what Bitcoin does…]
That all of this adds up to money is ridiculous, and we should probably mock it more than we do. Consider Bitcoin a grand middle finger. It’s a prank, almost a parody of the global financial system, that turned into a bubble. “You plutocrats of Davos may think you control the global money supply,” the pranksters seem to say. “But humans will make an economy out of anything. Even this!” To be frank, central banking never really ground my gears; it’s just another one of those vast enterprises that we cower beneath, like network TV or religion. But I can see how it would piss people off. Bits gonna coin.
As usual with Ford’s work aimed at a general audience, he does a good job of relating why this stuff is so important to those who care about it in terms that the rest of us can understand without getting bogged down in technical niceties.
If the geek nation had any sense, it’d just grant him the title of Speaker-To-Animals right now and get it over with. They could do worse.
Mary Beard is right: the new set of 10p coins do look awfully ‘Theme Park Britain.’ I get the urge to keep the designs simple, but English Breakfast followed by Fish & Chips isn’t a very inspiring combination, and World Wide Web is utterly uninspired. 1
‘T’ clearly ought to stand for TARDIS. Granted, Gallifrey isn’t in the UK, but the Doctor is this generation’s combination of Gandalf and Merlin and he/she is a far more potent and positive symbol of Britain’s contribution to the world’s imagination over the last half-century or so than James bloody Bond! 2
Generally, it’s not a set of images that suggests a confident, forward-looking nation.
[Via Mary Beard]