Bitcoin turned 10 last week, providing something of a reference point to examine the turbulent history of the global phenomenon and cryptocurrencies in general. Has a decade of bitcoin use enhanced the idea behind the currency or demonstrated its shortcomings? Has the decade proved its utility or illustrated its uselessness? If you were to look at the market on its own, the answer would be easy. The value of bitcoin has fallen by around 70% since its peak late last year. Cryptocurrencies such as Ether, EOS, Litecoin, and XRP have all fallen by more than 80%, while thousands of others have dropped between 90% and 99%. That level of decline suggests not a lack of market appreciation but outright fraud. Yet, the defenders of bitcoin argue that its premise remains sound, in two important respects. It promised instant wealth, and what could be more enticing than that? But behind that implicit claim, which has not turned out to be false, there is an arguably more important claim. Bitcoin ...

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