Bitcoins have been in the news a good deal lately, and they get there in ways that suggest they are poised to impact the world of alpha and its pursuers. So it’s good to have a primer: A brief accessible essay that answers the simplest questions, like “what’s a bitcoin?”
Bitcoin, the virtual money that exists only in digital form, is spawning a real-world hardware boom. The currency, used to buy and sell everything from electronics to illegal drugs on the Web, has surged to about $135, more than 10 times its value a year ago.
New York’s top banking regulator sent subpoenas to 22 digital currency companies, including BitInstant and Dwolla, to determine whether new regulations should be adopted to govern the emerging industry.