Another Bitcoin scandal has hit the news as BitInstant CEO Charlie Shrem has been charged with money laundering. Shrem and his accomplice Robert Faiella are accused of selling over $1 Million dollars of Bitcoins in order to facilitate black market purchases on the infamous website, Silk Road.
The latest charges are just a minor bump in the road for Bitcoin, which has been enjoying an extremely successful year so far. After a few rocky years, Bitcoin is finally beginning to enjoy increased public acceptance. Retailers like Overstock.com have started to accept Bitcoin as payment, eBay is considering opening up to virtual currencies, and Bitcoin has even managed to make its way into the NBA.
The success of Bitcoin is a serious threat to the current state of global finance, and to the idea of government-backed currencies. Governments will no doubt try to regulate virtual currencies in some way, and they absolutely should. However, every time an illegal Bitcoin operation is shut down, the legal options are invariably strengthened.
Bitcoin was originally created to offer an alternative to centralized banking, and the secure nature of the cryptocurrency is an attractive option to criminals. Even so, the security of Bitcoin is very reason everyday consumers should be attracted to virtual currencies, especially with recent threats to credit card security.
If security isn’t a strong enough reason to at least give Bitcoin a try, why not do it for the money? Bitcoin is currently one of the highest valued currencies out there—at one point 1 BTC was worth over $1000. Fortunes have already been made and lost on Bitcoin, but it still isn’t too late to sign on for this lucrative venture which has already captured the attention of the world.